Libido, lotto and lies

Libido, lotto and lies


WHAT gets you into trouble are not the words but their meaning.
Take for instance what happened in Mafube one afternoon, some eons ago. Little Thabo was up to his usual tomfoolery again when a pissed Muckraker said: ke tla ofa ‘M’ao.
Boom! That’s how the thunderous blow from Thabo landed on Muckraker’s head, knocking her into a gully. Thabo didn’t get his mother but he made sure Muckraker saw stars as she lay there. Thabo started being an idiot again some days later Muckraker chose her words carefully. “O tla bona khaitseli ea malomao,” Muckraker said, confident she had passed the message without attracting Thabo’s wrath.
How wrong she was. Boom! Boom! Boom! An enraged Thabo came upon Muckraker like a tonne of bricks. A swollen lip and a black eye were Muckraker’s rewards for trying to be clever. Despite being a bit slow, Thabo had caught the message faster than Muckraker had anticipated. She had hoped by the time the lights come on in Thabo’s encephalon she will be home enjoying papa ka lipu. It’s not the words but the meaning.
On reflection Muckraker thinks she should have just gone for the more biting insults like: O tla bona ntsetse! If you are going to be beaten for an insult let it be for a stinging one that really roils the heart.
If you are going to eat a dog, let it be bulldog. Never be punished for eating an emaciated and flea-infested village stray.

Those lessons came racing back to Muckraker’s mind when a local newspaper alleged that the government launched a one-player lottery for Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.
Do I see your face light up in disbelief?
Well, remember it’s not the words but their meaning that matters. The paper didn’t actually say the government had started lotto lottery for the general. Rather, it said government had offered the general between M40 million and M55 million to vamoose from the army.
But when you look at those vulgar figures it is as clear as the contours on Uncle Tom’s face that the paper is saying there is a government-funded Kamoli lottery in the offing.
All the general does to hit the jackpot is to say four magical words: “Yes, I leave now!”
And bingo, he will be an instant millionaire.
It was a fantastically sensational story based on faceless sources, some of whom Muckraker suspects the reporter does not even remember.
You see, when you thrive on Facebook rumours, bar-talk, street gossip and shebeen murmurings you end up confused about the source of your information.
Hence it did not take long for the newspaper to start backpedalling from the sensational piece. It was “Mews (not news) without fact or flavour” all the way.
We are sorry Ntate Kamoli, they said with a long face and perhaps a drop of one or two tears.
Kamoli and government had found a way to grip the newspaper by the balls (if there are any balls). Kamoli in particular might have started rubbing his hands in glee after seeing that story, one he knew the paper could not prove even if they hired a PI.
After all, this is a newspaper that has made its vocation to insult him at every chance. After calling him obscene names they were now accusing him of winning a rigged lottery.
Phew! Muckraker will confess that she does not mind if the General is allowed to go.
Yet that doesn’t mean people should go around publishing one-legged stories based on unsubstantiated figures. The irony here is that the newspaper got the story correct until it tried to be sophisticated by sneaking in those X-rated figures. It was a poor attempt at taking the story forward.
Without those thumb-sucked numbers the story would have stood on all four, thus saving the newspaper the nuisance of having to grovel to Kamoli.
Methinks this is a lesson to all journalists with an insatiable libido for peddling figures whose meaning they don’t understand.

The rule of thumb is that when you use a speculative figure you must base it on something or someone. Since the newspaper will fight tooth and nail to protect its sources, and rightly so, we can only assume that the sources who flogged the M40 million and M55 million figures knew what they were talking about.
On that one Muckraker cannot say more lest she be accused of insinuating that the sources are actually non-existent.
What she can however stand on is the dubious nature of the figures.
Those figures are not based on anything other than the reporter’s day dreams. Let’s do the simple arithmetic. Here all journalists who have built a Chinese Wall between themselves and Mathematics must listen carefully for Muckraker is not going to dish out this lesson again.
As commander of the army Kamoli earns around M400 000 per year. Now, if the government is going to pay him for M40 million it means they are paying him as if she would have worked for 100 years from now. By that time he would be 152 years old. Kamoli might be loathed but he is sure not immortal.
If we go by the M55 million figure it means he will be getting a salary equivalent to 137 years. That means he will be paid as if he would have worked until he is 189 years old. That doesn’t make sense at all unless you are high on something illegal, just mad or plain stupid.

Readers of local newspapers, including thepost, must be having running tummies from seeing too many headlines with “D-Day” in them.
“D-Day for Likuena”, “D-Day for Lesotho”, “D-Day for Bantu” and “D-Day for blah,blah”.
Our newspapers are now obsessed with “D-Day”.
By now the readers are wondering what D-Day really means. Muckraker was getting confused too until she checked. D-Day simply means a day on which something important is going to happen or is expected to happen. Well, that is what it should mean but it has to be used sparingly lest we go mad from reading D-Day in headlines.
In any case, it is pointless to be calling every day a D-Day as if other days are not important. Historically, D-Day is the day (6 June 1944) in the Second World War on which Allied forces invaded northern France by means of beach landings in Normandy.
Muckraker is beginning to think given the obsessive use of D-Day our newspapers now think the D means delivery or doom. If that is the case then we need deliverance from D-Day headlines before we are doomed.
For now just know that a D-Day headline is a clear sign that the subeditor had experienced a dearth in creativity. It’s an indication of laziness. In most cases it is a sign of dishonesty: that is to say a newspaper is making a meal out of nothing.

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