When I stumbled into my blog this morningâ€¦bleary eyed, still half-asleep and definitely not in the mood for any hassle, I was quite amused to read the comment history regarding an article written by Mr. Bram Vermeulen, from Dutchland.
I feel the need to respond not because it bothers me (hey, any publicity is good publicity right?), but because there is an element of truth in what he wrote and it begs a further questionâ€¦Does a blogger have a responsibilty to offer commentary that will address issues which affect the common man?
The short answer is no.
The long answer â€¦
To summarise the article: Mr. Vermeulen laments the lack of blogging integrity in South Africa. He bemoans the fact that in a country where there are so many issues that could be addressed by the common man, bloggers do nothing constructive with it. In short, Mr. Vermeulen surmises that we (the South African) sit with a loaded AK47 in our hands and, instread of gunning down all those terrible South African issues like crime, poverty and soap as a cure for AIDS, we use the weapon as a fishing rod for comment fodder.
I can`t speak for the rest of the South African blogging fraternity. But I will speak for the Princess Echoes. Mr. Vermeulen, I agree with you wholeheartedly! I do not blog about crime or poverty; and I do not blog about new legislation and how it will affect me. I don`t particularly care for a constant political rant or addressing the issues which effect the desitiute and defenceless.
You see, for three very specific reasons I choose to blog the way I do. Firstly, and most importantly, you know that a weblog is an online journal or diary. Although it can be a tool to fight crime and injustice in Cyberspace (tadadada!)â€¦it is a very personal script for me. You see, this blog Echoes who I am and what I strive to be. It transcibes the personal journey I am on and gives me an opportunity to see how I`ve changed and grown from post to post. Why an online journal documenting the life of a single career woman in Cape Town?â€¦well, I`m a lazy bugger who really would rather type than write. And, I know that there are other individuals like me who might be going through or have gone through similar experiences in their lives. It was never intended to be a lament about the lonely singleton and it will never be. What it is, is the reflection and musings of a woman who is introspective and questioning by nature and has a strong desire to track her personal journey. Fair enough, huh?
Secondly, I don`t blog about things that I am not an expert on. I blog about what I know and I know me and I know women. As a result of my chosen career, I have very definite thoughts on the place of journalistic responsibility. I have often discussed with friends about the importance of the media – and how crushing it can be if there is no integrity in someone`s commentary. My job is not to write commentary on the political or social fodder around us. I don`t want that responsibility. I leave that kind of accountability for journalistic integrity to the experts, the Chris Roper`s of our world. The idea that you can write about your opinion, sans background or research is horrifying and I would personally prefer to read something that is well-researched and substantiated by fact. However, I can write about my life and my experiences and know that I am an expert on that. Nobody can refute my facts when it comes to the one subject I know well: Jean Dennis.
My final reason for blogging in the way I do is thatâ€¦well… when I walk out of the door every single morning I face shit. The likelihood of becoming another South African statistic today is very likely. For that reason, I CHOOSE escapism. You see, South African`s are predisposed to voicing and ranting about their dissatisfaction. A culture of free speech and demonstration is defacto in our culture. I cannot escape it in my day to day life. Poltics and social commentary abound in daily conversations and everybody has something to say and they say it! So, I choose to leave these issues be when I`m blogging. Think of it as my moment to put my feet up, grab a drink and talk about banal (and apparently pointless) crap. And so mostly I talk about wishes and misses and bloody puppy dog kisses. And, yesâ€¦it`s not serious. It`s not always thought-provokingâ€¦but it`s 150% me coming out to play (thanks, wolfâ€¦I think you were spot on).
Unfortunately, sometimes reality does bite and the Princess must deal with the Really Real World.
Please explore the echoes thouroughly, Sir. This little girl does occasionally have a tantrum or two to throw. Occasionally she gets angry at the politics of voting
or she gets mugged and needs to deal with the reality of the Department of Home Affairs
and more recently she tried to come to terms with the fact that children are not protected by their own parentsâ€¦
For now though, I`ll stick to talking about what I know and steering well clear of what I don`t know. If it comes across as candy-floss, I hope it`s so saccherine that it gives you the mother of all toothaches 😉 But for the most part, I read the comments on the Echoes and the e-mails I receive and realise that the common man (and woman) is out there, experiencing life the way I would and dealing with the same day-to-day crap I do.
And it`s comforting. And it`s real.