Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Bigga Ford.

By now you might have heard of the delightful Tessanne Chin. She's that Jamaican songstress and media-darling who recently swept all before her on the way to triumph on "The Voice" USA. Charming, centred, adroit and demure, our Tess rode da riddims of her native wordsong into the hearts and souls of millions.

Well, for every Tessanne, it seems there's an anti-Tessanne.

In a turn of events, closely resembling a Maury Povich premise, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has become the latest flashpoint Jamaican dialectician. Boombastic epithets, viral memes and all.

A nuh Missis Chin likkle girl dis ... it's the bumboclaat antithesis.

Loyal bro, Doug, stumps for Rob's political survival just like sis Tami pulls for Tessi's rising star. Comparisons end there. Y'see, Tessanne is a goodaz gyal, while our Mayor makes uncool copy and has running beef wit' da local sheriff - Police Chief Bill Blair.

"Babylon newspaper seh so, I and I seh so, so what more the people want to reveal?," mused the Rasta prophet. Now, if everyone's commenting on the same thing, it's that much harder to be original.
Enter those easy-to-reach cultural signifiers for Jamaica, add a dash of reticence to appear culturally adrift - cue tricolour Marley memes.

As Rob rhymes with Bobbobsled down this linguistic luge with me. Paraphrasing Rastafari dread style and pattern is its own cottage industry. Broadsheets, blogs and twitter parody accounts, like @MayorRobMarley, leap enthusiastically at typical Marley-brand imagery to feed Toronto City Hall's Tuff Gong-show.
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1).
Rob Ford's synapses, inebriated and along for the ride, default to bad words in the face of Bacchanal. Not unusual by itself, until incongruity rears its ugly head in a too-cute performance of base guff, communicating on more levels than he likely understands.

And the hits just keep on coming. Wheel up selecta!

 Jamaican language is a dynamic mix-up-mix-up of English and Patwa. Perpetually evolving. It is confident and coolly captivating in cadence. Together with its kin, Reggae, we have a contagious combo. Only the uptight are genuinely immune, but the case of  Mr. Mayor shows signs of advanced Yardie-mylitis.
Despite being as good a bloodclaat Ja-fake-an mimic as rassclaat Snoop Lion, Natty Rob is no Mystic Man like Peter Tosh, who once scandalized polite society by releasing a song entitled ... yes, "Oh Bumboclaat!"
My Tessanne Chin references are admittedly a tad gratuitous, but the piece was desperately seeking beautification, y'nahmean?
In realworld Jamaica, politicians often flex like rockstars, and cops too. I crack up - no pun intended - visualizing the unseemly outcome if this played out on the public scene there. Rob Ford clashing with a top cop and cussing him all kine a claat
If, after a storied career, he wasn't approaching retirement I'd have just the match-up. Robamuffin vs. Legendary Supercop (and coincidental namesake), Cornwall "Bigga" Ford. Then again, they're both facing impending retirement, so why not?
#Readytorumble meets #Mannersanddiscipline Uptown.

Ringside sell off.

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