From the archive: So many questions, so few answers

27 January 2012, 7:44 am

So many questions, so few answers (published in Art South Africa, August 2010)

Fronted by Watkin Tudor Jones of Max Normal fame, Die Antwoord has caused ripples locally and internationally (just google it) and have signed with Interscope (Lady Gaga, Blackeyed Peas, 50Cent), or are on the verge of signing with them. One can’t be sure: it’s the internet, Die Antwoord, and there are conflicting reports.

Jones’s present incarnation is Ninja, a hardegat, working-class white Afrikaans man who either has truck, or wishes he had truck, with hardegat ‘coloured’ gangsters. Ninja sports gold caps and tattoos in prison fonts, some of them icons of number gangs (but no actual number) and some of them phrases from gang lexicons, like “Pretty Wise”.

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The Talented Mr. Poplak

25 March 2010, 9:12 am

“Ag nee, man, fok” – Sven Eick

(for Sven)

Despite the length and eloquence of Mr. Poplak’s response, it should be clear to anyone willing to resubmit to reading his original piece and my long comment on it, that he has not read my original comment with the required perspicacity, such as one would rightly expect of someone who writes with such an eloquent and bravura mixture of discourse that flits quite comfortably from informal ‘street’ rhetoric to high art to arch-postmodern anthropology, even if the latter appears in “lite” aphoristic reference. The to and fro of such long and eloquent disquisition says at least one thing: Die Antwoord is a cultural product of some worth. Had it been otherwise, individuals would not be investing so much time in spilling ink, real or virtual.

But it seems that saying something like “a cultural product of some worth” – in this style of archaic charm that I adopt here, for I am easily charmed – may not be evidence enough of a critic’s viewpoint, or his or her likes and dislikes. Mr. Poplak, it seems, would prefer that one either celebrate something in absolute carnivalesque abandon or not raise one critical squeak.

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