The Cow thought this hoarding was too good to pass up:
("I wonder what 'Business Report' old Liz gave uMalume?", mused Gramsci...)
The Cow was bemused upon hearing that uMalume had decided to take onSteve Hofmeyr in the "Father of the Nation" stakes. "Surely he knew the press would relish the challenge?" she asked Bronstein. "They'll be commenting on his 'kak' shoes, next...."
Bronstein shrugged. "It's apparently none of our business how many children he spawns," he sighed, "though not everybody agrees with that view!"
"I suppose expecting consistency of one's leaders is a bit much," the Cow mused. "Urging people to practice safer sex, and then clearly engaging in some bareback activity himself..."
"Perhaps he had a shower afterward?" suggested Bronstein. "If it kills HIV, it must kill semen?"
"More likely he was sending a veiled threat to his new wife," the Cow proposed. "Showing how easy it would be to replace her, since he has all these women gagging for him!"
"Gagging, I can understand," Bronstein shuddered. "I can't understand how anyone would find something sexy if it looked like a rabid potato with false teeth!"
"Wasn't it Kissinger who stated that power was an aphrodisiac?" asked the Cow. "He must also have wondered how he ever got lucky! But..." she paused. "Of more concern to me is this new discourse of parenthood."
"You mean," Bronstein asked nervously, "uMalume's not going to stop spawning until he has literally fathered a nation?"
The Cow rolled her eyes dramatically. "No! Although, given his selection for the inner circle at Copenhagen, you'd think he'd be a little more sensitive to ecological issues than irresponsible overbreeding. But no, I was referring more to this framing of him by Malema as the Father of the Nation."
"Maybe Jules is setting him up for a blind date with the Mugger, uh, Mother of the Nation, Jennifer Hudson?"
"You mean Winnie?" laughed the Cow. "Well, that's not too far off. I was thinking of the other national father - Idi Amin, Dada."
The Cow rolled her eyes as Twitter spat out the latest headlines. "The youth of today," she muttered. "Remember when we thought Fikile was an embarrassment? He's almost sane, compared to this Julius chap!"
Gramsci nodded sagely. "Those 'kill for Zuma' comments were just a little inflammatory," he agreed. "Especially in the current climate where there's all too much of that going on anyway!"
"Yes," the Cow sighed. "And Jon Qwelane's febrile ravings don't help much! If Julius is looking for someone to kill, uMalume has made his views on 'agtermekaar manne' all to clear on previous occasions."
"Do you think the bestiality insinuation was to get the cat-huggers on board to vote for uMalume?" Gramsci mused.
The Cow shook her head. "Julius has already blown off those types as irrelevant," she reminded him. "Though some liberal aunties bringing stew may be welcome when he's governing from jail, perhaps?"
Gramsci chuckled. "Especially if it's goat stew," he added.
"So why then," pondered the Cow, "did uMalume appoint one of the sisters doing it for themselves as premier in the Western Cape?"
"Well," Gramsci reminded her, "her former girlfriend was one of those Travelgate agents. He's probably hoping for parole terms like Yengeni's, and Soraya can can toss in a weekend or two away?"
The Cow paused. "As long as she brings her kanga, it's all good for him, I guess."
The Cow was a little bemused. "Do you think that was intentional?" she asked Gramsci, pointing to the lamppost bearing weekend newspaper hoardings. Directly beneath a Weekend Argus headline about Jacob Zuma was the Sunday Times's "Dumbest Crooks of 2007" headline.
Gramsci chuckled. "Perhaps he's realised Dave Bullard and Zapiro aren't going to hand over the R6 Million-odd he's demanding, so he's going for the man in the street - literally!"
The Cow sighed. The uMalume soap opera was even longer running than Sewende Laan, and far less interesting, albeit with a cast of 218 planned for the new season. And the storyboard, well...
"R25 for a mini-valet for his car!" Gramsci announced. "You'd think they'd provide the contact details. Unless it was another 'special deal'?"
"Like Yengeni's discounted luxury vehicle?" the Cow mused. "Certainly possible. But how about all those kids' school and technikon fees? Do you think that is the estranged wives getting back at the absence of formal education uMalume boasts?"
Gramsci shrugged, rippling a Mexican wave through his multiple shoulders. "The wife payouts are interesting, too. Nkosazana gets R22K over four years as a divorce settlement, whereas poor old Kate, for '24 years of hell', gets pretty much the same amount!"
"She was only 44 when she killed herself," the Cow noted. "She must have been 20 when they married. Her entire adult life, worth R23K!"
Gramsci looked up. "Do you think Shaik paid the lobola, too?"
