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​We Jammin’ Still

55 YEARS of so-called Independence and I wouldn’t mind us not being able to do even the most basic stuff for ourselves that minor cities all over the world have mastered, like running a ferry service between two small islands, paving a road properly (with a firetrucking Pitch Lake!) or appointing a judge or Cabinet minister, if we could at least think for our firetucking selves.

If we thought for ourselves, we would, in time, find ways of overcoming, or at least facing, our challenges.

But we don’t think for ourselves: our mental activity peaks at making either excuses for or whipping-boys of ourselves. The Catholics – Devil bless ‘em – invented two complementary ‘sins against hope’: the sin of despair and the sin of presumption. The sinner in despair loses all hope of God’s forgiveness or his help in getting to heaven while the sinner in presumption trusts in his own power to save himself or presumes God will forgive him without any repentance or good works on his own part.

Newspaper columns and social media posts, in the run-up to today's Independence holiday came in two broad stripes: one cheering and one jeering section. The jeering section, the sinners against hope, with their litanies of woe about Trinidad & Tobago, are at least closer to the reality: that we have almost terminally firetrucked up our own place.

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Another One Dusts the Blight

DEBBIE JOHN is gone and another thread pops in the fraying old rope I know as Trinidad. Cancer. She was only 61. Funny, but I always thought she was much more than just two years older than me; she was probably just far more responsible and grownup.

My memory gives me (but I am often forced to give whatever it is back) that she was my first features editor back in 1988 (and it could well have been the other Debbie, Jacob), when I moved from the legal department of the Board of Inland Revenue to the newsroom of the Trinidad Express, a move that made my earnings plummet as much as it made my wellbeing rise.

It’s nice to imagine DeeJay sauntering into some great newsroom in the sky, where the coffee is always piping hot Hong Wing and the soft drink vending machine gets the Diet Coke frosty cold, and the assignment is always to cover the Tribe band launch or the Chaud champagne dinner.

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The Last Satire in America

Satire: The use of humour, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices.

ANYONE WHO thought that Donald Ciretrunt would somehow mysteriously ‘become more presidential’ if he won the election got the rudest possible awakening a week ago, when Ciretrunt deliberately placed both feet upon the corpse of an innocent woman, murdered by savages, to stand up for those fundamental American values of Nazism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

Ciretrunt snuffed out the American Dream with his support for a group he ought to have condemned; and he just about extinguished satire, too. How the firetruck do you exaggerate the occu-ciretrunt of the White House supporting Nazis?

There’s only one piece of satire left in America and here it is, presented in the vain hope that people who think of themselves as ‘good Christians’ can see the Devil if he is exposed in front of their eyes.

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Black Hole of Cut Corners

NOT SO LONG ago, you woke up some August mornings and you didn’t even have to look out your window, you could feel the rain that would soon be upon you in the air all around your bed. Mornings like that, if you could, you rearranged your schedule early and fast, to avoid going into Town at all, or to be sure you would be out of it before midday.

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Summertime Red, White & Blues

Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do/ But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues - Eddie Cochran

WE’RE smack-bang in the middle of what we used to call “the August holidays” when I was going to school but few people under age 50 would even have heard that expression. For decades now, in furtherance of our tacit national ambition to become the 51st US state ahead of Puerto Rico, we have called what used to be the “August holidays” the “summer vacation”, just because that is what Americans call it.

It is impossible to underestimate how desperately Trinis have wanted to be American since England told us to firetruck off on 31st August, 1962. If we have any love of country at all, it comes on the rebound. As a nation, we’re like a small, barely ambulant child, who would climb up into Adolf Hitler or Hannibal the Cannibal’s lap and call him, ‘Daddy’ if he gave us a smile and a ‘currants’ roll; and, when Mother England dumped us, we threw ourselves at Uncle Sam.

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