Wednesday, May 03, 2017

High-class perversity

Name-dropping is par for the course for the jet set. Name-dropping the names of the dead is perverse, though. I didn't realise how perverse our ukubwa culture was until I read the tweets of a serial name-dropper who couldn't help but remind us that she was connected to very dead formerly very powerful men.

Kenya's jet set is incestuous and insular; the same small elite group of people know each and have relations only with each other; upstarts and social climbers rarely break into this clique. It is this clique's insularity that blinds them to the perversity of name-checking/name-dropping the dead and gone. In the past, the name-dropping was meant to signal membership in the clique and allowed the one to whom the dropping was directed to confirm the name-dropper's social status. Often, it were new members that had the gauche habit of name-dropping; veteran members knew that it was enough to be invited to the right clubs, the right parties or the right [western] embassy reception.

Kenya's jet set has now been infiltrated by the sullied degenerates of the political classes, rough-hewn and newly monied. These are people whose polish is veneer-thin; a quick swipe with the wet towelette of high class social cachet and the ashy district focus skin beneath is revealed. Few survive their revelation as being members of the village-bicycle set, pretenders to the plush first class recliners of the jet set. Many of them have a narcissistic me-me-me penchant for posting selfies of themselves, chilled wine flutes to hand, reclining victoriously in first class on world class airlines, like Lufthansa or Virgin Atlantic. They often tend to come off as total asses.

The gauche, narcissistic, new-money social climbers seeking a place the social high table are the ones who are likely to remind you of their connection to the dead while affecting a faux emotional facade of sorrow at the memory of the departed. It's usually embarassing to know them; it's even more embarassing for them to know you and to publicly broadcast that they know you. It is downright mortifying when they signal membership in that higher social class they desperately wish to remain a part off when they remind you of their connection to the late great dearly departed. If we are lucky, every last one of them will become rich enough to move to California. Or New York. Or Sicily.

No comments: