Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
7 May 2007

David Bullard hits nail on head

David Bullard has evoked a fire storm in the South African Blogosphere (see here, here and here for examples) with his column in the Sunday Times yesterday in which he stated that Blogs are generally of a very low quality:

They’re cobbled together by people who wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism, mainly because they have very little to say. It’s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else.

Can’t see what is wrong with that statement. Bullard seems to be rather kind, actually. Because I have been mad enough to start a Blog myself, I have recently been exposed to other Blogs and most of it is tedious drivel. Its mostly, (white people’s) conventional wisdom and communal prejudices dressed up as opinion and analysis.

People have a right to share their pearls of wisdom with the world, but surely the rest of us have a right not to take it too seriously. Let’s face it, my Dean of research is not going to award me research points for the finger exercises on this Blog because it is not serious writing.

On one count Bullard does get it wrong. He claims that the content in the Sunday Times is of a certain quality because it has been through editing processes. But one only has to skim that newspapers pages to be made aware of the sorry state of journalism in South Africa. Sometimes I wonder whether those people get paid to write so badly about such brain curdling boring issues. The New York Times it ain’t.

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