Category: Letters

Breaking news!

Right, then.

Thanks to the Sunday Tribune’s decision to axe my weekly Durban Poison column – a move right up there with Decca Records’ decision not to sign The Beatles in ’62 – I have spent the last couple of weeks gathering my thought and getting my duck in a row. I have only one thought and one duck, both of which involve finding something to keep me from drifting off the freeway and down the boulevard of broken dreams.

When I posted my farewell column, many of you were outraged and threatened to cancel your subscriptions to the Tribune, destroy Independent Media and make the country ungovernable. I was deeply touched by your messages of support and even offered to read some of them to my landlord in lieu of rent. He said he’d prefer money.

Craig was one of the first to suggest a viable alternative. “Simple solution,” he wrote. “A site all of us who appreciate Ben’s work can subscribe to. He has a huge following and rightly so. I suggest a stipend a month to read his incredible wit. Whatever you think it is worth. Cheaper than the paper and it is the only thing in it worth reading. Will keep him in beer and all of us highly entertained. I hope everyone is in.”

I thought he’d be shouted down by the anarchists and the tightwads, but the idea proved more popular than I expected.

Mark said he’d “happily pay a couple of bob, maybe even a pickled egg as well”. Anthea offered a case of beer a month. Dan said “We’ll pay” and Dave said he’d be happy to “sign up to some funny shit weekly”. Jennifer said she’d pay to get her “weekly chortle/eye roll/guffaw fix” while Penny, Sandy, Pamela and Sherry all said they’d be delighted to subscribe to my online posts. Penny also said she couldn’t live without my column, so we do need to keep her wellbeing in mind.

Matthew said he’d pay to read my stuff and he’s a lawyer. It’s almost unheard of for a lawyer to offer to pay for anything. Rigid (possibly drunk) said, “You’re one of my favourite thinkers. I’d pay to read your columns. Not what they’re worth, of course, but I’d pay. Let me know how.”

So now I’m letting you know how.

You will soon notice that my blog looks different. That’s because it has grown up, left home and become a website. I started my blog in 2011 and began using it as a kind of retirement home for my writing. During that time, it has attracted 50 000 followers. That’s more than even Jesus scored in his first seven years. He has overtaken me since then, obviously.

My 657 posts have been viewed a staggering 943 500 times. I say staggering because that’s the condition I was in after writing most of them.

In the past year, my blog has been visited by people from every country in the world apart from Central African Republic, South Sudan, Western Sahara, Iran, Turkmenistan, Greenland, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and North Korea.

When I told my friend Ted that I have readers in 186 countries, he projectile snorted beer through his nose with such force that a hadeda in the neighbour’s tree was knocked from its perch. WordPress fortunately provides very detailed statistics and he was forced to withdraw his claim that my relationship with the truth made Donald Trump look honest.

In what appeared to be an attempt to make amends, he said, “You should capitalise on your brand and monetise your content.” I thought he’d had a stroke because none of that made any sense to me so I slapped him hard across the head, which is apparently what you need to do if you suspect someone is having a brain attack.

After calming down, he used simple words and diagrams to explain. I have to admit that it made sense, although I did warn him to never again call me a brand. “I am a man!” I cried, rising to my knees and attempting to strike a noble pose.

Let’s not get sidetracked.

Editors haven’t exactly been beating a path to my inbox since the Tribune released me back into the wild. In some ways, I am relieved that I haven’t been sucked right back into meeting brutal deadlines and complying with the plethora of draconian editorial restrictions that come with writing for a mainstream newspaper.

On the website you’ll find a PayFast button. Or something like that. I appreciate that not everyone will be in a position to contribute and that’s fine. But if you are, that’s even more fine. You will also be able to buy books and posters and other contraband.

You, the people, are now my new employers. Congratulations!

PS. I’m taking you all with me to my new home and you should get redirected to the new site. But if you’re not, please make a note of my new address – https://bentrovato.co.za – and subscribe to the site.

It’s not active just yet but it should be up and running first thing Monday morning. Unless my web guy has a nervous breakdown.

