Clem Sunter

Angry blogwash

2009-08-12 13:17

Gee, there's a lot of angry blogwash on this website. Pro-ANC, anti-ANC - each day brings a new load of verbal missiles which in South Africa we quite understand but which must be mystifying to any foreigner who tunes in on our website.

I have the vision that, as the planet turns, all the furious insults that we trade with one another are like winking signals sent into space. What would a Martian say when he reads that there is no honest, competent politician in any political party in the country? How does he react when he hears that nothing works, be it a school, hospital, police station?

Surely he would say that something works - it can't all be bad news. But what must surprise him is that everybody wants everybody else of a different political persuasion to leave the country! No debate. Just go.

Certainly, he would say to himself that if the Martians ever built a rocket capable of transporting passengers to Earth, this is the one country he would leave off his visiting list. In more earthly terms, I guess it's like living in a flat next door to a couple who have screaming matches every night. The issue may be different, but the row ends up always the same.

Now my purpose is in no way to reduce the decibels and energy levels of the bloggers on this website. To me the internet is a participative democracy where anyone can post any opinion they like and it can be responded to instantly by anyone else.

We are not like stuffy newspapers where letters to the editor are sifted through for quality, often abridged and published days later. We let it all hang out spontaneously. For me this medium is the most thrilling and demanding around. It has a wicked sense if humour, which must be preserved at all costs.

My big idea is that we should redirect a lot of the angry blogwash into something more constructive. Why don't we have the News24 equivalent of Idols, where every week a group of panellists of the likes of Simon Cowell shortlist the five most constructive blogs and we as the public vote on them?

The four weekly winners then enter blog of the month and the twelve monthly winners enter blog of the year. The overall winner gets a bottle of champagne and a chance to become a weekly columnist. The great thing about this competition is that you don't have to be handsome, beautiful or rich. Only original.

Obviously, we will have to agree on how you define "constructive". For my money, it will have something to do with making this country a better place.

By the way, I nearly forgot to add something about the couple in the flat next door. They may have flaming rows, but they really do love each other! Cut and thrust is part of the relationship, as is making up afterwards.

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Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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