Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Bullard: you bloggers are over-sensitive, and overreacting

I've had a very pleasant day reading about Bullardgate (in between lounging around eating peanuts out of my navel, scratching my nerdy scrofulous bits and not earning a penny for writing this blog).

I've also not said a word (apart from a timid comment in response to Vincent's initial rant).

However, now that I've dragged my sorry arse off the couch and away from my arsenal of guns, I feel ready to toss a few spanners into the ointment.

First, I can understand that Bullard's column caused offense, especially to those sainted bloggers who're slaving away (and good on you all; you have my genuine admiration) at the New Media coalface. However, isn't offense the whole point of his column? In fact, isn't that the point of any good column? If you are familiar with any of SA's top columnists - the late Robert Kirby and Andrew Donaldson, among others, spring to mind here - you'll surely agree that a column without sharpened fangs and a good slug of arrogance isn't one worth reading.

Second, I feel quite scandalised at the suggestion that the Sunday Times has erred in any way by publishing this column. I'm not pointing fingers... no, on second thoughts, I am pointing fingers: some of the comments I've read today carry a nasty pro-censorship whiff. I might be new to this blogging thing, but what I do know is that all of you will defend to the death your right to have your say in an unfettered environment. Isn't it the height of hypocrisy, then, to suggest that Bullard should be muzzled by the Sunday Times, or, even worse, that he should self-censor his columns?

Third, and still on the subject of hypocrisy, I find it ironic that so many commentators who've got their broeks in a twist about Bullard's 'generalising' and 'hate speech' and 'insults' have themselves resorted to slinging juvenile insults at the man, among them 'mindless self-serving wanker', an 'arrogant fuckwit', even, disgustingly, a cheap-shot reference by Matthew Buckland to the strength of the burglar bars on Bullard's house (he, ie Bullard, was recently shot in his own home by intruders).

(I hasten to add that I don't know the oke, and have never met him, but still, this is going too far).

Fourth, the suggestion that this was a cheap exercise in link-baiting, or a marketing exercise on the part of the ST, is just ludicrous; even paranoid. Even thinking these thoughts in passing is buying into loony-tunes conspiracy theories. Sunday Times writers are too busy and too pressurised (and, I might argue, don't have the enthusiasm) to cook up a scheme like this one.

Last, but not least, and without looking like an eina-piel (like a soutpiel, except that I have a leg on either side not of an ocean, but of the barbed-wire fence that separates new media from old) , I'd like to add that this has definitely been my best day ever in SA's blogosphere. I've loved the debate, chuckled over the comments, gnawed the keyboard a couple of times, and thrown a vrot guava at my PC's screen, which hit Bullard squarely on the nose just as he was ejaculating.

I wasn't convinced about the power of the SA blogosphere when I started my blog a month ago, but I am now.

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5 comments:

The Lush said...

Probably the best response to the Bullard saga that I've read. Nice, open-minded etc. Very cool indeed.

The Lush said...

Probably the best response to the Bullard saga that I've read. Nice, open-minded etc. Very cool indeed.

matt said...

It's interesting that you group me with those who insulted and reacted hysterically re: Bullard, when I actually was one of the few broadly supportive of Bullard in my post and urged bloggers to have a sense of humour, get some perspective and not take the bait. Bullard's own editor even quoted what I had to say.

So the "cheap shot" to which you refer was far from the essence of my post. You've either neglected to actually read my post, misunderstood it, or just chosen to misrepresent what I say.

Someone anonymously posted a comment on my blog challenging me on this very point, and I think I dealt with it with the the following reply:

"The debate and post is pretty much in the same spirit and humour in which Bullard approached the incident, perhaps encapsulated by this quote, one of many by Bullard: “Don’t wear your best jeans when being shot”." (Article on IOL)

Juno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juno said...

Matt, I did read your post. And I still think you were scraping the barrel by referring to Bullard's shooting.

And no, I didn't misunderstand you, and neither did I misrepresent you.

You poked fun at him because he was shot. Just because he make a joking reference about his being shot doesn't give you license to do the same.

Any way you slice it, it was a cheap, nasty shot.