Wow, after yesterday’s pop political post that went astray and became serious & almost intellectual I feel compelled to continue this insightful trend. Ha! Not a chance. This is me. I would hate to overload my brain as it would be followed by parastatal-style blackouts.
What yesterday’s activities did make me consider was the once renowned Coffee Culture. (That one made famous by people's exchange of ideas over a cuppa leading to events as big as the French Revolution). And how blogging has replaced it, in my world at least.
After one term in varsity my little brother, more serious and insightful than any of his older hooligan siblings, phoned and asked,
“Champs, what did you do between lectures?”
“Huuuh? I drank coffee, usually on the lawn in the sun trying to ignore the bergies, or I suiped wine, or I slept away the night befores’s toxins. What are you on about?”
“No no. What I mean is, where did you go to talk about all the politics & philosophy you just learnt about in the lecture?”
“I used to do what now???? Have you been smoking something? You do realise you are at varsity in the 00s, not in Cambridge or Po Paris in the 18th Century??”
All in all, I blame his time in South America. Dodgy revolutionary idea-instilling continent. Next thing he’ll be on a motorbike up Africa saving the HIV colonies & sporting a beard & a beret.
But where would one have participated in such activities at my old university? I suggested he joined the debating club, or the varsity newspaper or radio or film club. But as for that classical idea of sitting in smoky dimmed cafés between one’s lectures debating ideas of Rousseau, Plato, Nietzsche and Einstein, or Locke versus Chomsky (ok, fine, I don’t think those two go together, but then I would debate you over that while sipping on my espresso), Bono the muso vs Bono the seemingly well-intentioned intelligent humanitarian… that was nowhere to be found.
People seemed to want acceptance in, get the info into your head, splurge it out in tests and exams, suip, pomp, and be outta there with a good tan & beer boep. Some people joined sensational organisations that fought for fighting sake. Admirable in one way, pretentious silliness in another.
Even on leaving varsity, when I finally started to CRAVE information and debating thoughts and articles of critical analysis, friends shy’d away. I have been told I talk too much. Get me started on the issues around HIV & you’ll be pinned to a corner with a terrified glint in your eye while I try to stop my tirade of subconscious babble. The impression I have received is people do not want to know. They do not want to know, to discuss, to argue, to explore, to debate, to challenge. This is that state of my nation, from my experience, at least.
South Africans are polite, and so I put the idea forward that it is this politeness that stops us from really having a fat old heated intellectual discussion with a crowd. I have cleared a few dinner tables in my time because of discussions getting “too heated” for most of the guests’ likings. But how will you advance yourself if you do not push your thoughts beyond their comfort zone.
Now, however, I can mouse-click to reactions of daily SA events. Political thoughts, not as sensational or censored as newspapers, but not as jargoned as journals, are accessible to the scrutiny from Anyman. Bloggers pick up on themes and challenge them, even if the blogger’s words will have no direct or observable effect. We now challenge our norms & flawed society through the typed virtual word. We request comments to challenge us back. These comments then lead us to think & post more, or others to post on similar themes with their own opinions.
Starbucks (or the delightful new Vida Café) would do well to offer coupons to all new blogging members. And I think the rapidly expanding trend is showing that people will always return to the coffee culture of pre-Revolutionary France.
Or maybe I am still hoping, in my Francophile way, of Jozi magically transforming part that is itself into Paris! Good good. Here’s a beret & a croissant….