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Into The Solar Plexus

20 February 2013, 09:28
At times I am asked to put forward the single greatest novel written in my lifetime. Without hesitation the answer is always The Bonfire Of The Vanities by Tom Wolfe. If you have not had the pleasure of reading it I can only suggest you give it a try, but please avoid the dreadful film version.

I am reminded of aspects of the novel, certain underlying themes if you will, with the dominant news story of today. It's a similar-but-different kind of thing, granted, but this whole circus around events, reaction and reporting are just as curious and indeed involving.

I'm seeing comments and articles from people complaining about how the hundreds of comments and articles they have read are "disgusting". Great that they checked so many to confirm that.

Over the weekend I heard that self-important little radio station in Gauteng tut-tut and agree with comments from both families about how intrusive and disgusting the media are being in their investigations and reporting. This was followed by their most brilliant reporter, the one who writes books, proudly announcing that all their reporters were "out covering every possible aspect of the story". Hmn. I note they are also now rather heavily advertising how it was one of their reporters who "broke the story", even though he considers himself a "friend" of the accused. It's great that they are as happy to promote themselves on the back of the death (murder or accidental to be established) of someone as they are to not hide the fact that the reporter just might be a little biased if he is friends with the accused. I am sure they will get another award for this.

Those appealing for some sort of calm approach by the world to this case are not wrong to do so, but they are fighting against decades if not centuries of the human love of gossip and speculation. Likewise, those who write inflammatory, strong and to say the least opinionated views on what should and should not happen to the accused are simply doing what people have done for years. Instead of mouthing off at a pub or at work, or perhaps even in addition to that, they now just do it from the comfort of their home PC.

Ploughing through acres of coverage of this matter makes it tricky to see just what the actual evidence is or where it leads one. I do not for one envy the court. In the sense of coverage, the actual verdict in this case is irrelevant - once found guilty or innocent, well, there's a whole new set of things to discuss, debate, shout and indeed rant about.

Anyone looking for some sort of grand, wonderful point here are, alas, to be disappointed. I'm not making any aloof, judgemental comments about what everyone should or should not do in regards of this case either; there are plenty of those around presently and if I am fortunate this article will attract its fair share of rational and irrational advice about what I and everyone else can go do.

I just find myself caught somewhere in the middle of those who are saying "everyone should stop speculating, talking and writing and just let the court get on with it" and those who are saying "anyone accused of anything should be hung immediately unless it is me / anyone accused of anything is clearly innocent". Feeling pretty safe to assume that I am not the only one that was foremost saddened by this tragic event and subsequently left with a sense of the surreal in regards of the comment, reporting and what have you around it, I simply thought I'd have a go at an article for those feeling the same way.

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