Too close to home

Several emails and tweets asking why I am not blogging about the Luke Fairweather story.
It’s a reasonable question. Thanks for asking.

Occasionally  – just occasionally – there are topics which I would LOVE to blog about, but am unable to. These are generally specific and local issues which are linked somehow to what we in the blogging sector call “Real Life”.
One of the rules that I have laid down for myself and to which I still rigidly adhere is that my blogging must not negatively impinge on my “Real Life” or that of my family or friends (and relationships with those individuals).

The Luke Fairweather case is one of those times. Despite me having strong feelings on this story, Mr Fairweather and I shared a mutual friend (a regular reader, he claims) (and I have no reason to doubt him) and thus this one falls neatly into that “too close to home” category because my respect for my “Real Life” friends and their thoughts come ahead of airing my views on here.

There’s more on the Fairweather story from IOL here and a brilliantly concise, yet sensitive blog from Jacques Rousseau here.

Jacques puts matters straight

I’m only an occasional reader of the Mail & Guardian, but when I do give myself the opportunity and can find the time, it’s generally an interesting read. Last week I was rather shocked and disappointed by Andile Mngxitama’s column “The face of white supremacy” in which the writer accused Gareth Cliff of being racist for – as far as I could work out, anyway – no apparent reason save for his own desperation to call somebody (white), a racist.
I should also say that if was not just the content of the column, but also Nic Dawes’ decision to publish such nonsense that left me feeling a little bewildered.

When I raised the matter on twitter, I wasn’t the only one finding myself in that mindframe: the erudite Jacques Rousseau informed me that he had written a rebuttal to Mngxitama’s column, (which would be far more articulate than anything I could ever write) and which he hoped would be published this week.

Well, it was, and it is brilliant. A perfect mix of rationality and justified ridicule, all dished up with a garnish of mild sarcasm:

Of course, Mngxitama’s argument relies on something called “anti-racist decoding”. I regret that I’ve never drunk as deeply from the well of postmodernism as Mngxitama has, because this decoding appears to fall outside of my sphere of competence, leaving me with only the suspicion that he’s talking nonsense.

I would heartily recommend a read of it if you can get hold of some dead tree. (But then I would say that, because I am white.)
I’ll put the link up as soon as it is available online. Here it is.
If it was up already, no-one would buy the paper, see?

Morne Harmse – sentence is passed

And the recriminations can now begin.

Morne Harmse, the schoolboy with the masks and the Samurai sword who killed a fellow pupil at his Krugersdorp School last year, was this week sentenced to an effective 20 years in prison.
And of course, there are those who think this is too lenient and those who think it is too harsh. Aren’t there always?

In sentencing someone for these sort of crimes, I believe, a number of different factors have to be taken into consideration by the judge: the degree of premeditation, the effects of the crime and perhaps most importantly, the underlying reasons that the incident took place. And on that, there is also considerable disagreement. The sensationalists went with Satanism and Slipknot, the more rational minds with the sorry mental state of a confused and misunderstood teenage boy.

The State – pandering to the masses – wheeled out Kobus Jonker, self-styled “expert” on “the occult”, who interviewed Harmse and gave testimony that although he (Harmse) had dabbled in “the occult”, there was little evidence to suggest that this was the cause of Harmse’s attack. Wrong coloured candles, apparently. Helpful stuff.

Jonker has a dubious reputation in South Africa, as Jacques Rousseau points out in The Star today and one can only hope that in sentencing, the judge completely disregarded the nonsense this “expert” gave the court.

Perhaps there would be more value in following the advice of The Times commenter ‘RSinangola’ on this issue:

Bring back corporal punishment at school and at home and there will be a more than 50% chance that this won’t happen again.

RSinangola  explains neither the  background nor the mathematical workings behind his theory, but since he has submitted them for publication in a national newspaper, I think we can rest assured that he has thoroughly tested his hypothesis.
And until someone comes up with a better plan, which may give us, say, “a more than 75% chance that this won’t happen again”, maybe we should take his comment on board and reinstitute corporal punishment forthwith.
Well done, that man.