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Riley Hayward
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Talking a big game

06 February 2014, 18:35
IT'S a funny old thing that happens when you get older.The innocent optimism you had while growing up that people your own age would somehow shape a better future for all is consumed by a cold realisation that their success comes at the expense of the collective.

They start to say things like "it's a dog-eat-dog world", "work smart, not hard - let others do the work", and "can you believe what so-and-so said at the management meeting the other day?"

And this of course extends to everything these days, be it politics, business or sports administration.None of these things actually contributes to the final product that finds its way to the shelves, customer or voter, but do they ever help to impress the privileged puppet masters who "networked" their way to the top.Network.

 There was once a time when that word had positive associations; now it means quaff a Hennessey/mojito with the boss after 18 holes/day at the spa while discussing that idiot Bob Smith/Patricia Chalmers and his/her failing marriage. And how you can always get him/her to work weekends.

Ha ha ha.What is of great concern is that the phenomenon has broken through the borders of intra-office or governmental politics and into an entire conglomerate of such networkers, who convene to pat each other on the back and bestow awards on one another for doing very little other than knowing one another.The saying, "He who shouts loudest can only hear his own voice", is scorned as the bleating of a lesser mortal, an antiquated ideal of fools who never learnt to adapt to the "real world".

And yet, 90% of the time that you  engage one of these Masters of the Universe on any issue of actual importance, they will stare at you blankly, not having a clue why they should be bothered to know that.We as a nation are celebrating sub-par braggarts, and we have been doing it for a long time.If the trade union movement was not so politicised in South Africa, I would certainly advocate as many rights for the workers as possible, but unfortunately it is governed by loud mouths who are once again in it for their own gain.

I would also make my mark for a political party, were the leaders not of the type who tweet absurdities and fire juvenile salvos at opposition but then shmooze with their "enemies" at the opening of Parliament every year.And in the corporate realm I definitely would have more friends if the common goal, and not the name-dropping bullshit and slanderous shenanigans, was the chief priority. We have become besotted with the idea of personalities' wiles and conniving ways, and with that the line between progressing as a country and disintegration has been rubbed out.

 We are paying homage to noise, not actions, and instead of making the instigators accountable, we are hailing them as ... well who knows what?

Making the right albeit completely uninformed noises about the disparity between rich and poor while throwing a lavish, drunken pool party in Sandton should result in the perpetrator being stripped of their wealth, that wealth redistributed to the poorest of the poor in the rural Eastern Cape and him being forced to take up residence in a Hlankomo shack.

That punishment for hypocrisy certainly befits the crime, but instead, business awards for talking the talk, never walking the walk, are handed out like flyers at a four-way stop.And as the vapid greedheads continue on their merry way, so the silent, hard-working classes wonder how to pay next month's rates bill ...     
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