“I’ll see you at dawn with pistols drawn…” It seems this is no longer the way to settle disputes and dislikes. Twitter and Facebook have replaced duelling pistols and swords.
But the anger is there just the same. A survey in Britain suggests that more than half the population are incandescent with rage about something and plan to use the social media to get even. A full 38 percent say they have already done so.
A Professor Frank Webster, head of sociology at City University in London, says the findings are alarming but by no means surprising.
“We have long known that there’s a lot of anger bottled up inside people. Exasperated with workmates, frustrated by politicians, infuriated by bankers, envious of shallow celebrities… we all have moments when the blood boils.”
But he questions whether we want to live in a society where Twitter and Facebook make immediate insult, personal ridicule and hate speech so easy.
Oh, I don’t know. It’s a lot less drastic than duelling. And a lot easier than sending offensive items like nannygoat manure through the post.
SKEBENGAS are cruising cyberspace again. I suppose they’ve always been there but they seem to be homing in on our part of the world.
A reader in Kloof says she was almost conned out of R1 500 by a telephone caller who claimed in a sing-song accent to be from Windows Maintenance.
It turned out her account had been hijacked, and she has had to change her e-mail address.
Yes, I got a call from a fellow with a sing-song accent who also claimed to be from Windows Maintenance.
I told him I am rather an old-fashioned person. I have a computer that operates by a foot treadle like the old-fashioned sewing machines – but I don’t talk to strangers on the telephone about it. Then I hung up.
A few weeks later I got another call on a different landline, this time from a woman with a sing-song accent, also claiming to be from Windows Maintenance. I hung up. She phoned again. I hung up again. Then she took the hint.
I would guess that the sing-song accents are from somewhere in the Indian sub-continent. The world’s a village these days, the pickpockets are everywhere.
THEY get about in the Southern Districts, if not by steam train then by hot-air balloon.
The Paton Country Railway has organised a run on the steam-driven Eshayamoya (Hit the Wind) Express from Maritzburg to Creighton on Sunday, June 10. The train leaves Mason’s Mill at 8.30am and steams through rolling hill country, stopping at Taylor’s Halt, Ncwadi, Deepdale and Donnybrook. It gets to Creighton at 2pm.
Tickets are R175 for adults and R100 for children aged two to 12. Taxi transport from Creighton back to Maritzburg is R100 per person. Bookings at 082 374 1417 or 039 834 2963.
The Paton Country Railway also runs regular narrow-gauge excursions from Ixopo to points along the line to Umzimkulu, the steam train a replica of the “toy train” that featured in Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country.
Meanwhile, next month hot-air ballooning will be on offer at the Creighton Aloe Festival, at the country club.
It’s difficult to imagine a more dramatic way of experiencing the landscape immortalised by Paton.
The festival is on July 21 and 22 and balloon trips cost R900 per person (half an hour) and R1 800 for the full hour. Bookings at 083 273 8037.
They’re taking tourism seriously in the Southern Districts.
TWO Irishmen apply for unemployment benefit after being laid off by their factory.
The first tells the clerk he was a panty stitcher. The second says he was a diesel fitter.
Comparing notes in the pub afterwards, it turns out the panty stitcher has been awarded e150 a week and the diesel fitter e200 a week. The panty stitcher storms back to the unemployment office, furious.
The clerk explains that a diesel fitter is a skilled craftsman and entitled to a higher grant.
“Nonsense! He’s in quality control.
“When I stitch a pair of panties I give ‘em to him. If he can pull ‘em over his fat backside he says: ‘Yeah, diesel fitter!’”
Assuming either the left wing or the right wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles. – Pat Paulsen