Bleeding at my typewriter

When you go to Spur for a fight but a burger breaks out (or The Monopoly of Opinion)

… and then the bandwagon hit a pothole. This week, the country went bananas after the now notorious Spur incident video in which a white man and a black woman can be seen in an altercation in front of some kids. Everyone had an opinion, and as we know ,opinions are like suppositories – and we all know what we can do with opinions when push comes to shove. Male privilege … blah blah … racism … blah blah … and so it went. Some of the ‘opinions’ I could understand, some not and others were just downright arcane (i.e. a mystery)!

Then our team had one of those ‘publish-a-video-of-another-altercation-in-a-restaurant-it-will-be-fun-they-said’ moments. In the video, which we admitted was from 2014, a black man slaps a white tannie in a fast food outlet. All we wanted to do is stimulate conversation. Boy, did that escalate quickly! And lo and behold, suddenly the Record found itself in a controversy within a controversy. Now our humble little newspaper was the target. And no-one was lus for ‘stimulated conversation’. Instead, everyone had an opinion on why we were so terribly wrong. Even a very famous author and columnist had his say!

This got me thinking. Is the problem in South Africa that instead of dialogue we only want to have opinions? Strong opinions and closed minds? Most citizens seem to think they have a monopoly on opinion and, in spite of all its good, social media has become an abhorrent platform for this practice where the more likes I get the more of a consensus sheep I become. The tyranny of the opinion of the masses.

As usual, my wife had the last, very true, say – “What’s happened to the outrage, Facebook avalanches and Twitter storms over pensioners being raped and murdered, farmers being murdered and babies being killed?”

Anyway. To those we have upset so terribly, and the esteemed columnist and author, whom I have to admit is one of my heroes, I apologise. No harm was meant.

To show my regret, I would like to take you all for a burger at the Spur. It’s on me.

Riaan van Zyl

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