Thanks to Geoffrey Philp for a great story in response to the last post, as well as the observation that: "There is something quintessentially Jamaican in this joke -- tragi-comedy, that Walcott says must be earned. It runs through our culture. We recognize the hard blows of life, yet affirm our dignity through humor."
I agree that 'taking serious tings make joke' is characteristic of our culture and should certainly (in some degree) be part of the stories that come out of it. Anancyism, as articulated and operated by our folk hero, Anancy, the original Spider Man, is perhaps another marker.
That brings me to a question. I'd like to know what folks understand the term "Anancyism" to mean. I've encountered some definitions that disagree (I'll come back to them in due course) and I know how I've always understood the term. Because there's lack of consensus, I'd be glad for wider feedback.
So to another, and quite different matter. There are some who say that one of the signs of impending apocalypse is the collapse of world communication systems. Seems that in some parts of the world, broadband, touted as the solution to 'super-fast' delivery of data, is failing to live up to its big promise. According to today's BBC World News:
"... in South Africa it seems the web is still no faster than a humble pigeon.
A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.
Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.
Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds."
Not entirely sure why Winston should be characterized as 'humble'... Seems the epithet in this case might better apply to the web firm's lackadaisical service; certainly it would not be inappropriate for the firm's attitude, in the face of its poor performance. (Vain hope!) But it's worth bearing in mind that old ways are worth preserving. After all, birds flew before planes and messages crossed distances before there were fibre-optic cables. Selah.