my man routinely makes the most outrageous comments. but, because the media is not camped outside our bedroom, ready to report on all he says, i am the only one getting upset.
there is this person who is very prominent in south african politics at the moment. you know who i'm talking about - he is a youth in a league of his own, one we love to hate. the one who makes the most outrageous comments all the time, and then we respond by getting all upset and hot and bothered and afraid for our future and our country. the internet goes crazy, twitter gets all a-buzz, and the newspapers fly off the shelves.
and, rightly so, we respond by saying that our leaders should rein him in. the president should shut him up. the government should keep him quiet. as he is causing conflict and dischord, he should be disciplined. we all agree that someone should do something!
journalists and newspapers like us all to believe that they exist to keep us informed, and indeed they are. but they also exist to make money. like us all. so, they report on matters that we are interested in, so we will buy that newspaper, or tune into that channel, or click on that link.
the point is that as long as reporting on troublemakers keeps making money, the reporting will not stop. as long as we keep buying the newspaper, and tuning to the station, and clicking on the links, and tweeting the tweets, the reporting will continue. and even worse, the reporting will increase!
a few weeks ago, i decided that i, for one, would start ignoring him. i refuse to buy a newspaper that has him on the front page. i don't click on a link to an article about him. i don't tweet about him. and if i have to, i refuse to mention him by name. i am even writing an entire blog-post about him, without mentioning his name. i tune him out of my life. i will not give him his 15 minutes of fame in my backyard.
now of course, if i am alone in doing it, nobody will notice any difference. except me. but if you did it, and we all did it, then newspapers would no longer make money from reporting about him. and if it is not profitable, why bother? there will soon be someone or something else that creates a new tizz.
so, even if the president, and the government, and the leaders who should be toning him down, will not - we can. because if no one is interested, and no one is reporting, then he will become like my dear man. saying outrageous things. with no one even knowing.
ps: there is talk on twitter about a week-long #ignorejulius campaign. this is my 2cents worth. except that my contribution will last longer than a week.
read what i said, only much better here.
read an article by the media, about why the media loves him.
edited to add:
Julius Malema has exploded into political… prominence… by making himself hard to ignore. Inheriting a platform that drew attention to the accidental outrages he tripped into, he quickly learned to stoke outrage and roar back at any responses he provoked. For the media, trying to gauge the state of the nation’s health from moment to moment, this makes him a much more attractive candidate than the business-as-usual official announcements of the ruling party proper. But Malema’s sound and fury signify nothing, and his disproportionate voice in South Africa’s public conversation is only hurting our ability to speak to one another, and to speak sense when we do. We think it’s time to ignore Julius, and invite you to join us.
For the week of 7-14 April 2010, we undertake to talk about this country, its challenges, its promise, its news, and to ignore Julius while doing so. Join us in this initiative. If you blog, join the roll. If you Tweet, add the hashtag #ignoreJulius to your daily output.
However you communicate, take a week off from Julius.
Here is the list of blogs that are participating in this initiative: