Just thinking about the mob I dealt with at another blog that I posted about yesterday, and the parallels with SFist—though Jennifer had to put up with a lot, lot more when some elements of the San Francisco public decided to have a go at her.
I have known Jen for three or four years and she is a sweet, decent, caring young woman. Which is why the mob hated her: it was easy to jump on a bandwagon.
I stated the truth, proved I did my job as a Miss Universe New Zealand judge, demonstrated transparency, and debated the issues as though others were intelligent human beings without calling anyone a ‘low life’. Which is why the mob hated me.
And Laural Barrett clings on to the valued New Zealand principles of innocent till proved guilty and achieved her goal of winning a beauty pageant. Which is why the mob hated her.
And we wonder why the mob keeps saying they cannot ﬁnd lasting relationships or true bliss in their lives.
Easy: the mob, in their wise hypocrisy, keeps telling us that that truth, openness, caring, victoriousness, ambition and intelligence are not welcome in their lives. Whenever it shows, the mob tells it to go to hell.
Fortunately, for the three of us, the mob moves on to another cause du jour.
It is, of course, related to the Greater Internet F***wad Theory.
I am not too shocked. It is a useful reminder of a portion of society, a vocal fringe element that keeps us from advancing. It is easy for people like me to get caught up with my friends and peers and the intelligent conversation I surround myself with. It’s tempting to stay in that realm and get on with our lives. Which is why politicians, I am sure, prefer to live their lives away from their critics.
We don’t get many Rob Muldoons who would see Joe Bloggs walking into his ofﬁce. Here was a man who was willing to listen and to take it on the chin. Leader of a country—and you could walk in and say hi. Or worse.
What men like me, and others like Jen who have to live their lives in the public eye now more than ever, and even Laural who has been thrust into the limelight, need to remember is that vocal minorities don’t affect our principles.
The mob just keeps reminding us that even if we want to hold on to the idea that all are created equal, some of us naturally rise above others.
We make the mistake of engaging with others because we believe them to have the same level of honour, integrity and intelligence as ourselves. And oftentimes, that is not the case.
The lesson is not to change our principles. The lesson is to stay ﬁrm, realize there are such things as the proﬁt motive and the tall poppy syndrome, and rise above them.
Don’t do what I keep doing and keep presuming that everyone can reason or make coherent submissions.
And take your strength from other groups. Your soul mate, family and friends. Your vocal allies. And, ﬁnally, the silent majority who are good-natured.
I think Laural discovered that when her case was put on to talkback radio: the majority of New Zealanders are for her. They actually understand how newspapers twist stories and omit facts. They were able to reason for themselves how it all worked.
And for me, I found support for the blogosphere from my friend Ron (inter alia), who wrote in the comments yesterday. I am sure he would not mind my quoting him:
… The blogosphere has both the best and worst of standards and reporting. I believe it is representative of society as a whole and so shows the both the bad and the good. …
In regards to some of the garbage the media reports, the media is a business and they’ll report what they think will generate business. I read an article on Lance Armstrong who complained about the media failing to report the real threats to people vice the sensational ones. A person is in greater danger of dying of cancer vice dying in a plane crash. Which do you think gets more coverage in the media? The media hyped bird ﬂu as the disease that was going to kill thousands in the U.S. Do you know how many have died in the U.S. from bird ﬂu so far? Zero. Yet, we heard tons about bird ﬂu. Why? Because it sold papers and caused the number of viewers to go up on the networks. …
I personally believe the blogosphere to be a good thing. Yes, it does have some really bad sites where people really slime others like … Miss New Zealand but, it also has sites like yours that … try to maintain a high standard of truthful and accurate reporting. It is such sites that make the blogosphere so valuable.
I place a lot of stock in what Ron says because he is a worldly wise gentleman. He has served his country honourably in its armed forces. Any man who has had others put their lives in his hands, tends to have thought about the society he is defending.
Ron is a bigger man than me in many respects because he values all, even the dissenters, and even those who may have criticized him for serving his country.
Sometimes, we depend on the demonstrative ones who support us and who live their principles.
If I am to leave any moral to this post, I urge the silent majority to speak up if we are to have real democracy. Indifference can be the source of murder: it had happened in Nazi Germany, for instance, when people stayed silent for years about what its government was doing to certain groups in society.
And I congratulate those who took Laural’s side last week, regular New Zealanders who saw through The Press’s motives, just as I saw through The Dominion Post’s last year.
It means my personal media mission continues—let’s launch another magazine. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:44
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