You have been blogging for a while, unburdening yourself of the stream of consciousness juvenilia and, in the process, even picking up a lot of Twitter detritus. But you are ambitious. Not enough this, you say. “I must make it big, play with the big dogs, learning how to bite like them.” I gotta write for a newspaper, op-ed pages no less!
You look around. There’s The Qaum. Too right of centre and all the way to the right. Doesn’t go with the right kinda crowd on Twitter. Who wants to wear shaloos when everyone is wearing that cross between chooridaars and tights, regardless of the size of their behinds?
The national War Gazette’s English-language paper then? Those guys even print grammar-free non-articles and much else whose sex can’t be determined. Possible, but let’s check out the others first.
The Yawn? Jeez! Puts me to sleep. No white space, no colour, nothing racy. Staid, old, balding, pot-bellied. So terribly 50s, 60s or take-your-pickties.
The Express-Freely Tribune (EFT)? The new kid on the block making waves, printing everyone from that obnoxious ISPR-ISI-CIA-RAW-Mossad-DPC agent EH to the respectable, politically correct libs, Pak-style. They are a free for all maila, the EFT-wallahs, even getting the injuns to comment freely. But most of all they are the Twitteratis’ heartthrobs, trending there constantly. Just the kinda paper for the impending blogger-to-become-op-ed-disaster.
Next step, crucial for product positioning, is to select the right topics, issues that get 400 tweets and 2k likes on Facebook and establish you as the best thing that has happened this side of the Gospels. Here’s a guide.
Write about the Deep State. What? You don’t know what Deep State is? What a loser. Deep State is a state within a state. It lies deep, buried under layers of deception. Only a few of the insightful can see it and are privy to its shenanigans. But do not despair. You don’t have to know what it is. The EFT readers get it when they see the phrase Deep State. Just use your conclusion about Deep State as your unstated premise and screw the rest. The phrase has its own 100-tweets-and-500-FB-Likes rating even if you don’t say much else. Simply put, in Pakistan, if you haven’t had a good crap for days, blame it on the Deep State. No, it’s not the Orwellian Big Brother. It’s very Pakistani and there’s nothing literary about it.
Next, but most important and allied with the Deep-State positioning, is your approach to the Pakistan-damned-need-to-be-defenestrated-army. This is an army, just in case you didn’t know this, which Voltaire predicted about. You don’t have to know who the sucker was and when and where he lived. Just remember the name for devil’s sake. You also don’t need to know his contributions to history, philosophy, prose, poetry etcetera (the Twitterati are not interested). You just need to know what he said about an army with a state rather than the other way round. No, he didn’t say it for Prussia. He said it about the Pakistani military. Now stick to this 101 if you don’t want to spoil your chances with the EFT readership.
Voltaire and Pakistan Army done, you need to move to democracy. The PPP-led coalition, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman when he is in (not when he is out), is the beacon of democracy, the CJP can take a hike. (Nota Bene: don’t write in favour of Babar Awan or against Chaudhry Aitzaz — remember the former is out and the latter in, thank you.) Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan et al are people trying to derail democracy. Good governance is the Matrix they have created, having popped some bloody pill that is neither here nor there. Remember, if you wanna make it big you gotta be in favour with the 140 characters in Pakistan who are the elite and controllers of 140-characters (no, we aren’t talking about Character, you medieval loser) and they watch over everything you write. You screw up the basics and you are screwed. Remember: Democracy is the PPP and whoever might be with the PPP at a particular point in time. All others are spoilers.
DO NOT praise Pakistan’s nuclear capability. That is a big, bloody no. Pakistan doesn’t need ‘em bloody nukes when they are irrelevant to the internal security threat. Lose the pistol you have kept for self-defence because it is useless against dengue mosquitoes. DO NOT argue if you want to make it big. Thank you for shutting up.
What? You want to write about the funding for the Social Media conferences and sundry festivals? Are you crazy? Here’s a better idea. Say this: what about the Pakistan Army? Don’t they get their funding from the US and the UK? I can see you nodding in agreement. You are finally getting it right.
Loadshedding? What loadshedding? If Nawaz Sharif hadn’t screwed with BB’s IPPs there would have been no loadshedding. Put it in a perspective, mate.
Balochistan? What about it? You want to get a perspective on Balochistan? Don’t talk to those liars in the military and FC? Let me give you the low-down on Balochistan. It should be the Independent Republic of Balochistan. All the Punjabis should be kicked out. It goes without saying that so should be the Pakistani military and FC. Only the Baloch are being killed; all other killings are kosher and retaliatory. What? Iran? Listen, don’t say anything about Iran walking in. What Pashtun? There are no Pashtun. Why do you think it’s called Balochistan? It’s about the Baloch. Independent Balochistan is what you must talk about.
On the sidelines you can write about gay and lesbian rights, why Shakil Afridi hasn’t been awarded a Nishan-e-Haider, pulling back from Siachen unilaterally, why you like Sudoku, jamans, kite-flying, Sex and the City, living without servants and, of course, the fact that Pakistan is about to fail and must. If it fails the world will be readmitted to the Garden of Eden. If you get all of this right, you are set to make it big! Cheers.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.