Says Who?

Elsewhere on the blogosphere, She Who Continuously Craps on the Greens was elated and gleeful because columnist Mark Anthony Falzon (MAF for short) had something to say about Sammy Meilaq and Tony Zarb and threw in a comparison with the greens:

And the door of Castille? I think it should be left to Graffitti and Alternattiva Demokratika to play the Reds. They are for the most part mollycoddled University types, for whom rallies are just another bit of fun and a chance to wear their Che Guevara T-shirts. They also have nothing to lose. Unlike, unfortunately, dockyard workers

It wasn’t me who said it” yelled the apologist ecstatically – so it must be right… is the implication. Well not really. MAF is not infallible and in this case all he has done is use a common stereotype propagated by people like DCG in order to drive home a point… not about the Greens but about Sammy and Tony. The point being that the Dockyard workers’ livelihood is at stake and they cannot afford gaffes like announcing all out war in the streets. Ask yourself a simple question: when was the last time the Greens threatened to own the streets and knock down Castille? See… the stereotype works in your mind but not in practice.

The stereotype was useful to drive a point home but unfortunately for Daffers and the rest of the “Get The Greens Out of Politics” crowd it remains just that – a prejudiced stereotype spun by the partisan friendly press.

Incidentally… did Daffers really miss an earlier paragraph in the same article by MAF?

Second, the past 20 years or so have seen the rise of the media as a kind of third estate. Not surprisingly, given that most of the people behind the process were and are paid-up (and paid back) Nationalists, the current government is a master hand at playing the media to its advantage.

It’s not me who’s saying this, is it? Then again, you know what we all think about stereotypes.

37 responses to “Says Who?

  1. Let’s say that the gist of MAF’s article was that the dockyard workers have been unfairly stereotyped and let’s assume that many of us have sometimes referred to them in this unfair manner. Hasn’t MAF signed of by referring to yet another sterotype – of the Greens at the barricades protesting or some barmy reason? As rightly pointed out by Jacques – when was the last time that happened? I find it quite odd to see NGOs protesting for whatever (very valid) reasons described as “crusaders”, the PN Eighties demonstrations as a mass movement fighting for human rights (and water in our taps) but the Greens invariably decribed as a bit beyond barmy or idealistic naifs – whose manifesto is then lifted by the party in government – giving the lie to the belief that they’re all about sandals and hairshirts. Referring to stereotypes ( can’t we do better than the Che Guevara T-shirt please?) may be amusing, but as with all stereotypes, displays intellectual laziness. How long before we start talking about Germans as Krauts, Italans as dagos and Africans as golliwogs? Those are simply other stereotypes…

  2. Mark-Anthony Falzon

    First, let’s distinguish between offensive stereotypes and harmless ones – I don’t recall mentioning wogs and dagos.

    Second, AD are another political party and as such NOT above criticism. Sorry, I honestly don’t see any stereotypes. The Che Guevara T-shirts were very much there and are not my invention; and, regarding the last time AD joined a barmy protest – well, it was the rally I mentioned in my column no? As for Greens being on the whole barmy and naive, yes, sorry, that’s what I think. Their agenda – not to mention that of the positively mad Graffiti – is based on a total misunderstanding of how capitalism works.

  3. fabrizioellul

    well, naive is a much better place than the ‘tree huggers’ of a few years ago (or not?)

    well, of course, it is naive to suggest that AD should be given credit for their consistent agenda of alternative sources of energy policy, divorce, rent reform, liberlisation of transportation…

    providing free bulbs is so much more pragmatic … can you imagine if the Labour came up with something like that? Fredu u l bozoz ta S**** kieku …

    As for the Che- Guevara t-shirts – they are tacky to say the least.

  4. Stereotypes might be a useful shorthand but still smack ofintellectual laziness – as one ends up lumping different groups under the same heading – incidentally as MAF does by linkng Graffiti and the Greens in one barmy pot with crazy Marxist leanings.
    Of course the Greens are not above criticism – no party or group should be – but then again, their reasonable proposals should also be given credit – something which is not usually done even when the party in government (which presumably has a sound understanding of capitalism) lifts them from their manifesto.
    If a party or a person makes sound proposals and suggestions then they should be considered seriously and not dismissed because the person making them has a Che Guevara T-shirt.

