Call it self-flagellation brought on by Chief Whips in parliament. But I thrive on live broadcasts of parliamentary sessions locally and from Britain. They’re entertainment personified with a cast made up of natural cartoon characters.
Not a moment goes by without some member fluffing it, and unlike your conventional comedian who does it deliberately to raise a laugh, the MP goon is serious – making it really funny. In the case of the UK, pomposity is an addition. There’s nothing more hilarious than having a stiff upper lip sprouting a load of twaddle. At least our folk don’t possess the pretentious Brits’ airs and graces. We’re just boring.
And the difference between the Speakers is striking. Whereas Baleka Mbete has a limited vocabulary and little humour to speak of, John Berkow has a storehouse of gesegdes aimed at out of line MPs. He not only calls an elongated “Orrddderr!” but follows up with Dickensian utterances cleverly related to the subject matter.
One writer describes Berkow’s linguistic talent thus: Discourtesy is ‘rank’, delinquents are ‘incorrigible’, tones are ‘mellifluous’, anticipation is ‘eager’, speculation is ‘idle’, and a point is either ‘noted en passant’ or is ‘so blindingly obvious that only a clever person could fail to grasp it’.
See? I’ve not only learnt new words from the Berkow lexicon, but have a better grasp of the meaning of others.
Love or hate him, the man is a word wizard.
Imagine if he were to be let loose in our parliament? He’ll soon check the ravings of Juju with, “Julius, my dishonourable fellow, calm yourself with skokiaan, take up yoga or practice Zen restraint and patience in order to become a Mandela-like statesman”.
In the event of MPs getting out of hand, he’ll follow his barking “Orrderrr” with something like, “Look at you, instead of statesmanship you are auditioning and undertaking an apprenticeship to become qualified street fighters”.
Our Mbete will do well to watch a bit of the Brits, if only to increase her vocab. “Order! Order!” and, “I don’t recognise you, honourable member”, are not enough to control the ignoramuses.
Who knows, the outcome of our elections might usher in a Berkow brand Speaker. How about eNCA’s cheeky Thulasizwe Simelane in the role? Anyone who can take on Aunty Jesse Duarte is a good candidate. And he knows his politics.
Can’t wait for our post-election/Brexit parliaments for a new cast of clowns. Whip. Whip.