Saturday, 27 August 2011

Queuing up for a couple of cucumbers

What’s happening to Malta? Keep the silly season here or we shall all die of a serious problem: the problem of taking ourselves way too seriously. And if all culprits of this malaise are to be shot I’d have to arrange a firing squad for myself. I promised myself I’d write about humour or the lack of it on this sweet land of ours and what do I do? I have already, in my intro, mentioned the words serious, problem, death and malaise. Google the article and you’d be forgiven to think that I’m Nostradamus prophesying some illness-induced universal doom.
But then, joking and firing of guns and missiles apart, we do take things seriously, don’t we? Maybe we’ve forgotten (have we as a nation started suffering from short-term memory loss?) that we took a few centuries to discuss when the divorce referendum was to be held.
Then a few more parliamentary sessions that dragged on till kingdom come to discuss the proper wording and then we debated the result and the resultant tussle with the conscience of some and the resultant passage of a law that I would have thought should have been on our statute books for long decades. But it is a land of strange deeds indeed.
Now we have gone into the sexual peccadilloes of Cyrus Engerer, the deputy mayor of Sliema, and his lover or former lover. And also his new-found love for Labour and new-found hatred for his old love, the Nationalists. I just hope he does not have impure pictures of his old political love. There’s love and perfidy in the air, so all is fun and frolic.
Cyrus is a politician, besides being other things, which he is more than free to be, lest I be accused of homophobia or some other phobia. But if he did send those photos of his ex-lover to friends, foes and other countrymen then the man is not a trustworthy lover. If a man cannot be trusted in love can he be trusted to keep our roads in Sliema nice and tidy?
But there is more hidden humour and layers of unbelievable fun. Besides the gutter sniggering of silly macho men whose horrid homophobia would scare the pants off any Commissioner of Police of the politically correct, the Cyrus saga seems to have been scripted by some creative comedian the likes of which Hollywood, Bollywood or even Eileen Montesin have never even dreamt about.
Let’s see some of the dramatis personae involved. No, let’s first ask the Stitching guy, who had a play banned because he was way too forward, to come along and get this dramatised. The censors would have a field day banning it. Too lurid for our immature minds, they would all cry in unison. Said drama would have us all at last in stitches and, maybe, we would realise we do take things, even petty things, too seriously.
Back to the cast in this long-drawn-out saga. We have a dad interrogated by the police for allegedly smoking pot; a Cyrus-lover who dumps Cyrus then forgives Cyrus but doesn’t really and who then dumps his lawyers as they are too Labour for him. We have the Labour Party leader who progressively accepts Cyrus into his rainbow fold. We have a high-ranking government official who is also godfather of Cyrus and who phones the Police Commissioner to touch base and, finally, we have a Saviour who remembers three years after the occurrence that said godfather of Cyrus used to visit him in the dead of night to give him juicy tidbits and tittle-tattle to use and publicise in his newspaper. In our Saviour we hardly trust.
If some of these plots and sub-plots were dreamt up by that silly scriptwriter mentioned above he or she would surely have been dragged to court accused of being high on pot. “The plot,” the magistrate would pronounce from his podium, “is way too silly. Console yourself in tears and resign your position this very instant!”
While all this madness was actually happening in Malta and not in some silly and inebriated mind, other stories were unfolding. A man who went on hunger strike hit the news. Again, the Labour camp jumped into the fray.
Camp, unfortunately, could be an opportune word to drag into the discussion, what with Cyrus and the gay porn star being so much in the limelight. But, then again, with Labour dying to show its rainbow credentials maybe it does want to be associated with the world of camp and maybe (just maybe) even drag and drag queens and such lurid stuff. Maybe besides the usual mayhem on Mayday, when Labour leaders all join hands bedecked in flowery wear, maybe they will now also dress in drag. Not sure if we can ask Lawrence Gonzi and his erstwhile ministers to do the same. I think their strong conscience will prick them and stop them.
So where was I? Oh yes, porn in the land. The hunger striker wanted to oust poor, beleaguered Austin Gatt. The Prime Minister, always great at saving, salvaging and solving, visited the striker who immediately ate two kiwis and Dr Gatt sighed a great sigh of relief. Not sure if it was coincidental but some Arriva routes were changed just after the man on hunger strike conceded to eat the prime kiwis.
Now the porn star-turned-human-rights-activist has embraced Dr Gonzi and his ways to the utter exasperation of Joseph Muscat.
The Labour camp was stunned: they were sure that the porn industry was all agog and behind them and their modern new ways of doing politics under one great umbrella. Now the gutter industry, or at least one of its most visible exponents in Malta, has been bought for a couple of kiwis. At least in his infinite knowledge, Dr Gonzi supplied him with kiwis.
Only divine intervention would have saved the day for the scriptwriter of our never-ending farce if he had offered the man a cucumber and a couple of figs.

This article first appeared in The Times August 27, 2011

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