What is certainly happening is that certain quarters do not – or dare not – attempt to engage in debate but, instead, adopt bully boy tactics, observes Zaharom Nain.
It is often enough said that, increasingly, we are becoming a dour, humourless people.
Or at least that we are increasingly allowing such people and organisations – individuals and semi-governmental groups with cold hearts and medieval values – to harass countless good people, to see something totally wrong with a joke or comment that is uttered or written.
In most cases, we are talking about witty comments here, not tasteless slapstick or crude clowning. And, of course, sardonic or acerbic commentary, meant to bite deeply and certainly make us think.
Recently, a veteran Malaysian journalist, Terence Fernandez, wrote one of those rare (for the Malaysian media) sardonic pieces in The Malaysian Insider.
Describing the rapid rise and wildly extravagant, hedonistic even, lifestyle of a dictator’s wife in a commentary titled, Rise of a ‘megalomaniac’ First Lady, Fernandez’s piece evidently hit a raw nerve among some Umno supporters.
This despite his revelation at the end of the piece that it was Argentina’s much-criticised Eva Peron that he was describing.
Indeed, like many other wives of kings or presidents, Eva Peron was a bona fide “First Lady”, (which, of course, is more than can be said for shameless hussies who take the title for themselves, irrespective of who their hubbies are).
Also, by all accounts, Peron WAS a megalomaniac. Megalomania has been described, by Wikipedia, among others, as a “psychopathological condition”, a condition “characterised by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, omnipotence, and by inflated self-esteem”.
Psychologists and psychiatrists would probably not argue against such a definition which, to be honest, is a fairly clear one.
Anyone with a sense of history would, of course, find Fernandez’s historical commentary spot on. Sure, any similarity with persons more alive than dead could be seen as merely coincidental.
But supporters of the Malaysian PM’s wife didn’t think so and felt terribly offended for the woman.
And they went ballistic on social media.
Sometimes you wonder if these people can read, let alone understand what a sardonic commentary looks like.
Indeed, apart from Eva Peron being mentioned in the last paragraph, there are so many clues given by Fernandez that he wasn’t overtly talking about the PM’s wife.
The first of these clues came early on when he wrote. “But she had the gift of foresight and knew that he would be great one day.”
The PM may be many things, but “great” isn’t one of them. And, let’s face it, it’s quite unlikely he’ll have much of chance to become “great” at any time in the future.
Another critic, clearly unable to deal with words beyond two syllables, accused Fernandez instead of being a megalomaniac.
A naughty, rude boy, perhaps; a decent chronicler of events and people even; maybe a creative writer who is skilled at juxtaposing.
But… a megalomaniac? One suspects that only God would know how, indeed, Fernandez could be accused of being a megalomaniac for his commentary.
These critics – including a blogger and editorial consultant who, at one time was a ‘top’ editor and columnist – in their haste to put Fernandez in his place, ended up revealing their own silliness instead.
As someone ruefully observed, these must be the products of a failed education system – ours.
Just like the film director awhile back who came out, guns blazing, in a local paper, hitting out at a TV critic for describing one of the characters in his stupid series a “grease monkey”.
For this famed actor/director, the critic was equating his actor with an animal, clearly unaware that grease monkey is another way of describing an auto mechanic.
Which was essentially the role the actor was playing in the series.
It’s often amusing, of course, seeing people hopelessly devoted to their idols come out, guns blazing, to defend them.
But, lately, the blazing guns have been trained on the messengers, not the message, reflecting our increasing inability to see other points of view; our refusal to question our own beliefs and prejudices.
Indeed, what is certainly happening is that we do not – or dare not – attempt to engage in debate but, instead, adopt bully boy tactics.
That we cannot confidently and maturely engage in debates surely reflects a failed education system?
Indeed, when the solution is to make police reports for everything that “hurts our sensitivities”, all that seemingly “threaten the sanctity” of our race, religion and rulers, then that’s no solution at all.
It simply reflects sheer cowardice on the part of a bunch of savages, incapable of mature, civilised behaviour.