Theatre of the absurd...

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It was a week of glitz, glam and a variety of other stereotypical verbal sprinkles as the world of showbiz celebrated not one, but two awards ceremonies, back to back. Or at least, it’s what the PR people tasked with putting their spin-doctoring skills to work would have you believe.

For those of us who tuned into these televised shows (more out of professional obligation than because of some deep yearning to actually do so), the reality reads very differently.

From the embarrassing segment that saw host Seth Meyers take to the streets and effectively prove the lack of interest in the Emmys when his questions to passers-by regarding this year’s nominees were met with blank stares, to the mortifying open mic session with the actors in the audience whose standard of creative thought only stretched as far as “Are we on TV?”, the spectacle was distinctly lacking in the quintessential X factor.

The MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) were equally abysmal.

Touted as being the King of Controversial with regard to all the annual accolades, the most shocking aspect of this year’s offering was – wait for it – Nicki Minaj’s wardrobe malfunction. Yup, the same woman whose video for her latest release, Anaconda, has been dubbed “soft porn” suddenly suffered an attack of modesty when her dress failed to adequately cover what her mama gave her.

Even the soapie saga playing out on local turf would probably have elicited a far wider viewership – assuming, as some have derisively suggested, that the SABC was savvy enough to develop a whole new series around the Generations drama.

At a media conference earlier this week the ousted cast were again crying foul because, as Nambitha Mpulwana put it, their R55 000 salary doesn’t amount to much when you consider tax, agent fees and the cost of having to feed and raise a family.

Ah-huh. By extension then, we plebs likewise have grounds to set off on an illegal strike, since we are also faced with the same monthly tax deductions and the responsibility of providing for our loved ones.

The fundamental difference – now pay attention, Minister Nathi Mthethwa, because we’ll be expecting you to step in on behalf of us arts journos, too – is we somehow manage to do so on less than half of what the Generations actors draw! It’s nothing short of a miracle, I tell ya.

What’s more, when the “we earn more than a teacher’s and nurse’s stipend combined but we can’t make ends meet” argument began to wear thin, at least they were able to turn to the trusted “racism reminiscent of apartheid” assertion.

And who should be spearheading this titbit of absurdity? Theatrical stalwart John Kani (father of sacked Atandwa) who during said briefing declared: “It carries the residue of an apartheid-style master-servant relationship,” adding, “I have stab wounds, I have evaded assassination and I spent time in detention – and this is not what I fought for as an actor.”

By virtue of that statement are we to deduce then, dear John, the Struggle had nothing at all to do with segregation based on skin pigmentation that dictated where you could live, work, play – or even how, when and with whom – but rather, was really about bowing down to the demands of actors who feel that R50k+ does not for a living wage make?

That such a comparison could even be drawn is the actual “embarrassment” (again, to quote Kani) to the memory of those who fought and died for the true meaning of democracy.

But hey, what do I know? Go forth and emancipate yourselves oh ye “beleagured” entertainers. And after you’ve done crying freedom and you find you have no money to pay for food/electricity/water/shelter/clothing – fear thee not! There’s always plenty of room and resources at Nkandla.

LARA DE MATOS

TONIGHT EDITOR

[email protected]

@Lara_de_Matos


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