On Absurdity

Sir Vidia Naipaul, Nobel prize-winning Trinidadian writer, depicts the Caribbean as a place where no real achievements take place. For Naipaul, the Caribbean is a dumping-ground of civilization, a mixed bag where great cultures drop their baggage. “Nothing good ever came out of the Caribbean,” he once wrote — a great irony, of course, because he is a Caribbean man, a brilliant writer, and he comes complete with the self-loathing that is more Caribbean — and more Bahamian — than we like to admit. Of course he’s wrong. The Caribbean is a small region, but it has produced three Nobel laureates in the space of twenty years.

However, Sir Vidia has a point. It’s not that nothing good came out of the Caribbean. Rather, it’s that Caribbean people — people who live daily with the legacy of slavery — appear to be extremely tolerant of the absurdities of life. We can put up with more idiocy in our daily lives than many other people dream of.


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