His name was Keiran and He was a King

If you’re any kind of newspaper or theatre enthusiast, you would have heard that Keiran King (of Mr. and Mrs. Black and Taboo acclaim) has been writing weekly columns for The Gleaner since earlier this year. If you aren’t, I can’t imagine what you’re doing here but thank you for stopping by anyway.

Image not my own.

True to form (I really have no idea what Keiran’s form is), he started with a bang, dropping a piece criticizing Jamaica’s Tessanne-mania during the heights of The Voice and proving once again that no publicity is bad publicity. Hundreds of comments alternately lambasted and defended his point-of-view, most of them missing the point. But Keiran didn’t stop there.

He continued to stir the pot with his talk of sex, religion and politics at the dinner table. He pontificated on the importance of the Vybz Kartel trial and declaimed the Bible as a messy history book. Sensationalism at its best. He got tongue-in-cheek, telling couples not to have kids, and serious when he explored the basis of Jamaica’s economic pothole crater.

Image not my own.

He eventually explained (in a roundabout way) the method behind his madness as he tries to be the catalyst for the change that Jamaica so desperately needs. At this point I had a lightbulb moment.

Criticism, paradoxical as it may seem, is a deep form of affection. Would you rather nine friends who always say you look great, or one who tells you to ditch the flats, swap the earrings and, wrinkling her nose, reminds you to brush your teeth?

Keiran’s articles are well-written and witty, full of hyperbole and entertaining analogies and usually backed up by some obscure fact or the other. But they always carry me up on the heights of intellectual curiosity only to drop me abruptly as he reaches the word limit. He does it so fast that I’m left with my head spinning. The topics he broaches are too big, too broad to be handled well by a paltry one-week column (unless, of course, you’re Ian Boyne).

Perhaps his purpose is simply to tease the mind into an awareness of critical issues, to be the spark and not the flame. His self-proclaimed purpose is for his column to be: 

a breeding ground for larval ideas, not just the ones I put forth, but the thousands more that spring up in responses and conversations around the country.

It’s an admirable goal, Mr. King, and one can only hope it actually pans out.