Saturday, September 11, 2010

Politically Incorrect vs Politically Incoherent

I was both amused and annoyed by an awards ceremony on Mnet the other night that beautifully highlighted a disease I like to call 'Political Incoherence'. The symptoms of said disease are profuse sweating, facial tics and uncontrollable stuttering, when the sufferer finds themselves in a situation where they might need to describe a person as 'Black'.
The sufferers at this particular awards ceremony were speaking about young entrepreneurs in Soweto and instead of using the one syllable option of 'Black', they chose to ramble on and clutch at euphemisms like 'disadvantaged' and 'people from rural areas'.
Firstly, let me point out the obvious, Soweto is NOT A RURAL AREA. It's nothing short of a sprawling, developing metropolis that is home to a little calabash called Soccer City (Yes, yes...National Stadium. Whatever).
Secondly, call me politically incorrect but I'm pretty sure these kick-ass, young guys from Soweto who are busying themselves with creating a tourism empire, would far rather be labelled 'Black' than 'Disadvantaged'.
Anyway, this whole 'disadvantaged people from rural areas' debacle prompted me to Tweet... "White people of SA...It's ok to say 'Black'. Don't be scared."
The sentiment was pretty much well received by all until the onslaught from my Politically Incoherent following of bleeding hearts. They were outraged that I felt it necessary to refer to colour at all. One of them called me a racist (Yes, the accuser was of course a 'Privileged member of an Urban Community' or as the rest of us like to call them, 'White').
I firmly believe that it's that exact thinking that creates gaps in our vocabulary and cause us to stutter and sputter about rural areas and disadvantaged people.
I'm blessed to be of a school of thought that is very comfortable with its politics. I don't need to define myself as liberal or open-minded as those viewpoints have less flattering counterpoints. I'm just normal. I just like or dislike people. I can say the 'B word' without getting twitchy. I don't need to qualify my politics with statements of how much I like people of different races or how many of them I have in my circle of friends. I don't give much thought to being Politically Correct. The principles I apply to my politics are the same ones I apply to a Dinner Party: ask for what you'd like and it's ok not to accept anything you don't like, whilst being polite and remembering your manners (always say please and thank you).
You don't need to be embarrassed to use labels when necessary (as long as they aren't offensive or discriminatory). We're all a collection of keywords. I'm White, South African, Jewish Woman.
Who are you?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Tweal Life

There are so many Twitter functions that I'd find incredibly useful in the real world.

Think about how much spam annoys us, yet we allow people to flood us with it in everyday life. When you run into a random acquaintance and they proceed to tell you about their life-altering trip to Reykjavik, just consider how liberating it would be to 'Block and Report Spam'.

When someone is being a complete cock, I catch myself fantasising about 'Retweeting' them, so everyone could witness the complete cockness.

It'd be absolutely grand to be able to 'Follow' someone in real life, without fear of a restraining order.

It'd be equally great to be able to 'Unfollow' someone, just like that. No mess, no fuss, no tears.

I wish, like on Twitter, everyone came with a short, concise bio that served as a little bit of a User Guide.

How handy would it be if human beings came with proof of verification so we knew that they were truly their authentic selves?

Sadly, I can't think of a single Facebook function that I'd like translated into reality. Unless, of course, the 'Dislike' button made a reappearance.

Mostly, my life would be infinitely better if everyone could just limit themselves to 140 characters or less.