David Bullard: The Bullog
…the blog delusion

My reply to marketingmachine…

“At last some serious debate….I was beginning to lose faith. Sorry Antowan but still no apology. If you identify with my anonymous scrofulous nerd comment then that’s your problem. The whole point of the article for those who had the mental stamina to read it is that we, the print media, are subject to certain rules while the blogosphere is not. That doesn’t work for me because a)I find anonymous attacks cowardly and b) I have a problem with the racist content of some blogs. You are free to disagree with me but the quid pro quo is that you should also allow me to express an opinion. If you think it’s a good thing that blogs should be racist, sexist, ageist etc and anonymous then obviously you won’t agree and will start ranting on about me feeling threatened, my age, my “cardigan” etc etc etc. Feel free to do so. Bear in mind one thing though…..you do not hang on to a newspaper column for 13 years by luck. You have to deliver the goods and I consistently deliver the goods according to our research. It may not always be so but it is at the moment so get used to it and live with it and beware the green eyed monster that mocks the meat it feeds on. (Note to scrof nerds…..the last line was what we print journos call a “literary allusion”)”

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4 Responses to “My reply to marketingmachine…”

  1. > If you think it’s a good thing that blogs should be racist, sexist, ageist etc and anonymous

    It’s counterintuitive, but yes, it is a good thing. Why? Because if the “absolute scum” of society are allowed to blog anonymously, then it also means that those people who have a genuine need to blog anonymously (and yes, there are such genuine needs) will also be protected when necessary. I’m reminded of a quote from the ‘People vs Larry Flynt’: “If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you”. (This quote is not about anonymity specifically, but there is a general point here that applies to anonymity.)

    Now you seem to think there are no genuine needs for anonymity. It shouldn’t take much stretching of the imagination to come up with examples though. In fact, it should be especially obvious to South Africans, as it was common just 13 years ago right here for people revealed to be protesting a genuinely rotten system to be murdered. With this so fresh in our memories, it is not just shameful to apparently have forgotten this, it’s also insulting to the thousands that died for holding views the government disagreed with. I personally know family members of some of these victims, and see how they still bear the scars of their “disappeared” loved ones every day – people who would be with us today had they had the protection of anonymity (will you tell them you think those killed were cowardly for having tried to hide their involvement in activism?). A living activist is more useful than a dead one anyway, regardless of ‘bravado’. The same types of situations continue to exist in many parts of the world TODAY – people are killed for writing ‘dissident blogs’ – and could reappear virtually anywhere at any time. Even today in South Africa some are still murdered for their political affiliations. There are also other non-political situations where anonymity is required, e.g. whistleblowing. It’s easy to write about “cowardice” from your comparatively protected position in a democratic country, but I wonder if you’d still feel the same way if you wanted to write things that REALLY WOULD (fullstop) get you murdered. (I realise that in your own column you have pissed off some high profile people (and no doubt gotten many death threats in your time), but this is not real risk … in reality your main practical risk is perhaps lawsuits from which the team of Sunday Times lawyers can protect you and so on … I mean writing something that REALLY means death.)

    I say let people write their hate-speech blogs. Most people are rational enough to realise that it’s crap anyway. Hate-speech blogs remain marginalised to extremist minority fringes even in (and in fact especially in) countries where such speech is allowed.

  2. […] really should read his follow-up response […]

  3. BTW, my name is Antowan Nothling. It is my name, not a mask…

  4. “We, the print media, are subject to certain rules while the blogosphere is not. That doesn’t work for me because a)I find anonymous attacks cowardly and b) I have a problem with the racist content of some blogs.”

    Anonymous attacks from the blogosphere don’t carry the weight of onymous attacks in the printed media. In the printed media some of the more politically ‘edgy’ articles are essentially JUST AS anonymous as a blog can be. Unless, of course, there is an actual journalist whose name is “Staff Reporters”.

    As for the racist stuff- I also have a problem with it, but what can we do about it?


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