Peter Wilhelm on Ponzi schemes and Rhodes | Fin24

Peter Wilhelm on Ponzi schemes and Rhodes

Apr 07 2015 14:51

There’s quite a lot being written about Ponzi schemes at the moment. And the Cecil John Rhodes statue controversy at the University of Cape Town. So why wouldn’t we expect the thinking person’s satirist Peter Wilhelm to share his views on the subjects? The result is sheer brilliance. And if you dare to disagree, I’ll sue you! – Alec Hogg 

By Peter Wilhelm

In my ceaseless quest to discover more about Ponzi Schemes – and how to worm my way in – I have been smartly guided by BizNews. Unleash an investigative journalist on the exfoliated skins of an onion-like contrivance involving 15-second tidal flows of cash, and you will soon find out.

If you discover that your pension has been expatriated to Palmerston Atoll in the South Pacific — population 30, devoted to turtle studies – and will never return, start worrying. If the sole local bank, First Cowrie, is the front of a front of a front – worry more.

So just because you gave, say, R20, to a smiling, tattooed desperado with a criminal record on the promise of a 150% return within two weeks, you have as much chance of rescue as the critically endangered condom population of the Liesbeek River.

As you possibly don’t know, my long-stagnant neighbour Gatvol van der Pomp lives in a vast sewer with tentacles in every crooked dumpling. His daughter Siouxie is currently engaged in a sex change – sorry, gender reassignment – so that she can join the Stormers. On the carpet of decaying fungi comprising his front lawn, he gleefully pointed her out to me: a boulder-shaped ball of wiry fuzz repeatedly banging one end of itself against a prefab wall.

“But it’s Ponzi you want to talk to,” he ejaculated, and summoned his loathsome clone (“Ponzi” is an honorific among male Van der Pomps) from his padlocked dungeon (when he saw Fifty Shades of Grey the women in the audience had him violently removed for spanking them with party balloons knotted into pink poodles). He then attempted to sneak into a kiddies’ film but his resemblance to Bob Hewitt precluded that.

Peter Wilhelm – the discerning reader’s ultimate satirist targets Ponzi schemes and Rhodes

I put it to Ponzi: “Every lavatory roll runs out. If you – on Palmerston Atoll – or here with your office in a landfill, are at the end of the roll, what do you do about the spawning currents of lenders demanding their money back?”

He grinned, exposing his crocodile-teeth implants. “You tell them it will be dealt with by the next spurious front, which you can make up on the spot. Or you tell them you’ll hack their computers and publicly post all their filthy little secrets. Or sue.

“Or – as a last resort – you break their knees with a used Protea cricket bat. Then you leave by helicopter to a cruise liner with gallons and gallons of Chivas, jacuzzis, and the teens who aren’t in Cinderella.”

He puffed himself up like blaasoppie and boasted: “I learnt my business model from our great leaders Jake Zooma and Squirrel Ramaphosa. These giants have made it their social commitment to tell freeborns they don’t have to work; but that they should get the finest education in the universe in case Cecil Rhodes returns from the grave and enlists them in the ranks of the undead. Go and speak to one to register their prodigious IQs.”

So I did. I pretended to be a homeless bum – at which I am well practised – and queried a tough young dude with a “Free Mandela” T-shirt: “Excuse me, sir, but why are you smearing faeces over that statue?”

Perhaps he assumed I worked for the SABC for he instantly responded: “This education forces us to reject these narratives and their normative nature because they reinforce our displacement both geographically and existentially.

“We have begun to question the entire neo-colonial situation, whether SA belongs to all those who live in it and whether it is us the people that are occupying this building or whether we are realising the fact it and its land always belonged to the people.”

I certainly could never have put it like that unless I had spent several decades labouring on my thesis on Madonna’s nipple caps in terms of Lacanian post-structuralist contextualisation of patriarchal hegemony. I slunk away abashed that I had even believed that the abrupt exit of Zayn Malik from the boy-band One Direction had been the true shock of the week to this generation.

It smote me then how ignoble and facile I had been in my meanderings to discover the inner meaning of that simple word, “Ponzi”, and why we all appeared so susceptible to its inner incentive-driven force.

A hasty scan of my hamster-driven computer took me to this astute summary by the World Bank of the direction of all us Afro-Ponzis: “Countries in the region are emerging as key players on issues of global concern, and the Bank’s role has been to support their efforts by partnering through innovative platforms for an enlightened dialogue and action on the ground, as well as by supporting South–South cooperation.”

So there. World economists, my smelly neighbours, the person in the street – all are agreed that incomprehensibility is the starting point of wisdom.

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uct  |  biznews  |  ponzi scheme


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