According to the fear mongers, i.e. the media, Twitter and Facebook, this country is about to be pitched into total darkness. Our power shortages need no introduction but last night the gutterpress announced that government has been briefed about how they should deal with total darkness (something I would hope they, and all other countries, have because if not then we’d be attacking them for not being pro-active); and at the same time it emerged that the US Embassy in Pretoria has a plan to evacuate its employees when the lights go out (all other embassies have one in place and why has no-one asked about the US citizens? Why only the embassy staff? Doesn’t that tell you it has nothing to do with the current Eskom issues?), This has catapulted the interwebs into complete panic, mostly annoying me because of intelligent people not asking the right questions. Add to that the resignation of the head of the Energy Commission and it’s nothing less than Baked Beans 3. Or is this the 4th time around? I lose count.
Baked Beans One was in 1994 when SA voted in a government led by a black man. Many thought the entire country was about to be plunged into chaos and civil riots, it was the night of the long knives blah blah, so all (white) retarded racists rushed out to stock up on baked beans and candles. It took years for those tins to be finally used up and of course the candles came in handy in 2008 when the power shortages started. And why baked beans anyway? If you’re planning on spending a few years barricaded indoors why would you stuff yourself on a food item that makes you fart? Why not peas and meatballs? We didn’t have Twitter and Facebook back then, otherwise I’m sure the question would’ve been addressed.
Where are the #hashtags anyway? If it’s not trending for at least 3 consecutive days, I don’t believe in it. Just ask Zelda. I’ve even seen people comment how nice it would be to have some power. Say what? We’ve had very very little loadshedding since it was announced a couple of months ago! It’s all talk and no dark.
What do journos ask themselves in editorial meetings these days? It used to be: what’s relevant, what’s the truth, what do people need to know about? Now it’s: how do we get extra clicks to our site? And it works, of course, because it’s so easy to prey on fears. Oh and look, the opposition has advised us that a total blackout would be catastrophic! Well, duh, didn’t we know that? Has it occurred to anyone that the fear is to the opposition party’s advantage because they can use it to moer government??
It’s not helping that loadshedding is on then off then on again … I’m no expert but it seems obvious to me that if we were on the verge of a total blackout, loadshedding would be a daily thing for real, not just a threat. But panic is fun. People who can’t be bothered to spread messages of outrage over racism, homophobia, abuse of women and children, etc., are quite happy to spread the message of gloom and doom and conspiracy theories. Priorities, people!!
If this is the era of pitch darkness I’m ready for it. Bring on the apocalypse. I’ve seen Mad Max a few times, plus a whole whack of other post-apocalypse movies, and I’m well-trained. I actually like movies like that, as dumb as they are, so I paid attention. I’ll miss the internet and I’m not sure how I’ll recharge my electronic cigarette but I’m sure I’ll manage. We can go back to bartering for goods, we can braai every night, I might even lose weight, and I live within spitting distance of a few excellent wineries. I have a decently stocked bookshelf and will re-read everything. I’ve taken stock of my candle supply, including the big ones kept in the bathroom. We’ll go to bed early and rise with the sun. If California can survive it, so can we.
Now, go and switch off those unnecessary lights and feast your eyes on a tranquil view while you still have a functioning internet connection. And don’t panic.