Quote of the week

Trolls are also distinguished from their predecessors by seeming not to recognise any limits. Ridicule is an anti-social force: it tends to make people clam up and stop talking. So there is a point at which, if conversation and community are to continue, the joke has to stop, and the victim be let in on the laughter. Trolls, though, form a community precisely around the extension of their transgressive sadism beyond the limits of their offline personas. That the community consists almost entirely of people with no identifying characteristics – ‘anons’ – is part of the point. It is as if the laughter of the individual troll were secondary; the primary goal is to sustain the pleasure of the anonymous collective.

Richard Seymour
London Review of Books
1 December 2009

Apology to President Zuma

Last week on this Blog I critised President Jacob Zuma for purporting to appoint Adv Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions and pointed out – correctly in my view – that the appointment shows an utter disregard for the Constitution and the law. In my criticism – which I believe to be valid and based on the proven facts and a correct interpretation of the law and the Constitution – I unfortunately reverted to the kind of intemperate language, which sadly has become all too common in our political discourse, by referring to our President as a “gangster”.
 
I regret using such intemperate language, which detracts from the substantive debate regarding the unfitness of Adv Menzi Simelane to hold office as the National Director of Public Prosecutions. I wish to apologise unreservedly to our President for the use of this intemperate language which, as the Presidency points out, does not contribute to the healthy and respectful debate so needed in our democracy.
 
However, I do call on our President to reconsider the appointment of Adv Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions as this appointment is not in the interest of the country and the smooth running of the criminal justice system. Given the serious questions about Adv Simelane’s fitness to hold office, reasonable people – including myself – will continue to speculate about the true reasons for the appointment which indeed, shows a disregard for the law and the Constitution as well as for the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority.
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