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What the 'cancel culture' zealots get wrong about Twitter

15 61 16

Journalists can be such insufferable bores and hypocrites.

This is particularly true of columnists who, like me, perpetually pass judgement on the failings, misdeeds, or inadequacies of others - usually powerful public figures. As a corollary to this, our prescriptions for the failings, misdeeds and inadequacies of others tip to the obdurate.

Traditionally, we have shared our remedies in the comfortable certainty of their righteousness and without the discomfort of any measure of accountability that the powerful public figures we routinely reprimand or excoriate may face and, sadly, too often evade.

Herein lies the columnists' grating hypocrisy: we demand accountability of others, but rarely welcome or tolerate it when readers point an accusatory finger our way.

For too long, columnists could sit high atop their distant, cosy perches to scold, lecture or pontificate to all manner of people about all manner of subjects.

And far too many writers were pleased with the agreeable status quo and hoped for it to continue uninterrupted and undisturbed by the rabble - otherwise known as readers.

For generations, the dynamic between a columnist and a reader was, de facto: we speak, you listen.

Gladly and all too belatedly, times and technology have changed.

Social media has, undeniably, had a profound and irreversible impact on the relationship between columnist and reader.

Today, astute readers are no longer content just to listen to sermons delivered by mainly white establishment columnists writing for "elite" establishment publications from their well-entrenched mountaintops. They are more than able, prepared and willing to respond and challenge - alone or en masse.

Many writers have acknowledged, even embraced, this relatively new, sometimes disorienting paradigm to try to forge a more intimate and immediate rapport with their audience - with varying degrees of success.

Others, however, who claim, ad nauseam,........

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