Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Publish and be damned?
One of the viral stories that has even made the headlines on most of the major western media networks this last week is that of the expose of the Syrian lesbian blogger as a straight man – an American living and studying in Scotland. The other, less sensational, is that of his loudest lesbian cyber-critics also being revealed as a man writing (shock, horror!) under a pseudonym.
The backlash within the awfully entitled “blogosphere” has been negative, vitriolic, almost to the point of being abusive and violent. Other involved and campaigning bloggers expressing their sense of betrayal, even endangerment. Oh dear.
I really think that we ought to put this into perspective. All involved in this comedic melee are bloggers, amateur contributors to the open forum that is the internet. Myself among them. Not professional commentators, who are normally very judicious in their writings, but people who simply want to write and publish. And this is all well and good. But.
And the “ but” is this. The trumpeting critics of Mr McMaster and Mr Graber make two cardinal errors. Firstly, they exhibit an off the scale sense of self righteousness, as if blogs and their authors have a entitlement to respect and a degree of authority. And these critics have elevated themselves in whatever situation or campaign they find themselves in. Secondly, they either choose to ignore, or (more likely) are uneducated in the fact that the art of writing from within the situation of the victim is historically well established and recognized.
Simply read some of the anti-slavery poems of the Americans Hannah Moore and John Greenleaf, who put themselves into the shoes of the slave. Likewise James Beattie of Scotland who wrote many abolitionist letters and essays in the same way.
And as for other examples from ancient Greece and Rome… Oh my! There is not enough time to write. For I must off to read, and wish others do the same.
Posted by Tim Lewis at 9:00 PM