The Cow chuckled. "If many of the payments to uMalume were allegedly 'loans', what was Shaik going to do if he defaulted? Repossess his wives?"
Gramsci blanched. "Perhaps that's why the man is in such a state of stress," he observed wryly. "He was afraid Sarafina and Co. were coming to stay..."
The Cow was gobsmacked on reading a report on people's motivation for engaging in sexual behaviour. "Surprise, surprise," she announced to Gramsci. "It's because of lust!"
Gramsci looked up. "You mean," he asked incredulously, "people are having it off with other people... because... they want to?"
" 'Fraid so," admitted the Cow. "The study definitely seems to indicate that sexual attraction is what makes people want to get down on it."
Gramsci shook his head sadly. "What is the world coming to?" he sighed. "Sex as pleasure, not as obligation. How on earth would uMalume's argument fare in a court with that kind of knowledge available?
"Well," the Cow paused, "the researcher did admit that 'Men were more likely to be opportunistic towards having sex, so if sex
were there and available they would jump on it, somewhat more so than
women. Women were more likely to have sex because they felt they needed
to please their partner...' - even if the differences were small. She suspected that the differences might be larger with a more elderly sample - which is where uMalume would fit in."
"Ah," noted Gramsci. "The socialising effect of age?"
"Perhaps," conceded the Cow. "But then again, there's a comment by a Dr Goldstein that 'the vaunted differences in the genders may only be among people with sexual problems.' Perhaps that may be relevant in uMalume's case, too? After all, he did peg 'normal' atfifteen minutes....?"
The Cow wasn't sure if it was an April Fool's joke or not, when she heard that uMalume was suing the Sunday Slimes for R6Million, following a couple of Dave Bullard columns wherein he allegedly alleged that uMalume was "stupid" and "dishonest". But, it appeared, the date of the report was coincidental. uMalume apparently needed the cash to bankroll his presidential campaign.
The Cow was just a little confused. "Surely the issue of his dishonesty was still sub judice, given that the corruption trial had yet to resume, at that point?" she asked Gramsci. "Despite all the prima facie evidence Bulelani Ncuka and others claim to have in their possession?"
Gramsci sighed. "Innocent until proven guilty" meant different things to different people, in his experience.
"But on the 'stupidity' allegation, there, surely, there can be no doubt?" the Cow continued. "After all, this is a man who believed a shower could protect him from HIV infection after unprotected sex with someone he knew to be HIV+, someone whose views on rape could most charitably be described as medieval, someone whose idea of good sex was 15 minutes with an inert, resistant partner..."
"But," Gramsci interjected, "Defamation has only tangentially to do with truth, and rather more to do with reputation. If his 'status, good name or reputation' have been adversely affected, he has a case!"
The Cow thought long and hard. "Surely," she asked, tentatively, "his actions rather than the reporting on them would have caused the damage? And an opinion piece - purporting to be opinion, rather than fact - could not be seen as detrimental to his 'status, good name or reputation', given that this would by that stage have been in tatters anyway?"
"Ah yes," chuckled Gramsci, "but it's not as sinister as you think! Dave Bullard asked uMalume to sue him, and uMalume simply obliged. Currying favour with potential voters, I reckon."
The Cow wasn't so sure. Perhaps a little bird had tipped uMalume off that he'd need the money after all, given that the Courts had OK'd the request for the contentious Mauritian documents. The taxpayer might finally get tired of forking out for all those legal fees, after all.
The Cow was intrigued to read about a study which found a correlation between teenage sexual precocity and delinquency. "Proof," she declared to Gramsci, "of the anarchic nature of hormones!"
But sadly the findings didn't really support that assertion very strongly. Partly because the study's definition of "delinquency" seemed so bizarre. "I'm surprised they found anyteenagers that were not delinquent, with such a definition!"Gramsci agreed. "It seems more like a definition of Teenagerdom than Delinquency!"
The Cow nodded sadly. But then, the study was American. In America, having the wrong political opinion, or observing the wrong religion, would be deemed "delinquent", if not constitute outright misdemeanours.
"Calling it 'nonconventional' behaviour also signals how unfamiliar the researchers were with real teenagers," she commented. "After all, how many teenagers do you know who've never engaged in 'minor crimes'? Especially," her voice rose slightly, "when they include things like damage to property, trying out drugs or -" she paused in shock "graffiti!"
Gramsci looked up, surprised. Graffiti was a crime? He'd always considered it a form of cultural expression, like wearing All Star Hi-Tops or skateboarding.
"Gmf!" The Cow snorted. "Tagging, maybe. Proper graffiti is an art form! Visually, conceptually - good graffiti artists rank up there with Joseph Beuys or Rene Magritte!"
