Blogger “W ackos” Upset By Columnist Rant
A popular South African columnists not just reduced the blogosphere to a concert hall of air guitar players (which is pretty funny, you got to admit), but placed anonymous blogger "wackos" in a camp with the Virginia Tech shooter – and not so much in the metaphoric sense.
One blogger’s calling it "Bullardgate," but it’s more fun to call it "Bullard’s hit", for obvious phonetic reasons. Don’t know who David Bullard is? You probably wouldn’t, if you don’t live in South Africa. But suffice to say, regardless of who still loves him there (he’s especially proud of himself, actually), David Bullard just lost all of his friends in the blogosphere.
A quick Googlified look into Bullard’s history suggests that he’s a pretty well-respected, if controversial at times, columnist for newspaper of record the Sunday Times, with a readership of over a million, according to Vinny Lingham.
In a column entitled "Name and shame offensive bloggers," Bullard bemoans the sea of bloggers trying to imitate him – a real, professional columnist – belittling their belief that people would be interested in "the tedious minutiae of their lives," and besmirching their ability to hack it in the real journalism world.
But if you think the self-righteous Bullard made some fair, if mean, points, you may start to doubt your own judgment (and Bullard’s assertion that the Sunday Times’s content goes through some rigorous process pre-publication) when you read the final rant.
One of the better gems:
I do, however, object to some anonymous, scrofulous nerd pumping meaningless drivel into cyberspace at all hours of the day and night simply because he can’t find a girl to sleep with him.
These are the sort of w ackos [extra cited space in context with that rigorous editing] who gun down their fellow students at university.
Maybe it’s time the print journalists named and shamed some of the more offensive anonymous bloggers and published their physical addresses.
The last one sounds (in my head, anyway, and my hopes) closer to sarcasm than the others, where a pretty big chunk of the blog population are compared to a crazy (and I mean bat-crap crazy) mass murderer.
The reactive blogosphere has already to begun to swell with commentary. If Bullard’s article was linkbait of some kind, it worked, even if it may not have the long-term effect he (or the Sunday Times) desired.
"Why does it appear that someone didn’t proof that article quote?" asks blogger Rex Duff Dixon, referring to the "w acko" remark.
"I hereby dub this Bullardgate," writes South African blogger Vincent Maher, who believes the comment should not be allowed to stand. "His invective is simply not acceptable from a journalist of the calibre he claims to be."
Questions remain: Was this the product of a journalist feeling threatened? Was it a botched joke, or, as they say in some circles, a brain fart? Or was it a breakdown of editorial oversight?
Lingham suggests it is one of many side effects accompanying a transition from traditional print to the frontier of digital media:
"This is exactly the mentality that is leading to the decline of offline print as a source of information, because the people entrenched in the offline world are so resistant to change, they cannot keep up with the times."