Here it is again – https://bentrovato.co.za

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An open letter to Donald Trump

Hey Donald!

Or should I call you President Trump? It certainly has a magnificent ring to it. Magnificent, obviously, in the way that a tornado heading for a redneck trailer park in, say, Texas, is magnificent. On second thoughts, president is not a powerful enough designation for a man of your caliber. In the parlance you’re comfortable with, president is a pussy word. A lot of terrible people have been and still are presidents. Nixon, Mugabe, that North Korean lunatic, Caligula, Zuma. The list is endless.

When you win the elections, your first executive action must be to declare martial law. Impose curfews. Roll out the tanks. And forget about the White House. That’s for gay liberals like George W Bush. You need to move into the Pentagon and get fitted with a uniform made of Kevlar and lion skins. Maybe get a bandolier of solid gold bullets to string across your chest. Since you’ve never been to war, you’ll have to make some medals of your own. The centrepiece could be an Iron Cross studded with rubies. Your new title could be something like Field Marshal or, even better, Führer. You will also need to declare yourself President for Life. The sooner the proletariat know where they stand the better it will be for you. In fact, don’t let them stand at all. That just encourages the swine. Keep them on their knees.

Like you, I, too, am something of a racist, sexist, homophobic misogynist. You’re a professional, though. I simply dabble. This is why you’re going to be the most powerful man in the world while I remain the most powerful man in my house. I live alone. Hopefully that will change once you bring me on board as your chief advisor.

One of the reasons I want to work for you is because you’re not an intellectual. You tweet while others read. You talk first and think later, if at all. Thinking is heavily overrated. Winners like you act purely on animal instinct. The only point of having an opposable thumb is to help you sign cheques and death warrants. And pull triggers.

Speaking of which, how are the boys? The last time I saw a picture of Donald Jr and Eric, the naughty little scamps were holding up bits they’d hacked off wild animals while hunting in my country. Does Eric still have the elephant tail? I bet he uses it to whip his boyfriend’s ass when they’re home alone. Fair play to him.

I would vote for you in a heartbeat because you are so full of brilliant ideas, among other things. Your notion that America should ban all Muslims was a stroke of genius. Are you really a genius or did you just have a stroke? I apologise. This is not the time for jokes. Not that there ever really is a time for jokes. Jokes are for losers.

I also applaud your stance on climate change. If the climate has a problem, then the climate must change, not us. We were here first, right? That’s the problem with the environment. It’s always doing something dramatic to get our attention. Worse than a needy child. When you’re in charge, I hope you punish it with loads of pollution.

Well done on winning New Hampshire, by the way. What was second prize? Vermont? In South Africa, we can’t be trusted to nominate a presidential candidate of our choice. This is done for us by others. We’re not entirely sure who they are. Some say they are extraterrestrials similar to the giant prawns in the nature documentary District 9, only less articulate.

You have much in common with our president. Well, just the one thing, really. You both lack any sense of shame. I think that’s because you both have a background in reality television, except Jacob Zuma who has no grasp on reality and doesn’t watch television. Not the news, anyway.

Big Don, you have this one in the bag. Your nearest rival in the Democratic camp is Hillary Clinton. As you know, she has strong and weak points. Her strong point is that she’s a woman. This is also her weak point. You have nothing to worry about there. Nor do you have to worry about Rubio and Cruz. Goddamn immigrants. Them rummed-up Cubans are worse than them mommy-jabbing Mexicans, I tell ya. Once you’re done bombing the shit out of ISIS, bomb the shit out of Cuba. Then turn it into a giant theme park. Like Disneyland but without all those homo cartoon characters. And have guns. Lots of guns.

Also, you need to replace your Supreme Court judges with the people who run your casinos. Justice is a gamble and you’re a five-card stud. With the law in your pocket, nothing can stop you. Scrap the states and make it one big America. Rework the pledge of allegiance. Replace the word “God” with “Donald Trump The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived”. And take out that nonsense about liberty for all. It just confuses people.

