The two most popular daily newspapers in Kampala, the New Vision and the Daily Monitor, provide different versions of life in Uganda. The Vision often reads like the government’s press release, proclaiming good works and dismissing criticisms with indignation. The Monitor, which promises “Truth Everyday,” lends a bit more objectivity to the news of the day in Uganda, but is not without its own lack of perspective.
I like to alternate between the two papers, as together they form a patchwork narrative for Uganda. Despite the fact that they often stray from the basic principles of journalism, the papers remain informative and provide a good laugh. This humor, however, is almost certainly unintentional. Sure, the papers have New York Times aspirations, but sometimes the writing has a decidedly Onion flavor. And who doesn’t love unintentional onion flavoring?
Thus, without further ado, I give you a small taste from recent editions of each:
“Anti-torture Bill unfair, say top Police officers” –New Vision headline, Monday, May 14.
First, let me say that I find this funny only in an I-can’t-believe-anyone-would-say-this kind of way. Evidently, “police top brass” are worried that a proposed law prohibiting police torture of arrestees will land more officers in prison than criminals. I guess if you’re in the business of beating the tar out of alleged criminals, this is a fair concern. On the other hand, you might be asking yourself if the “top brass” are concerned with the apparent ubiquity of torture by police? Not so much.
To the pages of the Monitor. . . .
Two weeks ago, the Monitor began stirring Uganda’s hip-hop cauldron in anticipation of Bobi Wine and Bebe Cool’s impending lyrical “Battle of Champions.” (If you’ve never heard of Bobi Wine or Bebe Cool, we have something in common.) Let’s take a look at how the article begins: “Beef fanatics, step forward for service . . . mind you it’s not meat!” The first half of this sentence is awesome. The second half of the sentence commits awesome suicide. Unofficial rule of journalism: don’t let your sentences commit suicide.
Fortunately, for those hungry for more on the Bobi/Bebe feud, last week’s Monitor provided a post-battle rundown of the lyrical throwdown. There is too much “beef” from that article to regurgitate here, but perhaps a photo of the participants will suffice. I’m not sure how the winner was determined, but one of these guys was channeling The Gimp from “Pulp Fiction” while the other was channeling a court jester. I’m no hip-hop guru, but that’s probably not going to win a rapper anything rappers might want to win.
Finally, to the Monitor’s pages of the “sQoop” section for “connie’s tiffs.” It is unclear why this section has a NyQuil-inspired spelling. Maybe it’s that warm, fuzzy feeling.
Also, I don’t know who “connie” is or why she doesn’t capitalize her name, but at least she voices concerns about the police brutality that evidently does not bother “top brass.”
After police were photographed pulling a woman from a car during a protest last week, women’s groups were in uproar. It doesn’t help that one widely-published photo depicts an officer violently grabbing a woman’s breast.
Let’s turn things over to connie with a little “c”: “What differentiates females from all other creatures on earth?” Dramatic pause. “Breasts!”
Um, connie with a little “c,” that’s not really true. Just ask Meatloaf. Also, spiders and flowers can be female; neither have breasts. Of course, if you’re suggesting that female humans are the only animal species to have breasts, well, you’re forgetting about every other mammal on the planet. I know it may be hard to believe, but the similarity in the words “mammal” and “mammary” is not mere coincidence.
And that’s the truth. Everyday.