South Park Self

winter is coming


I love April Fool billboards, they seem to inspire the fiendish iconoclast wordsmiths who produce them to new heights. Today's was the perfect exemplar of what I can only think of as the April Fool Hesitation, the momentary buy-in which mines the Pavlovian response via which we instantly and instinctively accept as real any major event which a newspaper describes. The true enjoyment of the joke is in the clash between that second of belief and the immediate realisation of its falsity - your mind falling over itself for long enough to create the classic delayed drop.

The perfect construction of this headline to me hinges on "SHOCK", because it frames the "fact" - Cape Town bidding for the Winter Olympics - as outlandish in itself: that is, it mimics perfectly the stock media response to something extreme and unlikely, rather than attempting to naturalise the bid as reasonable. (It also plays subliminally on our awareness that SA's World Cup hosting and various Olympic bids in fact make no damned sense anyway). That incredulous distancing is nicely judged to elicit complicity, to pull us into the illusion of belief for that vital second before the realisation, and the comic conflict, hits. The effect was to cause me to drive for three blocks in a fit of the giggles.

I could go off on a tangent about the subtextual environmental commentary in the idea of snow in Cape Town, but it's the kind of reading which would require me to expend green ink writing "this is a bit stretched" in the margin of a student essay, so I won't.
Which is a scary thought in itself, actually. Although our weather has been weird, but not that weird. I'd say Winter Olympics in South Africa is probably at least a decade away...
Fool me.
I spent a rather dazed fifteen minutes at 7 this morning:
- Marvelling at the hail (winter olympics, why not?)
- Increasing caffeine intake in an effort to jump start sleepy systems
- Photocopying stuff for tut, because preparing in advance is for wussies (wussies with time on their hands that I seem to have mislaid)
- And reading yesterday's April Fool edition of the Cape Times, trying to figure out which articles were the April Fools.

1. All of them?
2. None of them?
3. Life in South Africa is really weird and confusing.

Re: Fool me.
I think life in general has always been weird and confusing, we just can't escape knowing about it these days in a media society - bizarre corners of life, and the completely insane intricacies of our political systems in particular, are mercilessly exposed. Human society makes a lot more sense if you think of it as a particularly strange and entertaining spectator sport. But I agree, April Fools' Day tends to seem a mite redundant.

I see you are grokking the essentials of life as an academic ;>. No-one prepares in advance. This week I have to madly prepare twelve lectures for a series which starts in just over a week, and actually get down on paper some of the ideas I've been chewing over for a major paper which is due in under two months. In both of these instances I'm probably ahead of the curve...
Livejournal thinks I'm Polish.
I mean, I am.
But I don't particularily need all the menus to be in Polish, you semi-intelligent mind-reading puppy thing you.
English is just fine, thank you.
Re: Furthermore
I am alarmed beyond belief at the concept that LiveJournal may actually be psychic. Have you ever told it you're Polish, or is it extrapolating from your name? Fear.