  5. David Friggieri

    Incidentally, the truly amazing thing about Che Guevara is that his image has metamorphosed into a consumer good. Even hard-nosed capitalists find it ‘cool’ to go around wearing Che T-shirts these days. And they probably don’t do it ironically. Weird world.

  6. David is right – Che sells – anything from underpants to hairspray. He is now the ultimate symbol of capitalism. So maybe the barmy ones wearing the T-shirt were not doing so because they have any ideas of workers throwing off their chains but because they’re hard-nosed capitalists…

  7. David Friggieri

    ‘Che is everyone’s favourite facial-hair-motorbike-stood-for-some-stuff-but-I-don’t-know-what-it was-and-don’t-really-give-one-check-out-the-beard-man revolutionary Ace…Che’s real name was Ernest which is perhaps not so cool, but who cares when you factor in the whole motorbike thing?’

    (The Encyclopedia of Modern Life, Vol. I)

    Sensing that MAF has a sense of humour, the real question is: Mark-Anthony has a cool beard in his Sunday Times picture byline. But does he drive a motorbike?

  8. fabrizioellul

    the real question is:

    How many times has he watched ‘Motorcycle Diaries’?

  9. Their (greens) agenda is based on a total misunderstanduing of how capitalism works…

    I am under the impression that no one actually knows how capitalism works.

    I see a significant change of emphasis on ‘capilalistic’ ingredients post melting down of the USSR.

    1930s greed came back in fashion and discussion is now afoot as to wether the state should bale out the once mighty.

    So capitalism may work the China way, or the USA way or the Europe way each with its brand of open market, protectionism and robust corruption… yet who really knows how capitalism works? Certainly not Governments.

  10. Mark-Anthony Falzon

    Hasta la victoria siempre.

  11. fabrizioellul

    Always Mark, always.

  12. The terse mock ironic answer from the mollycoddled University type (beard and smug look included =how’s that for another sterotype) baffles…

  13. Mark-Anthony Falzon

    To ‘Mark Vella’ – and only to him (the rest I take in the best of humour):

    My OED defines ‘smug’ as ‘excessively self-satisfied or complacent’. You can blog all the offence you like, Mr. Vella: Next time you see me at Uni (I assume you know my smug look from there), I invite you to say that to my face, you little shit.

  14. Il-Gahan Malti – how’s that for a stereotype for you all?

  15. Raphael Vassallo

    Shits of the world, unite.

    For too long have faecal deposits such as shits, turds, stools, dumps, droppings and dingleberries been stereotyped as contemptuous expletives for the anally retentive.

    Time to face faeces: it’s not just dockyard workers and naive greens who deserve to be treated with respect. Excrement is under-appreciated, and little shits have feelings, too.

    (PS: in case there’s any misunderstanding, my OED defines “shit” as “that which comes out of one’s asshole”)

  16. Mark-Anthony Falzon

    Well said, sir. Siamo tutti nella merda, in un modo o nell’altro. Reds, greens … the brown stuff has a funny way of mincing it all in.

    Regarding your OED, however …

    Oh dear. Never again will I dare desecrate the Greens. Off to do the math for my carbon footprint …

  17. Merde alors…If anything, Mr. Vella is a rather big shit. Certainly not a little one.

  18. I’m not exactly on track here, but Jacques, shouldn’t the title of this post read “Says who?” and not “Say’s who?”. Sorry to be nitpicking but am fed up of eating tofu while wearing this scratchy hair shirt (don’t know who filched my Che T-shirt) and walking through my allotment (organic hemp only) in my Birckenstocks. In order to do away with all this bad karma, I’ll light some joss sticks (patchouli scented) and wrap myself in my tie-dyed kaftan while meditating on the words of some green guru……..

  19. it pains me to see two friends at loggerheads… especially when it’s down to an argumentum ad hominem. i suggest a chess challenge to solve the dispute.

    and oh…. i think mark started so he get’s to play with the red pieces.
    🙂

    chill guys. sorry for provoking the trouble – it was not my intention.

    claire – correction made.

    and how does every conversation turn to shit nowadays. time for “it-tejp tal-bass u hara?”

  20. Mark-Anthony Falzon

    Nothing painful about being at loggerheads Jacques. As long as it’s in the right spirit – as I think it was, apart from Mr.Vella’s offence.

