by Stephen Oloh
For a little while now I have considered Ray Hushpuppi a punishment on Nigerians for being boring and stupid. It’s the habit best fit for a people who made the #FreeEvans rubbish trend and still wanted Evans to be given a second chance.
Everyday we are bombarded with media advertisements promoting the ‘good life’, whether it’s a shiny new car, a Lekki-styled life, a Gucci something, a sunny day on a cruise liner somewhere in the Caribbean, or partying while imbibing Lite beer and wanking.
The messages are always clear: life is meant to be fun! And no dignity or morals allowed because it’s everyone’s right to be a Hushpuppi, an Evans or a Bobrisky.
Everything about us corresponds almost perfectly with a nation in decline; a habit that is mistaken for a virus; a capitalism that has become looting and kidnapping; a war on corruption and criminality that misunderstands the meanings of corruption and crime. We call ourselves victims because we have thrown away the dignity of decision.
Work has come to mean drudgery where people live for weekends, another message that is constantly promoted via ‘feel good’ news stories and ads promoting “the good life” in a thousand different versions.
One can easily see how so many lazy unemployed young Nigerians, who are bored and alienated, succumb to the nonstop messages that life is meant to be “Hushpuppied” and entertaining, then get hooked on the various forms of venality because they don’t want to be left behind and miss out on “the good life.”
It’s easy to see how so many who are not achieving happiness suffer from a ‘fear of missing out’, or to use the colloquial acronym, FOMO. So what to do when one is missing out on the happiness and pleasure that society tells them they should be experiencing it? Create it forcefully, illegally or perhaps artificially through criminality, the ultimate ‘great’ experience.
More than this, it’s a “malady” that corresponds with our morality. Our drive lacks the mystic wonder of the hippies and the die-hard go-getting of the 80’s. The 60’s got us into mushrooms but we are no longer interested in a new perspective or ready to do anything good so we threw away everything good to fake it.
Nigerian morality is custom fit for people who want to look good in front of their friends without thinking too hard and without doing too much. You don’t want to work hard but you need all the right privileges for such category. We let others bear the burden so we look like we’re strong. A “good” man isn’t necessarily good for anything but he fakes openness to everyone on social media. He adopts hypocrisy as a religion that finds it perfectly acceptable to preach with no intention of following it but will expect others to toe the line or be prepared to face the consequences.
In short, we have a passive and counterfeit morality and a poor habit to match it. No longer content with prudence we are more content to not look like prudes. We don’t value fortitude because it is a sin to ask people to man up. Our charity is political instead of personal. Our social justice means lying about obvious truths or seeing Lai Mohammed as a mentor. Our hope is no longer in our God or even in ourselves but in the flood of social media demography.
Even our sober entertainment is passive beyond historical precedent. Faking it is just the best for us because we are unfit to live life and we know it, and the areas we are fighting are the areas we are losing at life worst. The Hushpuppi epidemic is the obvious choice for a passing people whose morality is cultural, spiritual, and political suicide, and want to let themselves easy into their graves.
It cannot be an unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life.
It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods, then cheerfully get the most of them and shame people with it.
There is much more to it.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija