MUDWATA, still defiantly profane and homophobic, is back, daring the authorities to find him and ridiculing their arrest of Keron Bruce. It is not certain whether MUDWATA is a comedian, a campaigner against evil, or a vulgarian seeking to appeal only to the prurient. Some will argue that his profanity and homophobia disqualify him from aspiring to legitimacy. But I rather suspect that he doesn’t care and the people who tune in to YouTube who find him funny, notwithstanding his deterioration in quality since he has been publishing on YouTube. It may that his undoubted talent is not enough to sustain any greater ambitions.
The vast majority of Guyanese do not have access to social media to be able to experience the MUDWATA product. It is among the influential to whom MUDWATA is available that the opponents of profanity and homophobia lurk, hence the ease with which the police, the Crime Chief himself, is invoked for a cuss case, in between investigating a $20 million armed robbery in Berbice. I must confess that MUDWATA’s profanity is hard to take, but he has not been accused of a crime involving violence or dishonesty and there was no justification for arresting Bruce on a Friday when we all know that the intention of a Friday arrest is to lock up the arrested person for the weekend.
The creator of MUDWATA is obviously a person of ability. The original name, his innovative use of social media, the caricature, colloquial diction and distinctly disguised voice, point to a unique talent. His early choice of subject, politicians, was a stroke of genius. That is a well that can never run dry. But there are dangers in ridiculing politicians in a society where public figures are notoriously thin-skinned. But MUDWATA’s worst mistake was to go after the people who even politicians fear – journalists.
MUDWATA’s degeneration into dirty jokes, off colour stories and personal confrontations, expose a talent in choice of material as modest as his creation is brilliant, combined with the same thin skin of his subjects – politicians and journalists. A mere few of the dirty jokes and off colour stories recently aired by MUDWATA would not be out of place as stand-up comedy in the US, although abuse of homosexuals would not be tolerated. If comedians such as Dave Chapelle, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and the late George Carlin, just to name a few that come to mind, were to appear in Guyana, they would make MUDWATA’s attempt at dirty jokes look like that of a toddler.
Unfortunately for MUDWATA he is operating in a very small, lewd, but socially conservative, society, with no comedic history of note, a society not particularly attuned to acceptance of LGBTQ+, not intolerant of jokes against that community, and is starved of a lighthearted turn, since the times of Henry Rodney, or the late politician, yes, politician, Boysie Ramkarran, who could humoursly objectify Burnham in the latter’s autocratic heyday, while still in Parliament, eliciting laughter from PPP MPs, and a modest smile from PNC MPs, which was as far as they would dare to go, only of Burnham was amused. With a talented team of writers MUDWATA, could set Guyana on comedic fire, starting with the current crop of dull politicians, full of anger and affected self-importance. Unfortunately, MUDWATA, went personal and vulgar with journalists – something that a serious US comedian would do only with caution.
Unless MUDWATA can transition from attacking homosexuals, crass vulgarity, airing the photographs of women alleging then to be prostitutes, or stories of public blackmail for money for services allegedly, but not actually, provided, (although I found the latter to be hilarious) to more innovate and challenging material, I am afraid that he would burn out. His material will become dull, boring and repetitive. Who cares if it is the Guyanese Critic that sought to expose the man behind the MUDWATA? The threats against Critic as the suspected snitch were petty and vindictive. MUDWATA should elevate himself and answer to Critic should have been a challenge to surpass him in viewership. Currently, he is far behind.
MUDWATA has cleverly confined his publication to YouTube. He was probably advised by some clever lawyer that while a Facebook publication may attract liability under the Cybercrime Act, it would not under YouTube. I have no idea whether that is so. The police would be likely to seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, as if Ms. Ali-Hack has nothing better to do. It would be interesting to see the outcome. Even if Keron Bruce is charged and found to be guilty, I doubt that it is going to stop MUDWATA. Once social media exists, the MUDWATAs of this world are here to stay. And the recent publicity has boosted his ego. His freedom of speech must be defended, but not his homophobia or his right to abuse and vilify anyone. Even trench crappo could still have been in the ring, had the term not received attribution. And even Politics 101, having delivered lessons on the ethnicization of black pudding, is still teaching. To survive, MUDWATA must let us have his wisdom on these and similar matters.