    Two friends? I very honestly don’t know who ‘Claire’ is. In any case, it wasn’t intended to be ad hominem as far as I’m concerned – and I enjoyed the exchange. I’m not too averse to tofu after all, and I’ve been known to burn the odd incense stick (try mogra Claire, it’s better than patchouli – Gopaldas sell it). As for hemp, organic or not, the dried leaves … (REST DELETED – MODERATOR).

  21. MAF, I never saw you at University, as its been a long time now. I just Googled your pic to put a picture to the words. But surely, the offence you’ve taken is far beyond the mark…calling me brown just because I lightly chided you for calling the Greens Reds…you know…

    Weak puns apart, I am simply disappointed by your attitude. As a regular reader of yours, and also an admirer, your latest foray in gratutious criticism, without giving any further justification in this blog, says much about the silent and comfortable mollycoddled intelligensia at University.

    As an example, and also as my pipe of peace, I humbly ask you to elucidate further on the misunderstanding of capitalism by Graffitti and AD. Jacques will appreciate the hits, anyway…

  22. Guzeppi Grech

    Hmmmm….

    Aside from the albeit gratuitist stereotyping of AD, its hard to pick a fight with MAF.

    Mark, that was a blunder, punto e basta.

    Anyone who knows Mark would never call him smug! Actually he’s such a nice guy (or used to be anyhow, tempus fugit), it takes an effort to call him anything!

    Hey Mark, long time no see! Those were some nice days eh….debating moot points and expanding horizons. Have you kept up with the natives Americans?

    Never got to tell you, but here it is: well done mate!

    And Jacque in chess there are no red pieces, unfortunately for your battle-of-political-wits metaphor. Nonetheless, since it’s Black versus White, I’m sure you can fit it within the appropriate parameters.

  23. Guzeppi Grech

    Damn…did I just spell gratuitous wrong..aaaarrrghhhh, can never face my peers now.

  24. Guzeppi Grech

    Mark = MAF..dammit, rushing to print has never ever been a wise choice.

  25. Mark-Anthony Falzon

    TO: Mark Vella

    I too am rather keen on peace pipes. Well, you called me smug, I called you m…., you lit your peace pipe, I’ll take a nice deep puff on mine.

    On AD, I really have no major problems with them. I still think their presence at the dockyard rally was foolish to say the least, but otherwise they’ve contributed much to Maltese politics (I’ve voted AD once or twice, you know). On the Greens and Reds in general I won’t comment lest I cause further offence. Re capitalism, I promise I’ll write something some time soon. In brief, it’s the only system we know so far in which one can work hard and, given a bit of luck, make something out of one’s life. Of course there will be winners and losers, but that’s what makes any game worth playing.

  26. Hekk ħafna aħjar, MAF…nimmaġina ilek iżżuru dan il-blogg u għalhekk taf li hawnhekk ikun hawn diskussjonijiet imqanqla imma dejjem ċivili…u t-tgħajjir niftakar li ġie biss minn persuna oħra, barra int…qisu dan l-aħħar ix-xejra ta’ l-opinjonisti hija li jidħlulek personali, bir-ras u bis-sieq, jekk ma taqbilx magħhom jew tqishom bil-kejl tagħhom stess, jew inkella jgħajruk bil-medda ta’ insulti li tant mogħni bih il-Malti, minn għoxx (spelluta kif trid u anki mingħajr irjus maqtugħa) sa eskrement varju fid-daqsijiet kollha minn S sa XXL.

    M’jien ħadd biex intik parir, ovvjament, imma naħseb għandek tagħżel fuq liema naħa tax-xatba se toqgħod (dejjem jekk ma tridx tibqa’ sserraħ fuqha)…għaliex jew int intellettwali (kif dejjem assumejt li int) jew inkella opinjonista…u l-biċċa li tikteb fiha kull ġimgħa jew tużaha biex tqanqal diskussjoni serja jew inkella biex tolqot miri faċli bħall-AD u l-Graffitti, u b’laqta ħafifa stilistika, tgħarrax għal ftit minuti lill-qarrej. Forsi fuq it-Times ma jinqalax dan il-kjass kollu, imma hawnhekk, fejn għad hemm daqsxejn ħelsien, jaf jinqala’ u…if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    Parparli mill-kċina, mhux fis-sens aggressiv, imma jew tiġini b’argument u niddibattu, jew inkella noqgħodu wieħed ipattiha ‘l ieħor sakemm ngħejew. Nieħu gost li l-istereotip superfiċjali li ppruvajt inqabbadlek (għax ma nafekx, u kull ma rajt ritratt tiegħek – tfakkarni f’Umberto Eco ħafna inqas relaxed – m’hemmx x’tagħmel) niggżek tant li tfajtilna erba’ linji li mhumiex slogans ejja ħa mmorru biex nizzikaw lil min intlaqat b’dak li ktibna.

