michael.benson on Thu, 27 May 1999 21:04:21 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Jamie Shea's Quotable Moments

Yeah, I agree with Markovic and others that Jamie Shea's a real laugh
riot, as Slobodan says, a real Beavis, or is it a Butthead -- or is it
maybe a Meiko and Ryu? (No, belay the last; I wouldn't want to insult
our genuinely funny fartmeisters M&R, who put even stand-up comic Shea
to shame). But still, Jamie Shea really is side-splittingly funny
actually, even more so because (as Markovic so rightly points out),
he's *real.* He really does exist; he's not an animated cartoon or
something like that. It's enough to make one ask oneself (through
tears -- of laughter) things like: My, how *does* the man do it? And:
where does he get his material?

As far as I can remember at this stage (it's hard to remember when
you're laughing so hard) there was a suggestion that we all gleefully
gather together his many and varied laugh-lines in preparation for a
book. The book of course is supposed not only to convey the
devastating humor inherent in the man's act, but also to not fail to
give a good sense of the *hypocracy and subversive intent* hidden,
like a coiled and uncompromising snake, deep within the many jests and
one-liners. So here's my contribution to the proposed book on our
beloved NATO spokesman; it starts only shortly after what Slobodan
quoted, actually, from the May 26th briefing (brace yourselves -- in
fact sit down; this is really funny):   

"It's not often remembered but over 50% of the refugees in Albania and
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are under 18 years of age.
Children, or at least adolescents. 40% are under 14 years of age.
20,000 are under one year old and at least 100,000 babies have been
born since this crisis in March in those refugee camps, without
incubators, without electricity, without medical support, without
water, without a roof over their heads, with absolutely nothing. I
also could tell you that there are 60,000 children under the age of
six in the camps in Albania alone being cared for at the moment by the
International Relief organisations. This is not a few babies, no
matter how precious, this is an entire lost generation. We are dealing
with the Pied Piper of Hamlin here. In other words the government
which has literally taken away from their homes a whole community of
children, enormous numbers, depriving them of their health, causing
great psychological harm, you have seen this in terms of the pictures
that they have painted which have been exposed at Segrabe, depriving
them of their schooling, depriving them of their families in terms of
separation and I think that this again is what we should focus on."

Whew! Didn't I warn you to sit down? Ha ha & also ha...! Ok, 
when you've recovered from that, there's this one -- a side-splitter
if I've ever heard it, from May 23 (but folks, let's not neglect to
remember the hypocracy and the hidden agenda, as I said, buried deep
in these words; I mean, despite the many laughs here):  

(.) "These are Kosovar Albanian men who have been abducted over the
last month from refugee convoys and forcibly incarcerated in a prison
near Kosovska Mitrovica, and it is clear from the appalling physical
shape in which these men have been received by the international
relief organisations that they have been severely mistreated. None of
them, it seems, have been members of the KLA and I note that they were
all handcuffed until shortly before they reached the border. They
apparently, at least while they were being incarcerated in this
prison, were put on a starvation ration of bread and water, forced to
sing Serb nationalist songs and as a reward received broken bones and
heavy beatings and even forced to fight each other with broomsticks,
if the reports of these men, which we have all seen, are true." 

I mean! It's like David Letterman in the early days -- you 
know, when he was still funny! Or am I wrong here? I don't think so! 
Now, how about this Shea gem, from May 19:

"We calculate that there are 580,000 internally displaced persons
inside Kosovo; according to our calculations, about 130,000 Kosovars
who are not yet displaced and hopefully will not be, in other words
people who are still living more or less in their homes; that there
are 804,000 refugees in the neighbouring countries, not just Albania
and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, but also elsewhere, in
Bosnia, in Montenegro and in the region in general; and there are now
170,000 elsewhere in the world from that particular crisis. Now if you
add all of these up it comes to about 1.6 million, all of the figures
together. And this is interesting because 1.6 million of a total
population before the crisis of 1.9 million, people displaced as a
result of President Milosevic's policies. This is the population of
Namibia. It is more than the population of Brussels."

Namibia! Brussels! It's just incredible; the man really knows how to
sustain, sustain, sustain -- and then roll out the punch line, pow!
*Whew* -- I have to stop now; it's just too much -- too funny, and yet
somehow also sad; a compound which itself truly defines the genius
comics of our time. You know, the great ones, the immortals, masters
like Lennie Bruce, or Jamie Shea; people who definately found a
singular voice, and then knew what to do with it. 

"Much truth", they say, "is said in jest." Well, I guess we'll make a
lot of money from our book. I guess we'll be chuckling all the way to
the bank.

Michael Benson  <michael.benson@pristop.si>

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