Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: Corona (Page 1 of 2)

R350

I was talking to my friend Melinda Ferguson yesterday. Both of us had had a challenging week; a week filled with grief and despair, measured with the absolute knowledge that there were so many worse off than either of us. It is a balancing act that defies the laws of nature. How do you manage the personal, political, global and local when you have no idea what is really going on?

We were talking about the feeling of how charity has a ‘drop in the ocean’ effect when Melinda came up with the most simple, practical and obvious idea. Imagine if anyone who could would eWallet a destitute person R350 a month? The same amount that the government will be paying. Imagine if we kept it personal, took out the NGO, the middleman, the administrator? Each person who can, sends R350 to someone who has nothing, every month for the next while. keeping them alive. With no fanfare or rigmarole or publicity. If you can, you do it.

Right now R350 is a sacrifice for me. But it is simple. I must read one tarot (and R50 more) for it to happen. I know of someone in the Transkei who has nothing. I will send her the money, every month.

Who is in this? Who wants to do it? If you think this can work then let’s spread the word. If you have good ideas about how to spread the word, then do it, go for it. If you can afford more, give more. You decide.

If you want to talk about this more, leave comments. If you want to add to the idea, the conversation, let’s do it. I have a feeling that now is the time, and the place. If you don’t personally know of anyone, ask me, ask someone who works for you (who I assume you are still paying). Caryn Gootkin from Souper Troupers knows of many homeless people that could use R350 a month and who may not be able to access government funding. If you want recognition for contributing, I will publicise your effort.  My fantasy is that everyone who usually gives randomly and generously will be able to harness their donation into a specific, realisable, simple thing.

Edit. Please let me know, privately or publicly, if you do this, so we can get a sense of our reach. I have just done mine.

Conspiracy

As a storyteller, an improvisor who revels in the world of make believe, an avid reader of fiction, a lover of sci-fi and speculative genres, I find myself drawn in to the ‘possibility’ of things in a ‘what if’ way. I have been caught off guard more than once by fake news, but on the whole I have been able to sniff it out with a hearty dose of cynicism and the basic tools of google fact checking. But the interwebz is a proper breeding ground for all sorts of tech viruses and people are either susceptible or desperate or a mixture of both. Not that I blame us. In our search for meaning beyond the random and terrifying, there is the dreadful paranoia that we are totally helpless and things are truly beyond our control.

Enter the conspiracy theories. Sometimes they may start off small; a theory may gather a few facts and half facts before picking up the front or back end of a wacky idea and before you know it it is a known truth that Chinese villagers have been mind controlled and have been swallowing bleach. Sometimes they just go huge;  there is no actual virus and governments have aligned and are killing off a percentage of the population (I wrote this before I watched the video below).

Sometimes these conspiracy theories leave the lips of politicians like Trump and his Republican potato heads and are dismissed by anyone with half a brain, because they know that Trump and his Trumpets literally cannot tell the difference between truth, data and facts and lies that they actually make up themselves! 

Sometimes a friend will say something as a Facebook status update and it will travel the pathways of gossip, find its way into a meme, get itself an official logo from the University of Blahblahblishblah, and then it is suddenly a ‘real and verified’ warning that needs to be shared by all WhatsApp groups forever.

Many of the conspiracy theories around COVID19, particularly the origin of it, carry dire warnings about the who, what where and how. And then there is this.

I was sent this today and I laughed out loud, read up about the guy, scoffed, went back and started watching. And got totally sucked in. Sucked in.

Now it is an hour later and my brain hurts. What do you think guys? I need help of the highest order.

 

Why I can’t watch theatre online

This is just me here. This is not a philosophy, or an instruction, or criticism. It is me. I don’t want to watch theatre online. I make exceptions for National Theatre Live productions because they are filmed brilliantly, even during live performances in front of an audience, and also, I will never get to see these productions live.

But if I can choose to watch stuff I am going to choose things that are made for screen. And there is so much to choose from. Series, films, doccies, music, animation, to name a few. And there is so much out there, by so many brilliant and even famous people.

I don’t enjoy watching recordings of live theatrical performances. They make me sad, and frustrated, and empty. They don’t do the performers and writers and directors and lighting designers any justice.

So I am going to wait until I can go back into a live theatre space. And then I am going to go back with a vengeance.

That needy diva, the Economy

Each country has one, like a Miss Universe (the irony) contestant. Not a real thing, a word used to describe, threaten, strike fear into hearts and pockets. A concept separated from action, meaning, and even things. I am not an economist but I do know that The Economy is not a thing without consumers. If people can’t work they don’t have money and they can’t buy things and they will be hungry.

So, economists who talk about how much money people can save during lockdown, who the fuck are you talking about? I know about 5 people who are working from home, with real jobs that pay salaries. Everybody else I know, regardless of where they live in the country, are out of work and have no idea when they will earn money again.

People are literally without food, without the ability to buy food, and can’t get any. People are sick and can’t get medicine.

Right now I want a shift in the conversation. I want us to talk about saving people, not the economy. Let’s save people. The economy, whatever it is, will be saved accordingly.

The Drunk Elephant in the Room

I would love to hear a proper debate about alcohol and its ban during lockdown. I would love to hear how alcohol is the sharpest and clearest tool for understanding class and race in South Africa.

Alcohol and its production cannot be separated out from oppressive Apartheid history. Alcohol is one of the most prominent features of financial slavery, and difference of its use and abuse in different classes of society reflects the story.

The dop system, still in operation on many wine farms, has been explored in all its horror, but what isn’t always in discussion is how alcohol has made slaves of the poor and disenfranchised all over the country.

When the middle class complain on social media of running out of gin and red wine this is an entirely different scenario from the ones played out in our poor communities.

Alcohol is a legal but powerful drug. Its abuse in South Africa is a pandemic of its own. Because it is legal the bullshit about it being able to be used responsibly by consumers is peddled (albeit weakly) in tiny fine print in its ads that show a glamorous and false lifestyle, unattainable to most. The reality is that alcohol is a poison that increases aggression which destroys families and is a contributing factor in GBV and even murder.

Alcohol is big business, huge business at the expense of the poor. And it is slavery.

And during lockdown I have been so pissed off by the complete bullshit of SAB adverts about unity on Twitter. Sies and tsek.

Burying Bodies

This is a photo of a mass burial on Hart Island, New York. This is where they are burying unaccounted for bodies. Those that have died of the Corona Virus. It is shocking and bizarre. This war we are in.

I am struck hard at the moment by how much we do, and how much we accept as normal, needs to change. Burials and funerals are just one of these things for me. As I write this, my brother must attend a Jewish funeral in Joburg. An old family friend whose only daughter is in Cape Town. Of course she cannot go.

I have always been uncomfortable with how much it costs to deal with our dead. I hate that when I leave my body I am going to be an expense for somebody. I find this so distasteful. I hate that there are funeral policies and burial societies that bankrupt people in the life that they are trying to live. I hate the inbuilt threat of it all as well. I hate that funerals and burials are tied in with how we should remember and honour the dead. It doesn’t make sense.

And so much of the ritual, the religious rules, the how of it all, is outdated, archaic, absurd, and deeply inappropriate for the world of today. It is my wish, that while we rewrite how we do things now to move into a new world, that we relook at how we deal with the dead.

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