How was your Valentine’s Day, by the way? Did you give your daughter something special? I bet you did, you old rogue, you. Well done. The family that sleeps together stays together.

Looking forward to seeing you set some serious snares on the ol’ campaign trail. That ancient commie bastard Bernie Sanders is bound to stumble into one sooner or later.

And good luck for South Carolina. My advice is not to bother going after the darkie vote. They probably haven’t forgotten that slavery business even though god knows they’ve had long enough to get over it. No matter. The Evangelical Protestants are gonna lap you up. Sorry. That sounds a bit faggoty. You know what I mean.

Anyway. I’m your biggest fan. Can I have a million dollars?

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To Cde Blade Nzimande – Minister of Higher Education 

Here’s a letter I wrote to old pineapple face in 2009.

 

Dear Comrade Blade,

How dare these scoundrels accuse you of betraying the revolution simply because you ordered a car worth R1.1-million? This is peanuts when you compare it to other cars. That Swazi chap Mswati owns a Maybach that cost R3-million, which probably explains why you only ever see him in animal skins.

Even the Russians travel to the International Space Station in a vehicle worth $1.7-billion. That’s excluding petrol. Your fuel bill is probably higher than theirs, what with having to visit all the universities around Sandton every second month.

You need a powerful, reliable car because education is a dangerous business. Far more dangerous than defence. And while the defence minister is a lot better-looking than you are, it is you who controls the future of this great country.

Karl Marx said religion is the opium of the masses and Pablo Escobar said opium is the opium of the masses. Both men were right. As are you. There are those who would like to cause you harm and see you fail in your job. I don’t know who these people are or what their agenda is, but they are out there.

I have no idea if you are a communist or a socialist. Truth is, I lack the education to tell the difference. But you strike me as a decent and honourable man. A bit scary, certainly, but that goes with the ideology. If I had to bump into you on a moonless night in an isolated area near a deserted truck stop in the middle of nowhere, I would scream like a girl and run away. Perhaps that’s just a white thing.

The BMW 750i is a damn fine vehicle. It can outrun anything the police own, which is an important consideration if you have inveigled your way into a political system with the intention of subverting it from within. You are snuggling up to a nest of vipers and it is vital that you are able to get away quickly when they strike. And strike, they will.

To be honest, I am impressed that you chose a car. If I were you, I would have demanded a Rooivalk attack helicopter. Communism needs to spread quickly and effectively, like tuberculosis, and once in the air you could fire at convoys carrying plutocrats like Pravin Gordhan and all the others who make you look bad by driving around in second-hand Volkswagen Beetles bought off the Internet.

For a long time Gordhan went out of his way to make me look bad, too. Dear God, how many audits must an honest man go through before he turns bad?

I am very disappointed in Cosatu. They are meant to be comrades, people who know the difference between Das Kapital and Mein Kampf, and yet until just the other day they were howling for you to dump your chariot of the gods.

Patrick Craven, Cosatu’s pet goat, said you and other admirers of German technology should set an example to the struggling masses by driving what he called a “modest car”. What a thing to say. Does he not know that cars are like women? What man would choose a modest woman if he could have one coated in silver and gold who goes from naught to 100 in five seconds flat without even asking for a blood test?

The pet goat said you gave the impression that you “do not care about the message this opulence gives to the poor”. Message? Please. If the poor want messages they can go to the post office like the rest of us. The goat also said, “Spending so much money on vehicles is a slap in the face of the unemployed …”

What rubbish. I know unemployed people who are more than grateful to get a slap in the face. I asked one just the other day why he allowed me to slap him, and he said, “It’s better than nothing, comrade.” I had to slap him again for calling me comrade. I am not a comrade. I am an anarcho-syndicalist with Bolshevik leanings and a penchant for women’s underwear.

Interesting how, in just a few days, the idiot savant Julius Malema went from calling you an elitist Tassenberg junkie to defending your right to buy a BMW. Coming to his senses, he quoted the ministerial handjob – I beg your pardon – the ministerial handbook which entitles you to purchase a vehicle to the value of the GDP of Lesotho.

