Makmende amerudi!

I said I’d be coming back to this; you were a fool to doubt me. The song I’m eventually going to get to was responsible for introducing me to the previously featured video by the same band, but has a great backstory itself.

“Go ahead; make my day,” was a meme before the term had even been adopted, and before the intersnarl existed, courtesy of Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry Callahan in the movie Sudden Impact. When it became popular in Kenya, however, “make my day” was mistranslated as “mek ma nday,” which to the best of my knowledge doesn’t have a direct linguistic meaning in any language. This phrase, now run together into “Makmende,” become absorbed into Swahili slang as an abstract character name, a sarcastic way to refer to anyone who believed themselves to be a badass (which actually puts it a step above the “Chuck Norris” meme because it actively spoofs the idea.)

Enter Just A Band, which personified the character in the video for their song “Ha-He” and brought it to international attention:

“Makemende amerudi” means, “Makmende returns” of course. I approve of the efforts they went through to reproduce the American blaxploitation films of the 1970s so well, up to and including the washed-out color and the fashions – the afro pick worn by Wrong Number (the first bad guy) is fantastic. For anyone that doesn’t know what one is, they’re a comb especially to fluff out and shape an afro, and really were just carried in the afro by some, though the fashion faded in the States by 1990. If I’d had the hair for it I would have done it myself.

I’m obligated to mention that the subtitled dialogue always makes me giggle – it’s like reading the descriptions on eBay items from China…

The whole Makmende thing brings back memories of a nearly-forgotten era (okay, it was actually more recent than the movies I’ve just named,) when I was a Dungeons & Dragons player. One of our group, a youth with more than his fair share of creative role-laying ability, portrayed a typical barbarian character, minimal intellect wrapped in ridiculous strength and gratuitous violence, an adherent of Ximal (the God of Needless Slaying, but you already knew that.) Between sessions, he would occasionally regale us in barbarian pidgin with his tales of anachronistic adventures in pop culture:

“Ugly guy come up to me with funny-looking metal thing in hand, think he tough! Said, ‘Make… my… day…'” A look of gruesome delight came across the storyteller’s face at the recollection. “Me did – me kill him! Me crush his skull, like this: krrrchh! Then me take funny-looking metal thing, and shove it up him butthole.”

He paused to frown in mild confusion. “Strange sound happen…”

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