Day 265 – The last bit of real life?

For a while, at least? Maybe.

Holidays start today in SA. Not officially, and not for everyone, but The Day of Reconciliation (that was today) does generally mark some sort of beginning to the summer holiday season.

The festive period is always a bit weird: it’s hot and sunny, which it clearly shouldn’t be at Christmas time and all our routines are swept away for a few weeks: Kids at home. Me at home. Dog at home. Wife at work. Playdates, restaurants, shopping, general socialising.


This year: nope. It’s everybody at home (even though the wife is still at work). We’ve got a couple of (outdoor, socially-distanced) things that still have to be done and then and we’re all holing up as the second wave hits Cape Town. Early days, but it does already appear to be much more severe than our initial problems in May, June and July.

President Ramaphosa swung into action once again with targeted measures aimed mainly at reducing superspreader events. And I get it – to a certain extent – but once again, there does seem to be a degree of irrationality when 100 people are still allowed to gather indoors, but all the beaches in KZN, the Eastern Cape (definitely outdoors – I’ve been there) and the Garden Route are closed.

Better policing and enforcement of the regulations would be a much better way of going about things, but our police force is understaffed, overwhelmed, dysfunctional and aggressive. And while I can understand why you can’t just close some of the beaches in a given area (because then everyone would just go to the ones that were open), this is a lazy catch-all which has understandably angered many people – and merely driven everyone to other venues in the tourist areas: at least some of which will be indoors.

In KZN, the beaches are only closed on those days on which the majority of poorer people traditionally go there. And yes, the beaches on those days are horrifically overcrowded and would likely be very unsafe from a Covid point of view, those people are now going to stay in their horrifically overcrowded residential areas which are very unsafe from a Covid point of view. This doesn’t help much at all.

We’re in the Western Cape, where our beaches are still open – bizarrely only between 9am and 6pm – concentrating the crowds as much as possible. But it’s unlikely that we’ll be spending much time there.

It’s going to be a surreal summer: no extended family, limited travel, no socialising.

It’s a pain. It’s sad. It’s irritating. But it is just one year.

Political hysteria

It’s election time in the UK, and I’m really glad I’m not there.

If the hysteria and hypocrisy on social media is anything to go by (and to be fair, it’s probably not), it must be an absolute crapfest over there at the moment.

Taking a step back 6000 miles… away from the situation, it’s always interesting to me what the combination of acute politics, access to the internet and a glass or two of wine can bring out in people. In an age when we are trying desperately hard to educate our kids as to the dangers of poor social media etiquette, people – parents! – really don’t seem to think before they share and post stuff online.

Take this hilarious meme, for example. Yes, yes, I see what they’re trying to say here, and of course they’re entitled to their political opinions, but in stating one particular party in the slightly altered heading (did you even notice?), for me, they’re implying that any other party’s propaganda is fine.

That definition of propaganda for you:

information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

So if one party is lying, that’s [emoji poo], but for anyone else, it’s fine?
Ok then.

It’s another good example of the hypocrisy that is conveniently overlooked when shouting about these things. Because if you think that Labour or the Lib Dems (other parties are available) are going to deliver on their election promises, you really haven’t been concentrating on any election ever.
And yet the people posting this sort of crap are (mostly) well-educated, professional individuals who wouldn’t dream of saying something so clearly illogical in any other area of their life.

There’s some major sociological study just waiting for a suitable PhD candidate right here. (It’s probably already been done, to be honest.)

I’ve said it about sport:

…it’s fine to be irrational, as long as you know you’re being irrational. Sport brings out the irrational side in a lot of people…

The trouble is, much like sport, politics encourages this weird kind of behaviour as well. And, much like sport, it’s exacerbated by social media.

Take a look at your friends’ posts online now. And if you don’t see this phenomenon, you’ve either chosen good friends (well done) or you’re deep inside the echo chamber with them (oh dear).

The World Cup win

I’ve been quite surprised at the online reaction to England’s Cricket World Cup win last night. So many calls that Stokes’ inadvertent extra boundary shouldn’t have counted, or should have counted for less (fewer?); so many people saying that the final outcome being decided by the number of boundaries in the game was “unfair” or “too arbitrary”.

Allow me a couple of points, if you will.

Firstly, it’s fine to be irrational, as long as you know you’re being irrational. Sport brings out the irrational side in a lot of people, and yesterday’s game encouraged it even more simply because it was so spectacular, so topsy-turvy, so big: and so damn close. The fact that it was played in such great spirit and with such gracious sportsmanship only adds to the emotion, and to the belief that neither side deserved to lose: that they should have simply declared it a draw (which is clearly hugely irrational, but it’s ok, because I know that I’m doing it).

Secondly, it’s really not “unfair” or “arbitrary” to decide a game in any given manner, just so long as the participants are aware of the rules ahead of time. It would be ridiculous to get to a tie at the end of the Super Over and then choosing a method to decide the winner. I’m sure that no-one could have believed that it would ever come down to how many boundaries each team had scored, but since there was a chance that it might, maybe Kane Williamson (yes, lovely guy) should have rallied his team to score more boundaries. Mind you, since this is kind of the aim of the batting side in cricket generally, I’m not sure why they weren’t trying to do this anyway.

It’s unfair (and irrational) to cherry pick the method of deciding the game only once one gets to the stage where one has to. But still, people thought they’d give it a go. Some other suggestions to decide the game might have been: using the result in the round robin matches (England would have won), the overall net run rate (England would have won), relative positions in the ten team league (England would have won), wickets lost in the Super Over (England would have won), overall boundaries scored in the tournament (England would have won).

But those all seem to have been ignored, with many people seeming to have settled on the number of wickets lost in the 50-over final, which conveniently would have meant that New Zealand took the match, and with it, the World Cup. Of course, it we’d all known about that up front, presumably both captains would likely have encouraged their side to try and lose fewer wickets (which is – again – pretty standard stuff unless you’re raking in some dollars in from some dodgy bookmakers).

Of course, it simply comes down to anti-England sentiment. Which is why we have to hear about all the different original nationalities of the players every time we play.

Everyone: England should accept more immigrants and put them in positions of responsibility.
ECB does it.
Everyone: Not like that.

And which, of course, is rather irrational.

But we’ve covered that already, haven’t we?

So here’s a photo of the World Cup winning team, full of diversity (except that they’re all men, obviously), who scored more boundaries than their opposition yesterday.

Well done, boys!