Nathan Bond's TART Remarks

Religion: Respect? Ridicule!

Peddling bullshit in the press

with one comment

I have made a formal complaint to the Press Ombudsman about Amie van Wyk’s Godsdiens-aktueel in Beeld of April 28. The complaint could, regretfully, not be entertained.

It is embarassing that a major daily, such as Beeld, can dish up such absolute bullshit – that the dead somehow are not, in fact, dead – to its readers. But then again, it is good business to determine what people want to buy… and then sell it to them. Probably especially if it is… bullshit.

But it remains laughable that adults can think that dead people are not, well, dead.

To be born again is to be born without a brain. That much is clear. Crystal.

Here is the correspondence in the matter.

The complaint – in virginal Afrikaans, no less…

28 April 2008

Die Persombudsman van Suid Afrika
33 Bath Laan
Nedbank Gardens
Rosebank
2196

Per elektroniese pos: pressombudsman@ombudsman.org.za

Beeld. 28 April 2008. Godsdiens-aktueel: Help om vlamme op skip te blus

Amie van Wyk maak ‘n verstommende aanspraak in die rubriek Godsdiens-aktueel: Help om vlamme op skip te blus: dat ‘n dooie vrou, wat grusaam vermoor is, steeds leef.

Die omstandighede van die moord is hartverskeurend. ‘n Liefdevolle en toegewyde eggenoot moet vrede maak met die dood van sy liefling, met wie hy sy lewe sedert die laat vyftigerjare gedeel het.

Van Wyk skryf: “Sy lewe – by die Here. Dis ‘n troos: Sy lewe.”

Van Wyk lieg.

Toe die vrou se hart gaan staan het en sy opgehou het om asem te haal het haar weefsels nie meer suurstof gekry nie. Haar selmetabolisme het begin staak, met een belangrike uitsondering: proteolitiese ensieme het nog vir ‘n tyd aanhou werk. Hierdie ensieme breek selintegriteit af, veral die integriteit van selwande. Haar selle het begin disintegreer.

Toe die tri-ammonium fosfaat in die vrou se bloed finaal verminder het as gevolg van die agteruitgang van haar hart se pompvermoë, het kognitiewe vermoëns verdwyn en haar opgepotte herrineringe wat in die hippocampus gedeelte van haar brein gebêre is het in die niet verdwyn.

Die vermoorde vrou is dood. Normale natuurprosesse sal die oorskot hersirkuleer en daar is geen enkele wetenskaplike bewys dat enige deel van die oorskot of psige na die dood voortbestaan nie.

Om op die blaaie van ‘n vooraanstaande dagblad te beweer dat die vermoorde vrou steeds lééf is leuenagtig, uiters onsensitief en van alle wetenskaplike waarheid ontbloot. Dit is ‘n minagting van beide die realiteit en die kosbaarheid van die lewe. Dit maak ‘n bespotting van die dooie vrou se naasbestaandes en vriende se verdriet.

Op die webblad van Die Persombudsman van Suid Afrika word as volg verklaar: “The rules governing reporting of news and comment are pretty much the same as in democracies around the world where there is press self-regulation. In summary, they say that news shall be reported truthfully, accurately and fairly. It shall be presented in context and in a balanced way without intentional or negligent departure from the facts by distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentation, omissions or summarisation.”

Die rubriekskrywer Van Wyk en die Beeld redakteur moet tot verantwoording geroep word. Dit is verregaande dat daar nie redaksionele strukture by Beeld in plek is om te verhoed dat sulke snert gepubliseer word nie.

Ek stel voor dat Beeld ‘n verskoning publiseer en die feit dat die vermoorde vrou dood is – en nie meer leef nie – onomwonde onder lesers se aandag bring.

Ek stel verder voor dat die rubriek Godsdiens-Aktueel voortaan met ‘n waarskuwing gepubliseer word: Die menings wat in hierdie rubriek verwoord word is gebasseer op mitologiese oorlewering en het nie betrekking op die werklikheid nie. Lesers word gemaan dat die inhoud van hierdie rubriek ‘n verbeeldingsvlug is en dat dit nie letterlik opgeneem moet word nie.

Die uwe

Nathan Bond

_______________

The response, in exquiste English, with apologies for not being in Afrikaans…

Dear Mr Bond,

Please excuse my using English – I’m much more comfortable expressing myself in this language than I am in Afrikaans.

I’ve read your complaint carefully and unfortunately cannot entertain it.

The column you complain of was an expression of the writer’s beliefs and was not a news report. The sections of the South African Press Code that you quote refer to news and comment on news and may not be used to judge a column such as this one. To see the code please visit our website http://www.presscouncil.org.za.

The South African Constitution guarantees each one of us “the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion”. The writer of the column and the newspaper were exercising their constitutional rights. The mandate of this office does not extend to gagging free expression of beliefs.

If you differ with the writer of the column, you may send a letter to the editor expressing your opinions but remember that he has the sole discretion to use your letter or reject it.

You may, within seven days of receipt of this e-mail, ask the Chairperson of the Press Appeals Panel, Judge Ralph Zulman, to review my decision. Please use this address and state your reasons for the application.

Regards,

Joe Thloloe
SA Press Ombudsman

_______________

My reply, in the Queen’s very best inasmuch as I am able…

Dear Mr Thloloe

Thank you for considering my complaint.

I accept your decision and will not ask for a review.

My decision to register a complaint was based on recent actions by editors to terminate the contracts of specific columnists, because the columnists expressed opinions contrary (in the opinion of the editors) to persuasions of readers. I refer, of course, to the termination of Deon Maas by Rapport and David Bullard by the Sunday Times.

I submit that these editors did in fact gag free expression of beliefs, something you are not prepared to do. The scruple does you honour, I daresay.

My argument, sir – and this is indeed the driving force behind my action – is that editors appear to be willing to terminate columns they regard as offensive, or contrary to the generally held opinions of the editorial staff and readers, and that they promote columns that are judged not to be asynchronous with generally held opinion.

Judging from recent editorial decisions in this regard I submit that something is quite extraordinarily wrong in the State of Denmark, to hackney a phrase to the point of irreverence, and that Beeld – the newspaper in question – apparently agrees that the dead are not, in fact, dead. The lack of editorial criticism on Van Wyk’s column dramatically speaks to the point.

Such agnosy, sir, should not be allowed to be promoted by the mainstream press.

Perhaps… perhaps because columns fall outside the reach of your office, they present a lucrative opportunity to sneak mendacious nonsense without the risk of censor?

Yours truly,

Nathan Bond

Written by Nathan Bond

April 30, 2008 at 16:58

One Response

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  1. Your grapes are souer. Allow others a place in the sun.

    Hans Matthysen

    May 8, 2008 at 22:33


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