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In Nakuru Star went for satire, but did it inform or set up battle?

By Kodi Bath

Ever watched the 1997 war drama film, G.I. Jane? It’s a fictional story of the first woman to undergo special operations training similar to the U.S. Navy SEALs’ selection programme. Practically every scene is thick with satire, sarcasm and a level of cursing where soldiers particularly never disappoint.

Starring Demi More as Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil and Miggo Montesen as Command Master Chief John James Urgayle, the film demonstrates that the selection programme for U.S. Navy SEALs is designed to break the strongest of men, who are already solders, in under four weeks. Would a woman last a day?

When eight weeks in O’Neil is still at it, the Master Chief suddenly ties her to a chair with her hands behind her back and slams her through a door. Then, picking her up off the floor, he repeatedly dunks her head in ice-cold water, all in front of her male teammates. The sadistic Master Chief means to break her, once and for all.

O’Neil, despite her immobilised arms, retaliates and injures the Master Chief while shouting expletives – referring to a male body organ, which, naturally, she doesn’t have.

The Star captured similar satire last week at a church function in Nakuru.

“Your zip is down, Kinyanjui tells Kihika in church,” the paper headlined a June 26 story by Louse Macharia.

Obviously, The Star wasn’t referring to a zip on Senator Susan Kihika’s blouse or skirt.

The story was about the rivalry between Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui and his perceived major opponent in 2022, Senator Kihika, which played out at a church function attended by Deputy President William Ruto.

Outside the church, the story said, the crowds were shouting Kihika for governor slogans. Kinyanjui wouldn’t have it. He told the congregation that “someone needed to correct politicians who had turned church functions into publicity rallies and tell them that their zips were down.”

And The Star swung the headline: Susan, your zip is down.

That was a cheeky headline, designed to titillate, not inform. But we can understand how editors would not pass this up. Governor Kinyanjui put the words out there. Zip. All editors had to do was twist the knife a little. Find a woman on whom to pin the zip: Senator Kihika, Kinyanjui’s arch-rival.

Picture it. Susan. A woman. Zip down. It was bitter satire. Meant to deliver a stinging, belligerently male chauvinistic message. This is men’s sport.

But The Star’s headline seemed to relish setting up the scene for a battle of wits. It practically teases Kihika to rebut with O’Neil’s cry in the G.I. Jane film.

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