Exquisite timing -- I spotted Pat Oliphant's take while my Facebook feed was filling with commentary from SA friends watching the funeral. I disagree only with the universal sense of unpreparedness he suggests, but I'm going to interpret it as a combination of shock and grief rather than a genuine expression of incapacity.
There was a letdown between the joy at Madiba's release and subsequent election and the realities of how South Africa has been governed since his retirement. But I get a sense, at this distance, that there is also a realization that he couldn't possibly have solved all the problems and that it's time to dig in and start fixing things.
I also get a sense that the only group being singled out for anger and blame is, specifically, the leaders of the ANC.
Of course there are racists and fools -- what society can exist without producing garbage? -- but it seems that Mandela has left behind a legacy in which the bulk of South Africans see themselves as part of the cultural mosiac and not as groups of isolated ethnic and racial cultures warring for power.
To repeat a quote from my initial post on his passing:
He wasn’t a freak or a saint sent by some supernatural power. We are the products of the same history and society that produced a Nelson Mandela. Above all, Nelson Mandela brought out the best in all his fellow citizens of all creeds, colours and classes. He gave South Africans a glimpse of what they could be as a nation. He will remind them of that long after his passing. To me, Mandela was living proof that good can prevail over evil, that there actually is something such as a shared humanity. We’d better believe in that in years to come. -- Max Du Preez
And let's also remember the familiar, if possibly apocryphal, anecdote from our own history about Benjamin Franklin being asked, as he emerged from the Constitutional Convention's final meeting, "“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” to which he replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
So few have, and South Africa needn't look far to find tragic examples in the current world, but history is also famously littered with them.
One thing that Dr. Franklin genuinely did say was that he was voting in favor of the Constitution despite its flaws, and not because he thought it was perfect.
(W)hen you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.
And let us not be so condescending as to suggest that only South Africans could profit from that passage.
On a somewhat lighter note:
Today's Freshly Squeezed hit me at a good time.
My last great corporate employer recently made nearly that same announcement, although, since they aren't in it for the comedy, they allowed two weeks to elapse between reporting a nine-percent decline in revenues and $1.71 loss per share and confessing to announcing the awarding of stock bonuses to their top brass.
I've probably said this here before, but I used to suggest to my boss, when they would order him to produce increases in circulation, that we counter with a proposal that circulation goals be pegged to the flucuations of the stock price. "You want a five percent gain in circ? Better get busy at your end!"
I quit. He was awarded the cardboard box. We were both better off for it.
The stock was worth $40 a share when I stepped into the lifeboat. It's trading this morning at $3.34.
I don't claim a causal connection. Just digging the schadenfreude.
Any stock bonuses at Scrooge & Marley, Inc.?
I don't find a lot of holiday themed satires that are terribly well done, but Imagine This is currently doing a Christmas Carol riff that is above average. Today's final panel came out of left field and cracked me up.
Might have something to do with my annoyance at help lines which first tell you to hold for the next available representative, then warn you that they are recording the call for purposes of quality control and then ask you to volunteer for a survey in case, after the call, you feel you haven't yet wasted enough of your time and would like to stick around a little longer to inform on the poor underpaid schlub you just talked to.
For a strip that ran 20 years ago, today's C&H rerun is remarkably au courant.
Dailyink has taken down the paywall and relaunched as Comics Kingdom, which means I no longer have to link to various newspaper sites when I reference a King Features strip whose creator doesn't have a website that carries it.
And it means you can go set up a page for free, if you don't mind ads. And, no, I don't know how doctors are able to ban videos, but I didn't see that obviously foolish and misleading ad when I opened my page this morning.
That's because I don't begrudge tossing a few bucks in the direction of cartoonists whose work I appreciate, so I've got a DailyInk subscription, or, in the new terminology, I'm royalty in the Comics Kingdom. Even this freelancing churchmouse can spring for twenty bucks a year, after all.
I mean, a nickel and a half a day?
But, you know, you do what you feel you need to ... artists mostly live on applause and exposure anyway, and that way you also get to keep up with the latest developments in medical science ...
Juxtaposition of the Day