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How to conduct a t-war like Chester Missing

Chester Missing has had a busy year. The well-known puppet, created by comedian and ventriloquist Conrad Koch, has been accused of racism and of using blackface, got himself in hot water with Helen Zille and braved a court battle against SA’s racist-at-large, Steve Hofmeyr.

Koch has positioned himself as an anti-racist through Missing, and though the comedian has explained in detail the thought-process behind his work, it hasn’t detracted from the controversy of his act.

But being the black puppet of a white man is bound to raise eyebrows, and Missing/Koch have had to deal with a great deal of criticism.

Being accused of being a racist when your work is based on condemning racism has got to be tough, and Missing has become adept at the art of the t-war, something for which (shame) he’s also been criticised.

So if you ever want to fight your own t-war and are looking for pointers, why not take a leaf out of this t-war veteran’s playbook.

1. The people must know you are educated
When faced with criticism from MTV veejay Sizwe Dhlomo, Missing used his masters degree in anthropology to substantiate his arguments. Despite using his work to cut through stereotypes, Missing might’ve used stereotypes to characterise the music presenter as being dumb.

2. Do not go gently
When angry, he answers critics by hitting the caps lock and getting shouty. At least, in the digital universe, Koch and his puppet are guaranteed to say it, not spray it.

3. Show off
If all else fails, the puppet isn’t above a bit of name-dropping to help maintain his cred.

4. Get the facts straight
Chester Missing is probably the smartest puppet around. He knows his stuff, and not even Helen Zille can deal. (See above re: educated.)

5. Name thy enemy
The word “prick” is one you’ll find often on Missing’s timeline. In the midst of an ongoing t-war with DA leader Helen Zille, the puppet has been busy convincing the Twitterati that he is not an ANC cheerleader. The lesson: When in doubt, display your intelligence to naysayers together with a casually flung personal insult.

6. Bully for you
In times of great t-war, there’s no more Mr Nice Guy. When all else fails, hurt them with your words.

7. Let someone else do the talking

You’ll find similarities in how both Koch and Missing deal with criticism. After all, an attack on Missing is usually an attack on Koch but Koch seldom deals with naysayers. He tends to just sits back and let the puppet deal with the critics.

It seems hardly a week goes by without some sort of spat on Missing’s timeline. Perhaps the puppet needs to learn that sometimes it’s better to just drop the mic and walk away.

– Featured image via the Chester Missing Facebook page

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