Monday, February 19, 2007

Here We Go Again

Oh dear, this is getting boring, but you feel it shouldn't pass without comment. Erstwhile Bad Boy of theatre turned Guardian columnist Mark Ravenhill has joined the ranks of those privileged with a public platform who condemn the more 'democratic' opportunity for comment which the internet provides.

He does make some new points which are worth considering. It's not democracy, he says: true political democracy in this country is dead (and I won't argue with that), and this seeming democracy of the internet is in truth just a sop to make us believe otherwise, and that no one with any power takes any notice of the views aired by the public therein.

But then he doesn't seem to believe in democracy anyway. Things have got a little confused, he says, but right from the start he seems to confuse things himself. He starts out reasonably enough (except that we can guess where he's going): Not so long ago writing a certain type of letter was enough to make you a figure of fun. But then in his next sentence he appears to be referring not just to 'a certain type of letter writer' but to all writers of letters to public bodies: Writing to the newspapers, the BBC or the prime minister made you an archetype as recognisable as a fat mother-in-law on a seaside postcard (let's pass over his apparent collusion with the viewpoint implied by this last comparison). This slippage allows him to go on to do as others have done before him and lump all internet commenters together and compare them with the green ink writer ... 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' and to pronounce that they should be regarded with patronising amusement.

But - though one gets weary of repeating it - as there were always different newspaper letter-writers, so there are also different internet commenters, some superficial, others serious and worth taking seriously unless you want to collude with a government you believe deaf to the people.

Apart from which, not everyone who uses green ink is Disgusted of TW - a past editor of mine, for a start!


Debi said...

Don't these people ever give up? I reckon it's just a way of getting their names out there.

Disgusted of print media?

Ron said...

I like green ink and sometimes, shock horror, I use purple.

- Disgusted of Downunder

meika said...

what's important is the conversation, and that's now beyond the control of editors, who have dumbing debate down n the past by choosing the green ink writers over the reasonable, and wasting newsprint on them