In troubled times such as we are experiencing one would expect that the nation’s media would offer solace and support to people experiencing previously unimaginable stress. Sadly that message doesn’t seem to have got through to Primedia and more particularly to their morning show host, Eusebius McKaiser.
Last week he posted a gloating comment on Twitter which read thus:
Bad news, middle-class fam ha! I just spoke to COGTA on air (podcast following): the cooked food, like Woolies chicken, you have been buying should NOT be sold by these outlets :) Amended regulations today will tighten the wording to make this clear. The podcast follows @Radio702— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) April 16, 2020
You really do have to be a deeply supercilious human being to post a comment like that but McKaiser rarely disappoints in this regard. His particular brand of identity politics didn’t go down well in the Western Cape when his show was broadcast on Cape Talk, and it is not any longer.
Gauteng is not so fortunate and McKaiser uses his 702 microphone to stir up as much discord as possible without actually falling foul of the law. In fairness to him though, it’s not just racial animosity that he promotes, it’s also class animus aimed at the sort of people who arrogantly bought rotisserie chickens from Woolworths.
So let’s look at that tweet and, in the words of McKaiser “unpack it”. It starts with the words “Bad news” but it becomes abundantly clear that McKaiser thinks it’s anything but bad news as he continues with “middle class fam ha!”
This ban on Woolies selling cooked food is going to hit those who McKaiser dislikes most…. the middle class (read: the white middle class). The people who presumably make up (or used to) the majority of the listeners to 702. But it’s not just the middle class, it’s the “fam” bit that’s important because this long overdue ban on selling a pre cooked chicken will upset the entire family and not just Mom and Pop who are too bloody lazy to buy a fresh, free range chicken and cook it themselves.
Serves them bloody well right, reckons McKaiser, which is why he adds “ha!” at the end of that sentence.
Now this could either mean hahaha as in he’s having a nice woke laugh at the idle middle class’s discomfort or that gratuitous “!” might just translate to “gotcha, you rich bastards” in McKaiser’s mind.
The tweet continues with the bit about having just spoken to COGTA on air and I have no doubt that McKaiser couldn’t wait for them to confirm that cooked chicken was a no no.
Hence the shouty capital letters with “the cooked food, like Woolies chicken, you have been buying should NOT be sold by these outlets”. How dare you think that you can circumvent some of the stress of lockdown by buying a ready cooked chicken – NOT ALLOWED.
Then McKaiser adds his final flourish which is a smiley after the word outlets. This has been a red letter day for McKaiser. A countrywide ban on the scourge of rotisserie chickens was enough to put a smile on his face and a spring in his step.
Now the interesting thing is that one must presume that McKaiser or his team of researchers had drawn sufficient data to know that rotisserie chickens from Woolies were the exclusive preserve of the middle classes and that their removal would harm those who most deserve to be harmed in society: tax paying, job creating descendants of land thieves.
While it seems probable that Woollies, as an upmarket store, may well be found in locations which appeal to a demographic that tends not to quibble much about price, all that does is make the banning of the sale of pies and cooked chickens appear as just another act of malice on the part of COGTA.
Our draconian lockdown conditions already forbid you from leaving your home to take any exercise (even if you do socially distance), forbid you from walking your dog, they forbid you from walking on your own communal property if you live in a security estate, they forbid you from buying tobacco or alcohol and now they forbid you from buying a cooked chicken.
Is there evidence that the sale of cooked chicken significantly ups the risk of spreading the coronavirus?
McKaiser’s delight in this new crackdown on a nation already at its wits end completely ignores the needs of many of those courageous enough to carry on working to keep basic services going during lockdown.
I was in my local Woolies a few weeks back before lockdown and a man who was very definitely not white (and if he was middle class he was hiding it well) came to collect five rotisserie chickens he had ordered earlier.
It turned out in conversation with him that he bought these once a week, cut them up and added veggies or a salad before delivering them as an act of charity to those in need in his suburb. That act of charity will have to stop. Who has an oven large enough to roast five chickens?
And what about my own chicken roaster who would get in early in the morning and start preparing the chickens for customers to buy when the doors opened in the morning? She no longer has work but why on earth would McKaiser care about that? He would view her as a “sell-out” no doubt, pandering to the selfish needs of the racist white middle class. At the end of her shift she may well have taken a rotisserie chicken home to feed her family.
If you’re working on the frontline in the health service the hours are long and the work is stressful and dangerous. What you probably don’t need at the end of a long day is the prospect of spending a couple of hours preparing a meal for the family. The obvious solution was a Woolies rotisserie chicken but our wise leaders have decided that’s no longer possible.
Much as I enjoyed the white, middle class convenience of an occasional Woolies rotisserie chicken (no messy pots or oven to clean) I’m quite capable of roasting a chicken if I need to. Let’s face it, I have plenty of time on my hands. For a variety of reasons that’s not the case for many other people and the petty minded removal of this excellent service from a respected and socially responsible retailer will only serve to make many people’s lives even more difficult in the coming weeks.
But if that makes Comrade McKaiser happy then it will all have been worthwhile.