Gramsci puzzled a little longer. "Perhaps that's exactly it!" he mused. "Magritte's pipe!"
The Cow looked up, perplexed.
Gramsci continued. "Never mind Foucault! Think Zapiro! uMalume's drooping, dripping shower head. Mbeki's perky pipe. Sexual incontinence vs 'normal' sexual potency!"
The Cow shook her head. She thought that was stretching it a little. And besides, she really didn't want another brush with uMalume's lawyers!
The Cow was disturbed to read that uMalume was again facing the prospect of prison. This time, it seemed, for something as prosaic as giving the tax man the finger.
The Cow has always been happy to pay her taxes, and since SARS introduced e-filing, even submitting tax returns has ceased to shake her bovine cheefulness. So she found uMalume's attitude a bit puzzling.
"It's the one State department that's actually efficient!" she sighed to Gramsci. "You'd think people would welcome the opportunity to engage with such a paradox!"
"Gmf! Only those with nothing to hide!" muttered Gramsci. He suspected that the jailing of uMalume's financial advisor may have led to some opacity in uMalume's understanding of his financial affairs.
"Still," the Cow said, "Surely it's all been aired in court, so he need only take out his paper scissors and cut out the media reports to submit those as the documentary evidence SARS wants in support of his submission?"
Gramsci chuckled at the thought of encrypted faxes and contested emails being stapled onto uMalume's IT2 in lieu of an IRP5. "He could always provide the URLs and do it by e-filing!" he suggested.
But the Cow's mind had drifted. "If he's found guilty, that constitutes a crime, right? And Willie Hofmeyr is allowed to seize assets used in the commission of a crime, not so? So... how do you rate the prospects of them auctioning off Shabir Shaik's brain on EBay to recover some of the expenses from these costly trials?"
Gramsci took refuge under the keyboard. It was a terrifying prospect. Britney's hair. Paris Hilton's miscarriage bill. Shabir's brain. And parents worried that their kids spent pocket money on drugs??
Gramsci retreated under the keyboard and took his head in his hands, muttering darkly. The Cow was rather more stoical about uMalume's reprieve, divided between relief that the judiciary still maintained enough independence from the State to toss out a bad, albeit politically convenient, case, and abject disappointment that the State seemed to employ prosecutors solely from the extended family of the Marx Brothers.
Gramsci had heard from his UK cousin Bronstein that reporting and commentin the UK media had all made a point of mentioning that the judge had stopped short of dismissing the entire case, merely dismissing the current indictment - something which hadn't enjoyed nearly the same prominence in local media. At least, not in the liberal, white-aligned media that tended to cross his attention span. Where most of the staffers were probably on the Net applying for jobs in other countries rather than picking up news off the wires, their partners at home packing up and selling off the suburban house with swimming pool and 2.2 children and electric fence, he assumed, a Zuma presidency now looking ominously imminent.
The Cow wasn't so sure. There were other contenders in the wings, younger, smarter, better looking. Mind you, she conceded, youth was neither here nor there, and pretty much anyone was smarter and better looking. Come to think of it, wasn't that what Miss South Africa was about, these days? Not just who looked best in a bathing costume, but who could most authentically convince the judge that they cared very, very much about world peace and starving children?
Gramsci emerged, looking hopeful. Perhaps the process of choosing a new leader might be interesting, after all - only, in the interests of world peace and celestial harmony, please don't ask uMalume to parade in a speedo...
The Cow has been quite depressed of late. While senior politicos weighed in with their affidavits in support of the State's case against uMalume, there was resounding silence across the sea concerning his cosmic twin. Had the connection been broken?
And then, earlier, she was pleased to hear from Gramsci's UK cousin Bronstein that Two Shags had gotten some press coverage at long last! Not for his amorous pursuits this time, or for his alleged corrupt activities... his current scandal was reportedly to have referred to the Bush administration's Middle East policy as "crap".
Carnivorous Cow was gobsmacked! While not exactly the observation of a genius, it nonetheless intimated that there was at large a politician with some residual inclination towards honesty.
It was Gramsci who pointed out that there was other reported evidence of Prezza possessing enough blood to operate both anatomical appendages cited by Robin Williams, albeit not simultaneously.
The Cow was overwhelmed. She was forced to consider that, just possibly, it might be Prezza's hint of integrity, and the whisper of an operational braincell, rather than his charm and good looks that drew women like a magnet to his (tax-funded) bedroom.
The possibility was terrifying. Did this mean uMalume was about to grow a braincell, too?
"The political is personal."