Saturday, 20 November 2010

Oh, all right, here it is. Blogs, blogging, and basic decency

I suppose you need to know the exceedingly boring history behind this mind-numbing story.. zzz.... oh, sorry, dozed off... to appreciate its finer details, but I'm going to spare you all that, slap myself on the cheeks and cut to the chase.

In response to the eager enquiries of my dear Twitter friends, here is a copy of the restrained but cheerfully snotty comment I left (still unpublished and unapproved; I think the owner of said blog is sound asleep) on this post by Carl Momberg on, which has gripped the attention of Cape Towns's restaurant-grazers and navel-scratchers. [Note: my comment now appears on the site.]

Here goes:

I'm not afraid to put my name to this.

Blogs, in an ideal world, are places where people who aren't professional writers or journalists - and who wouldn't normally stand a chance of being published in mainstream media - can express themselves, build a following, and become online stars (or even superstars). They can say stuff they'd never be allowed to say if they were constrained by the policies of a newspaper or magazine house, and they can speak their minds openly, which is as it should be in any free society that espouses freedom of speech.

But when blogs - and other social media - become festering hotbeds where feuds are aired, dirty linen is hung out, egos are polished and axes are ground down to blunt weapons, no one really benefits. Not bloggers, not their audience, not the topic at hand (in this case, the Cape tourism and hospitality industry) and certainly not the amazing pool of knowledge and opinion that is the Internet.

I apologise for the mash-up of metaphors in the paragraph above, and if I sound like I'm pontificating. But I'm sick and tired of the negativity, the character assassination and the low-level bitching going on, particularly in the competitive and often astonishingly nasty Cape Town food/wine/restaurant blogging scene. (To be honest? The world isn't that interested in what you had for lunch today.)

I'd like to see more civility, more constructive criticism, more professionalism and some basic decency.

I'd like to see good, informed opinion, excellent writing, lively debate and thoughtful analysis. I'd like to see every blog post adding something of interest and value to the Internet, so that people who read our posts - and they surely will - in two hundred years' time will actually glean something useful from what we have to say. In short, a little cool-headed respect all round.

Jane-Anne Hobbs (

And here endeth the sermon.

POSTSCRIPT: Chris Von Ulmenstein has responded to the post mentioned above on her blog, Whale Cottage. Click here to read her response.

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Ishay said...

Thank you for writing this and I trust (and hope) that your comment is published. Your comments are diplomatic, constructive and in my opinion, you're taken the nicest possible route in expressing yourself. As a respected senior (I mean in terms of years you've been doing this) foodblogger, it counts for an awful lot!
Preparing, cooking, eating in the kitchen and out, are some of the greatest pleasures- a medium to bind and unify.
There are real problems in the world.
Let's leave the terrorist techniques, propaganda and clique formation to the politicians in Totalitarian states.
Perhaps if we focused on working with and supporting each other, there would be things the great great grand kids and others 200 years from now, could read that would make them proud.
(If we haven't gathered by now, none of us are going to be elected Head Girl or Boy- no need for the competition. Relief eh!)

Claudine said...

In many respects the internet has become the new high school right down to it's little cliques and who is cool and who is not.

I followed your link and then went on to other links provided in the original story. Had to have a good chuckle when I saw it was about Whale Cottage in Hermanus. I know several people who have stayed there or attempted to stay there. All with varying degrees of horror.

And as usual your comments are spot on.

Peter Wright said...

I agree 100% - the petty sniping and name calling that goes on is adding nothing of any value to anybody involved. If one takes a step back and reads some of the posts, they are laughable. Certainly none of the protagonists cover themselves in glory...

frootcake said...

"stuffs another cheese-curl in her mouth, eyes blinking like Bart Simpson's sister"... well if blogging is/has reduced to a bunch of I-am-sure-I-am-better-than-you social seekers who have nothing better to do than mud-sling nonsense at us then I say, I'm done with blogging period. Life is just too short and I have to put up with my own short-comings every day when I look in the mirror or have a conversation with myself; I do not need any further comments from the peanut gallery thank you very much.
p.s. Love Love Love your Blog - it's awesome!! xxx

frootcake said...

golly, it seems I must have pressed the repeat button :-( sorry about that lol

Juno said...

While trying to clean up the comment posted several times by frootcake (see above) I have mistakenly deleted two other comments. Sorry: pressed the wrong dustbin icons.

I'm telling you this so you know there is no censoring going on.

Frootcake, thanks for the feedback and compliments.

tonypark said...

Hear Hear. (or is that here here?).

And no criticism of literary sex scenes, either!