It was a friendly lunch when someone mentioned the ‘Neo’ character in the matrix, the conversation took a unique turn and I said ‘I really didn’t like that movie. Watched all the parts but I slept off for most of it. Just remebered some scenes to be socially correct cos then you couldn’t say you didn’t like the matrix.’
Not too long after that, someone asked about a Nigerian movie on the screen and I said: ‘It’s really old. Watched it in my first year,’ and then one of my friends said ‘I guess you didn’t sleep through this one’ and everybody laughed.
I responded in an irritated tone ‘I didn’t sleep through it because it provided a means to pass time. I slept through the Matrix because it bored me. Surely I have the right to decide the movies that bore ME’ In anger I asked one of them what he really liked about the Matrix and he couldn’t give a clear answer.
The conversation then turned to the many things people do to be socially correct. Like saying The Matrix was one of the most brilliant movies of all time… even though you considered your physics text books more exciting than the movie . You couldn’t say it then for fear of being looked at like someone with a poor intellectual makeup, so you go with the crowd and mention the cliche scenes – ‘the red pill/blue pill’, lady in the red dress, etc..
My friends and I then went into detail about the following things:
“I do not watch Nigerian movies, gosh they’re so mediocre” Somehow, Africa Magic has expanded to ‘Epic’ ‘Urban’ ‘World’ and the various languages. Please who are the people watching these movies? *raising my hand shyly* I do watch African Magic A LOT. With my mum in the house, you have no choice.
The ‘what’s that’ look people give to certain Nigerian foods you know they grew up eating– One of my favorite meals is okpa. I get irritated when friends see me eating my okpa and ask ‘what’s that’ with an eeew look. (Please do not eew my food thank you) The way Nigerians get excited over some foreign dishes especially Japanese food makes me wonder if they really like the food, because my Anambra palate can’t seem to accept some meals.
Alcohol – A friend said she just hates the bitter taste of alcohol but had to pretend for years. Fayrouz in a champagne glass, coke and ice in plastic cups – anything to be socially correct.
Shows you watched as a kid – Noooooooh, you didn’t watch williwilli and ‘ayamatanga‘. It was the Simpsons, Sesame street, Barneys etc only; but then how come when your friend’s hair looks untidy you call her ‘willywilly’ and even go ahead to describe her to anyone who looks confused?
The foneh must gel – whether you’ve lived abroad or never left Nigeria, there’s a certain foneh you need to belong… until someone gets angry and the Isale-Eko or Onitsha-Owerri comes out. Don’t worry, we’ll pretend we didn’t hear.
We all agreed that fitting in, is a basic human need; but in my quiet moments, I asked myself why the upper class seem to hate everything Nigerian. We are too quick to disdain what is obtainable in Nigeria and refer to what happens ‘over there’. We get excited when the West stamps its approval on what we do, and look to them for approval.
We even get excited when Nigerians born abroad (who do not even refer to their ancestry) achieve great feats. Headlines like ‘Nigerian German born 35 year old wins…..’ gets lots of ‘God is good’ ‘so happy for her’ on blogs and then a foreign award is the THING.
There is the legitimate point of the fact that the Western countries are more advanced, hence we have a lot to learn from them; but there is the annoying disdain of ‘Naija’ that is found only among the upper class. The lower class seems to have accepted the ‘Naija street cred’ and are even selling it to the upper class- Hello Olamide, goons mi. Phyno alobam, I see you.
The most painful is what is found among the political class. A western delegate visits Nigeria, the ruling party campaigns this as a proof of good governance, the same applies if Nigerian president gets invited to visit a western leader. A most recent example is APC’s assessment of our dear PMB’s 1 month stay in office.
I do not claim to know why there seems to be a disdain of all things Nigerian among the upper class, but it might be that the country is not a strong brand. We do not really stand for anything, but whatever it is, Nigeria is a beautiful place and I hope one day we can love who and what we really are – flaws and all.
That said, ‘I did not like the Matrix’
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Kadettmann