Idiot Press: The Nation Edition.

We need to have a conversation about the Saturday Nation. You buggers, what the hell is going on?

I need to give you a bit of background before I continue, that you may fully grasp from whence my anguish emanates. I’ve been reading the Nation since I could read. My father, bless his demanding ass, used to make me read him the paper on the way to school, primary school by the way, and when he was feeling particularly malicious, he’d make me read Taifa Leo, just because. Those were not good times. My father’s house was always, and will always be, a Nation household. Because of this, my house has always been a Nation household, at least it was until they became a bit suspect. In the run up to the last election, round about mid 2012, I stopped buying the paper every other day, restricting myself to the weekend. It was partly out of a deep seated desire to save money, what with the never ending price hikes, but it was also borne of frustration and the increasingly rubbish reporting they were putting out, and the dodgy columns they kept adding. In truth, I suspect I simply outgrew my paper, no longer satisfied with the shallow analysis and limited scope. These days, I read the weekend papers, and only the weekend papers, content to skim headlines online the rest of the week. I figure after almost 30 years with them, I’m allowed to be picky, no?

Detour. Can we please talk about the atrocity masquerading as a website? How on earth did they manage to make it worse than it was? The old site was tedious, but it worked, kinda. The new site, however, is nothing but a Nation sponsored billboard. Imparting information? For what? On the off chance someone on their digital team reads this, stop ringaing with your links, if the article is up, put the damn thing where I can see it, because your search ain’t worth a damn. Just saying. And fix the bloody feeds. And please don’t touch the East African site, please. Detour over.

I have a couple of issues with the Saturday Nation.

First, why the hell did they move Randall Smith (Letter from America) all the way to the international section, na huko nyuma? And if that’s not bad enough, the pieces are now shorter, because who could possibly care about some random dude talking about random stuff? I’m half expecting them to bump Gado to the classifieds at this rate. I may have just given them ideas, dammit. I don’t know about the rest of you, but the combination of Kiai, Dolan and Makhokha make my Saturday morning, and Smith and Ochieng were the B-side. Stop fucking with my B-side, you idiots, it’s sacred. If you want to tinker, do it in the ‘Literary Forum’ (aka, ‘what did Ngugi and his clan say this week’.  I’m not upset, I love the man, but it might get old one of these days).

And then there’s their pride and joy, the magazine. Problem is, the Saturday magazine has gone to hell. In a hand basket. On Satan’s arm. The only thing keeping it going are the third page (Kate Getao), the financial advice page katikati (Waceke Nduati Omanga), and the third page from last (Rupi Mangat). It might be that my age has me less interested in the man vs woman nonsense, but I don’t think so. I think the mag has gotten boring, and a little, dare I say it, dumber. Note, I didn’t say the people in the mag are dumber (the legion of Biko fans are already lighting torches, bloody fascists), I said the mag itself is dumber.  There is a deliberate lack of substance, no? No?

I could bitch about the never-ending/moving Lizzie’s World, but I have a love/hate relationship with it, I love to hate it, read it eagerly every week just to get pissed off. I know, its the oddest thing. I could whine about the baby stuff, but I’m not the target market, so what the hell, right? The less said about the restaurant reviews the better, any review after just one visit cannot possibly be useful, can it?  Which leaves me with the features, oh the lovely features. The features in the magazine are…woi! Let me give you an example.

To catch a cheating spouse was the cover feature this weekend. Exciting, no? No, dammit. The article was pretty much a how to manual. Worse, a badly written how to manual.

While statistics say that women cheat nearly as much as men, they are definitely better at hiding it. For the suspicious husband, Kinyanjui offers Semen Spy, a sophisticated test kit which will tell the suspicious husband if his wife has been with a man apart from him.

This test will detect the smallest amount of seminal fluid on clothing – even after a few washes. It will test positive even if the male involved has had a vasectomy because it tests for semen, not sperm.

Are you suspicious about that business trip your wife just took? All you need is to have her underwear tested. Want to know who she was likely with? Surveillance and DNA lab services will confirm the identity of the interloper.

According to Murigi, ascertaining the other man’s identity is as easy as following the suspected party to a restaurant where they are having a meal with the suspect, swiping a napkin that the suspect uses and testing the DNA found on it to match up to the DNA sample from the underwear.

Courtesy of what Murigi refers to as ‘touch technology’, as long as the other man or woman touches surfaces or items of clothing, it will be possible for them to be traced using DNA from their hand prints.

Semen Spy? A sophisticated test kit? Touch technology? DNA from their hand prints? What the hell do you say to that brilliance? Do people not watch CSI any more? Sweet Jesus! For the record, the semen thing is a chemical spray and black light (see, Basic Instinct, murder number one), and the touch thing is pretty close to complete bollocks, unless they’ve figured out how to get DNA from a fingerprint (have they?). Either the guy peddling this stuff is full of shit, or the writer, and editor, no speaka da science, or google. Either way, what the fuck? In the same vein, the article went on to detail methods of tracking phone calls, texts, chats, emails, you name it. There are even trackers for his car…

These are sold for security purposes, obviously, but many a spouse has used them to monitor their partner’s movements. In addition to showing you where he is at all times, these trackers will take snapshots of all these locations which you are then able to view on your phone or computer.

If you call him late at night and he says that he is at the club with the boys, a GPS car tracker will be able to tell you that he isn’t and his car is indeed parked in a residential area by giving you the car’s location in real time. You can watch these locations on websites like Google Maps on your phone.

Is anyone else feeling oddly uncomfortable with this writer’s level of comfort discussing this shit? This is fucking insane, it’s like ClassicFM, in writing. On the up side, she does offer a warning, of sorts…

Please remember that while most of these gadgets are sold legally, it is the buyer’s responsibility to make sure that the law isn’t broken. The Kenya Information and Communications Act outlaws attempting to, or intercepting a communication message, and stipulates a jail term of up to three years – unless you own the phone or computer or have legal rights over it.

There, however, appears to be a large grey area when it comes to digitally spying on your spouse in relation to the law. This is because these applications used to spy on spouses were created for security, to track stolen phones and devices and to check up on children and teenagers, and the seller isn’t responsible if you opt to use them otherwise.

It is clear that there are limitless ways of catching a cheating partner; how far you are willing to go is a moral issue, which is a different thing altogether.

That was the cover feature this weekend. I rest my case.

The Saturday magazine has gone to hell. And the rest of the paper is not too far behind.

See? I’m an equal opportunity ranter, I dislike all media houses equally. Except the Star, I can’t dislike the Star, that’s like picking on a child.  A child who can’t spell, and likes to plagiarise. A special child…