And don’t worry about what the Democratic Alliance says. Those hippies are still riding skateboards.

Your man in the back seat,

Ben Trovato

Trike-protest

An open letter to Walter “Fuck Cecil” Palmer

Dear Walter,

On behalf of specieists everywhere, I would like to congratulate you for taking down Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe the other day. What kind of name is Cecil, anyway? For that alone he deserved to die. Besides, he was getting way too big for his paws. Apparently he strutted about as if he owned the bush, posing for tourists and even letting children ride on his back. Thank god we have men like you to remind lions of their place – on your study wall.

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Elephant huggers keep referring to Cecil as a “much-loved lion”. This is ridiculous. You can’t love a lion. It says so in the Bible. Next thing you know, people will want to marry lions and have their babies and the world will be overrun with lion-people clawing at each other and fornicating out in the open.

I understand you were hunting with a bow and arrow. Well done. It’s my favourite weapon, too. Do you also live in a cave and wear skins? Do you club your wife over the head and drag her to your bed at night? Of course you do. You are, after all, a fine example of early Paleolithic man.

I see you chose a profession that involves hurting people. Of course you’d be a hunter in your spare time. You spend your days up to your elbows in blood and spittle, patients fighting you off, grabbing you by the throat, kicking you in the nuts. I would also want to kill things if I was a dentist. Things that don’t fight back, obviously.

Reports say you and your guides lured Cecil out of the Hwange National Park by strapping a dead animal to your vehicle. You should have just opened the back door. Cecil would have jumped right in and gone along for the ride. You could have turned around and shot him in the face, saving everyone a lot of time and effort.

Instead, you fired an arrow into Cecil and then spent the next two days looking for him. I’m surprised you didn’t find him sooner. He was, after all, wearing a GPS collar. Perhaps you thought all teenage African lions were wearing funky collars this year.

I hope you offered Cecil a blindfold before executing him. That would have been the Christian thing to do. Obviously you couldn’t offer him a final meal because he’d obviously choose you. But you would, I’m sure, at least have waited until he was dead before skinning him and chopping his head off.

You should mount his head on the wall of your dental practice in Minnesota. That would impress your lady patients and send a message to the guys that you are not a man to be trifled with. If anyone complains, lure them into the parking lot and shoot them full of novocaine. What you do with them after that is your business.

You have quite a record, my man. Apart from all the beasts you have slaughtered, you also landed a hefty fine in 2008 for lying to a federal agent about where you shot a black bear in Wisconsin. I bet you found him drunk and passed out behind a Walmart and couldn’t resist shooting him in the back just for fun.

A couple of years before the bear, you forked out a massive amount to one of your receptionists after she accused you of sexual harassment. What the hell is wrong with your country? Lying to the police, killing animals and fondling the staff are some of the things that make America great. They should have given you a goddamn Congressional Medal of Honour.

Anyway, Walter, old buddy. I’m off to murder an elephant for lunch. I generally use an RPG-7 rocket launcher. The explosion is quite spectacular and the animal hardly ever suffers. You should try it some time.

Murderously yours,

Brigadier Benjamin Bravado

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Psst! Wanna book?

Not many people know that I have written twelve books. I imagine even fewer care. Be that as it may. The fact remains that I have, without even really trying, built up what writers and publishers refer to as a ‘backlist’ and what writers’ wives call ‘those bloody boxes at the back of the garage’.

Some of you might even own one or two of my books. Now you have no excuse not to own all of them.

I am doing this is a public service and not because I have been told to clean out the garage.

Books will not be sent via the Post Office, unless you specifically want them in time for Christmas 2015.

Here, then, are the Dirty Dozen listed in order of their year of release. Point and click.

Thank you.

Ben Trovato

Ben Trovato Files

WTRBTPSU

Stirred not Shaken

Guide to Everything

Golf

Art of Survival

Hits and Missives

On the Run

Still on the run-2

Whipping Boy 2

Incognito

Hearts and mines