Ugandans love the obscene. Desire Luzinda’s Nigerian gave them more

Her music is third-rate it is in the category of dust. But there must be lots of people who enjoy the trashy vulgarity of the private personal tale superficially packaged as music and perpetually rolling out in the public domain. Desire Luzinda is not alone.

Every new catch, every twist in the romantic narrative must be sung and put in the general market where, incidentally, there are also mountains of trivia on WhatsApp and Facebook.

I do not know whether cultural historians will describe this grotesque indulgence as marking the final mutilation of the liberal spirit or the dawn of a new enlightenment. But from this chaotic abundance, something really outrageous sometimes pops out and rivets the public gaze for a while.

Maria Callas could sing. Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan could sing. Did music lovers with serious brains really care whether those ladies had long legs or great hips?

In our course popular cultural environment, contemplation of the female form and its capacity for delivering (and) experiencing sexual pleasure has taken a disproportionately large share of the space where so many different aspects of artistic expression can (potentially) be enjoyed.

Who needs recordings of Fitzgerald’s voice when an amateur with a digital camera can squat a few metres from the stage and feed your sexual fantasies with a close likeness of the enormous treasure under one Lady Bum’s skirt?

Do not misunderstand me. The flesh has its legitimate claims, but there is a boundary across which an excessive worship of the flesh blocks the channels of deeper understanding and even undermines the flesh itself.

It is less of a moral than an aesthetic question. It is a question of form, of contrasting textures, of range and variety, of the balance and integration of parts. It is a question of context, of expression a question of sensibility. It is a question of culture.

Although I have not seen the Luzinda pictures posted by her Nigerian ex-boyfriend, they are probably very vulgar. But you cannot comprehensively address this obscenity without addressing the general culture of “excess”.

The low-cultured man never seems to know when there is too much of anything from football to the “cheap” music blasting away in his matatu or roadside music shop.
Big Tummy is not sure about his status until he has ostentatiously downed a dozen beers and several chunks of meat.

In this culture, your radio aertiser believes he cannot reach the heart of his target audience unless he fires off his message in the form of a furious verbal onslaught that literally inflicts pain.

In the culture of excess, your pastor, your apostle or your prophet does not know when praising his wife begins to tip over into obscene gloating over his courtship and sexual conquest. In his vanity, he thinks it is an example of the religious man’s love and justice towards the other gender. And, naturally, he does not know that the congregation has already clapped too many times for false wisdom expertly packaged so he wants another round of clapping for having conquered his wife, too.

In Uganda’s culture of excess, among the people who do radio talk exhibitions, I hear the most obscene mouths boasting that it is their intellectual insight that draws the big audiences they say they have.

Well, the “best-selling” Luzinda exhibition suggests that our mass audience may be more interested in the obscene mouths than the bits of intellectual insight that occasionally grace those radio shows.

After possibly having a field day at his iPad, Ethics minister Simon Lokodo vehemently condemned the Luzinda excesses and demanded legal action.
I also saw a newspaper headline somewhere: “State House Shocked by Desire Luzinda’s Pictures”, or something like that.

Yes so what? This is the realm of excesses. Where are the headlines saying that State House is shocked by the obscene corruption of NRM leaders, or that Fr Lokodo wants constitutional action to address the excessive power enjoyed by State House?
A mean leadership involuntarily loses the authority to guide a society that thrives on fantasies.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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