Monday, March 27, 2006

NTA maximalism

If boredom should strike one while in Nigeria, there is always the option to turn to NTA. The news is a constant source of mirth and hilarity, if one knows how to find it. If it is not for the extravagancies of costume (see the fine example of regal agbadahood to the left), then one can readily admire the extravagancies of the language. The English spoken on NTA is a uniquely distinct dialect of the language. Its provenance is 100% organic colonial: a sort of Africanised Etonian twang which results in weirdly contorted somewhat nasal locutions and odd syllabilic emphases.

Best of all though are the maps behind the newsreaders. To amuse myself, sometimes I imagine there is highly sophisticated intent behind them. My analysis takes me in two directions: either it is a nod to Pangea, that hypothesised super-continent said to have existed millions of years ago before Africa, America and Asia went their separate continental ways.

In this case, the map is a subtle reference to Africa being the origin of homo sapiens, and therefore the wisdom of ages is visually (and symbolically) accrued through a neat geographical sleight of hand. On the other hand, I take the fact that according to NTA, Spain has now linked up with North Africa, the UK has melded with Normandy (and lost Scotland to the icy wastes of the far North Sea in the process), the fact that the Mediterranean Sea has now become three separate lakes (losing its saline character in the process I imagine), thanks to some very odd growths occurring to Italy and Greece, and finally, the very odd bloidal blurrings taking place in South-East Asia (with Australia linking up with the Indonesian archipelago and Japan yearning for a Kiwi kiss) to all be signs of a magnificent and cartographically grandiloquent optimism for the future. Thousands of years from now, we humankind will have developed such brotherly and sisterly love for one another, that combined with our technological capacity to redirect plate techtonics (using nuclear fission and interplanetary energy sources), we will make a universal geo-political decision (at a future version of the UN) to reverse the previously ineluctable separation of continental landmasses, and decide to link up with one another – as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end. In other words, the NTA map is perhaps the most futural object on our planet, and should be celebrated as such.


Nkem 1:08 pm  

I was just about to post a blog about upside down maps. NTA is and has always been a pioneer. Hail to the chief!

ijebuman 1:37 pm  

na wah o, u this man too dey yap naija, abeg leave our NTA news alone ; - )

Nkem 2:48 pm  

Actually, on closer scrutiny, NTA is just projecting the current state of affairs - human migratory routes and geopolitics.

Spain is melded to Morocco by way of African immigrants crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. Lesser used routes are between Tunisia and mainland Italy, and Sicily.

You also have Indonesia joining up with Australia. Even the best efforts of Aussie premier, John Howard, can't stop people from Indonesia canoeing their way to the Australian subcontinent.

As for Scotland disappearing, what wouldn't many Englishmen give to sink the country. No Scotland would mean no "Scottish Raj" in English life, media and politics (especially West Lothian question). The UK and Normandy become one to recreate the spoils of Hastings in 1066, William the Conqueror resurrected. But more contemporary is the French move the "Anglo-Saxon" social and economic model. Like I said before, NTA is ahead of its time. One day, all maps will be like this.

Akin 7:21 pm  

I can only concur with Nkem, the world from the Nigerian perspective does not necessarily have to agree with Northern hemispheric ideas.

Just as Australians could be quite apt to turning the world upside-down to highlight the prominence of Australia against the whole wide world.

Indeed, on closer scrutiny, it is not so much about landmass but population dispersal and migration as Nkem put it.

Until we view another shocking Katrina-like episode of other places as America got shown up last year, the world is as joined up as you want it to be.

I could very well remember how I thought in primary school that the boundaries of countries were like unique far-away planets, impossible to get to, I now know better, the only boundaries that exist are the ones we put up as we fail to realise our potential by not pursuing with vigour our deepest and wildest dreams.

From that, I can read one thing about the NTA map - Never Trammel Adventure.

As for the elocution lessons that produce those bizarre accents I would recommend electrocution - they'll speak once and never again.

Anonymous,  7:41 pm  

The 'maximalism' of extravangant costumes. What do you want them to wear, Western clothes?

"To amuse myself, sometimes I imagine there is highly sophisticated intent behind them." A 'highly sophisticated intent' therefore, can only be an imagined one... Please.

Akin 1:14 am  

Well, they do not have to wear Western clothes, but I remember some fashion commentary about Siene Allwell-Brown in the 80s when the commentator commended the fashion trends of the newscasters but drew the line with finality and utter disdain if not condescension at when she put shoulder pads in the conventional buba.

We have always had the agbada (Yoruba)/babanriga (big clothes in Hausa) as part of good fashion in Nigeria; but in the third republic, those flowing gowns began to look like parachute brakes for jet fighters and the Shagari caps rivalled the Lagos skyscrapers for height.

It might have been good fashion, but it also represented the political excess and the malaise of corruption of those times.

Just as Alexis and her shoulder-pads in Dynasty, the series, represented good fashion but also the advent of the siren the epitome of what was bad about feminism.

So also, with NTA, is it about just looking good or something deeper if not too sinister and subliminal to contemplate?

Adaure 4:11 am  

JEROOOO!!!! That wa stoo funny and on point. As a broadcaster myself I cringe watching NTA on line. I try to watch it every other week just to remind myself of what ways I would be most useful to my country. Let me not even start with my story on how D-1 and Kenny Ogungbe on AIT Jams sealed that fate.
As for the clothes, the point of Jeremy's criticism is that they are too bawdy and distracting. Can you imagine when I was young my mum and my aunts used to tune in to the evening news just to copy Ruth Benemisia-Opia and Siene Razak Lawal's BLOUSE... I was assigned to DRAW THOSE DARN BLOUSES FOR THEM...I mean dawg c'mon.

baba sala,  1:25 pm  

Jeremy na wa o!

Abby 6:19 pm  

Dude I enjoy your blog alot but you are just way too critical of every moves Nigerians make. Everything they do have to go down one way or the other to you! Please just accept Nigerians for Nigerians for once danm!

Anonymous,  10:24 pm  

I think this guy needs to get a life.

Obi from Lagos aka Las Gidi

Chinyere 9:34 pm  

Just remember that you are a guest in Nigeria. Please stop knocking our newscasters and NTA. You don't have to watch it, please find something else to do in your spare time.

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