Wednesday, July 06, 2005

When a Radio-managed Event Turned Intellectual / Political

CITI-FM has done it again!

It has swung another first in the history of Ghanaian broadcasting excellence I say this deliberately to piss off those aficionados of Joy 99.7fm, which I used to be an avid fan of.

Well sort of.

I was never one to pander to populist sentiments, even if I did publicly confess to liking and enjoying Britney Spear’s Britney classic –One More Time”, but Joy99.7FM was a station we listened to if and only if we were in Ghana for a one-month break, and nothing better was on the radio—apart from the sexy-sounding voices of those female presenters on Uniiq FM (95.7 FM). One of the reasons why I enjoyed it back in 2000 so much was because the show was always prefaced with the 1996 “Mission Impossible” theme—which just rocked, I thought.

In any event, sticking a thumb to Joy has never been my game, but I felt it behooved me to praise CITI-FM—for it warts and all.

The object of the praise? It’s first-ever CITI Business Olympics!

Mr. Magnus Opare Asamoah, Dep. Min of Transport presenting an award to one of the winning teams

Can you believe that?

An Olympics for over forty companies, including Ghana Civil Aviation Authority so that they could network. Far be it for me to start acting as the unofficial PRO (Public Relations Officer), but it was to be the summae ultimate, as it were, of the so-called Management month that began at the beginning of the month.

The month?

My God, how time effing flies…!

The issue of CITI Bizness Olympics struck a chord at home among us about how increasingly the station is gearing towards the so-called yuppie route. Mum was so convinced.
I, as per usual, tried to play the devil’s advocate by arguing that it was just trying to cater for the growing middle class (whatever that is) in Ghana.

To tell you the truth, I do so hate the word middle class, but it’s better than upper class, which I am DEFINITELY not. I am neither poor nor rich, so instinctively, I am middle class?

What’s that about, you know?

Dad reckoned that there should be some UN indicator (there probably is) about what makes someone middle class.

I went even further—I checked google the following day, and found the links here and found all these links What I thought best epitomized the middle class was this particular quotation:

The Middle Class (pp. 20-28)

The middle class is in the middle of the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other. The middle class is composed of three broad sections: small business owners; professionals; and managerial and supervisory personnel. As different as the individuals in these occupations can be from one another in the work they do, the income they earn, and the cultural and social life they lead, they share a common position in the social power grid we all live in. In one way or another, middle class people have some of the authority and independence typical of capitalists, but also experience some of the powerlessness, instability, and capitalist discipline more common among working class people.

This juicy quote is just in from

Encyclopedia4U - Middle class - Encyclopedia Article

The middle class (or middle classes) comprises a social group once defined by exception as an intermediate social class between the nobility and working class folk.

Since the working classes constituted the vast majority of the population, the middle classes actually lay near the top of the social pyramid.

Modern political economy considers a large middle class to be a beneficial, stabilizing influence on society, because it has neither the explosive revolutionary tendencies of the lower class, nor the stultifying greedy tendencies of the upper class. /m/middle-class.html (239 words

The family arrived at the conclusion that, to an extent, middle class encapsulates the notion of intellect. But that’s a bit of a specious argument in the sense that what do you about those who earn an income of a particular bracket, YET have little intellect?

Far be it for me to say that Sir Richard Branson is stupid – he is far from it! – but the guy dropped out of high school around sixteen, yet he is, like, what…a big-wig, as it were.

From Virgin Nigeria to Virgin records to other virgin stuff, how can we POSSIBLY consider this guy middle class? He shot up, from sheer luck and persistence, from an average working-class young man to a hot-shot business with his own brand…everywhere;-)

So, yes, that argument about intellect is spurious.

I’d like to hear what YOU think, please.

Anyway, the discussion went on, and we kind of thought to ourselves—ruminating more than anything—who could possibly fit under the middle-class slogan in Ghana.

Things have changed considerably in Ghana, and it was, to a large extent, refreshing to see a middle-class, but in the same vein, it made me feel uncomfortable.

Short of sounding like a major wuss, my credentials are downright middle-class, but that, for me, is more applicable back in the West, where these distinctions are clearer to define.

Here in Ghana, in particular Accra (I have found so far), to most people, you are either a "have" or a "have-not". Since I have a job that pays me a regular salary, I am definitively a "have".

In the West, with the current salary I get, I would be middle class, but most likely, "lower middle class" because of the pay (high here, low up in the West) — till you got to my education. Then you’d think "no, something is not right".

These things are rarely easy, but, for me, it just highlights the point that one cannot go around boxing people into categories.

This is why we also arrived at an example of someone who lives in, say, Dansoman, or La-Paz, which is a very very busy part of Accra where you would typically find more working-class people than anything, yet who owns a car and has a good job, and has built his own house, maybe has a business.

Is he also middle class?

Yes, if the above is anything to go by, because he is part of the capitalist class without being a major capitalist, as in an industrialist: he OWNS a house, and possibly a business. That is SERIOUS collateral.

Finally, I said that CITI-FM has made some bloopers, but, yes, they need to survive—and if the Business Olympics was one way of surviving and making their business sustainable, then very much good luck to them! Besides, no-one ever said that they had to be socially responsible; they have the right to be whimsical, whilst trying to offset the Joy-FM predominance, as well as raise their public profile—and raise they did!

I, for one, am very happy for them.
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