We elevate those whose only claim to fame is being elevated and so fall for pyramids

When some people realise I am a passenger in their taxi, they start conversing loudly so that everyone can hear their erudite thoughts.

When some people realise I am a passenger in their taxi, they start conversing loudly so that everyone can hear their erudite thoughts.

I suspect that they are auditioning for an appearance in this column. I am not sure if this is true, but there have been a number of times when I have been asked why such and such a topic was not covered in the column.

The answer is that anything profound, funny or new gets a mention.

A little political incorrectness, a new take on cultural pluralism and smug intolerance to the first model C batch is allowed.

Outright insults, vulgar sexual references and tribalism are out. Anyone who hates women and children will be crucified.

We were exchanging stories about our brushes with crime the other day. We topped one horror story with another until the hurtful stings were dulled.

We women like surpassing another's stories to prove that our suffering is greater than that of our neighbours or relatives.

One young man travelling with us said crime was not a problem in itself. It was the way we responded to it. We indignantly asked if he thought we should all carry guns and shoot anyone with a funny face.

He said the problem began at home where parents were secretive about their financial affairs and behaved as though they were as well-off as their neighbours.

When parents finally concede defeat, he said, their children, who are used to being spoilt, cannot cope with the sudden poverty and turn to violent crime or join the ranks of fraudsters.

According to our young man, people will eat bread and jam so they can buy expensive cars and clothes, and their children will visit neighbours at dinner time so as to be invited to supper.

He said we no longer set parameters for our children and we let them worship kwaito stars and other unacceptable models. And parents are just as guilty in the choice of their role models.

He cited an excited, silly bunch of women singing church hymns outside a court for a couple who allegedly defrauded a radio station.

He said there was nothing noble about the couple. The fact that they "had done good" was a myth. It was wrong to have a selective scale of right and wrong simply because we loved or were dazzled by certain celebrities.

I agree with him. South Africans used to suffer from the poppy syndrome in the past. We would snigger and pick morsels of flesh off our fallen heroes.

Today we want our heroes to live in a haze of sleaze in whatever form. We want to be as close as possible to evil as it is the only way to gain our 15 minutes of fame.

We gamble so that our support during the glare of the spotlight will pay off. After all, South Africa has many celebrities who are famous simply for being famous. That is why we fall for pyramid schemes all the time.