    Sabiħ li wara li tfat il-ġebla, issa qed turi idek.

    …u hasta siempre…;)

  27. Hi maf

    Re : capitalism, I promise I’ll write something some time soon. In brief, it’s the only system we know so far in which one can work hard and, given a bit of luck, make something out of one’s life.

    I look forward to your opinion with enthusiasm. Tough subject indeed.

    I always marvel at the specific brands of capitalism I encounter in different economies.

    I look upon the Paris economy as being a beautiful example of communist capitalism…smart bus-drivers taking you there on a perfect hour, retiring home by 9.30 pm or exactly on schedule, perfect service and non-service as no entrepreneurial sprit enters to fill the post 9.30 gap…bakeries and mini-markets on each road fitting perfectly ‘demand’, serving perfect baguettes and cakes in between a Tunisian internet cafe or Algerian restaurant.

    There is then the London economy…

    The capitalist high-street is nearly as marvelous and enchanting/kitsch (depending on mood) as the Istanbul Gran Bazaar (only the owners of shops on the Paris main-road do not rise in one roar as those in the Gran Bazaar do to greet every Besitktas goal🙂

    Capitalism, tough subject indeed…I will perfectly understand am element of stereotyping to kick off such as subject as a basis from where to focus on the multitude of capitalistic expressions…

    Take Denmark…oh attard please shut up🙂

  28. Re AD and its presence during the dockyard workers’ meeting: nothing more than further confirmation of what I’ve been saying for the past years, as usual I was proven right by facts ……and by J`accuse’s watermelon image.

    Scambio di battute piuttosto divertente tra l’amico rosso Mark e lo sconosciuto rosa MAF anche se la parte merdosa poteva essere evitata. Come sapete io sono dall’altra sponda dello spettro politico ma non ho mai offeso nessuno con attacchi personali anche se spesso provocato in questo territorio ostile per me.

    Mi aspetto il solito tsunami di risposte incazzate ma ormai sono vaccinato e comunque ammetto che trovo piu` stimolante un contradittorio con un comunista convinto che con un ipocrita DC.

    Saluti amici.

  29. fabrizioellul

    next reunion: Cuba?

  30. Denmark. Now never was a country who have a solid fixation on the environment. They even recycle cow shit.

  31. Hi… re AD…from what I have heard, the party was not officially present…a member attended in his own personal capacity…might not reflect well on the party, granted, but, if this is true, that makes MAF’s claim all the more gratutious, malicious, specious, spurious….(where’s the OED when you need it?)…

    …whilst we’re on the subject of words and their meanings…how about ‘barmy’? Emmy Bezzina, John Zammit, Norman Lowell, Spiru Sant, Richard Sultana, maybe…but calling AD and even Graffitti that is offensive and downright silly…ksuħat…

    Sweet too is the usual caveat: I voted AD once or twice, you know…as in, naħslek u mbagħad nixxuttak jew viċi-versa…just let me tell you that you’re still loveable, even though I’m taking a massive dump on you…

    I’d love to live to see the day when these rookie cutting-edge columnists will have the guts to bite the hands that feed them…

  32. Mark-Anthony Falzon

    Lovely to hear from you Guzeppi – as you say, it’s been a while. I trust you’re keeping well. Should you happen to be at Uni, do please let’s have a coffee and a chat. My office is in Old Humanities 302.

    (Apologies to Jacques to abusing his blog – but I really couldn’t think of any other way of going about this.)

  33. Mark, jien nieżel Malta daqt…issa naf fejn insibek biex ngħidlek dak li għandi ngħidlek f’wiċċek…;)

    (Apologies to Jacques to abusing his blog – but I really couldn’t think of any other way of going about this.)

  34. David Friggieri

    Murder in the Old Humanities Building.

    Qabel il-messagg tas-sur Vella diga’ kont qed nimmagina ragel twil ihabbat il-bieb ta’ l-ufficju 302 to settle the score… It’s got all the ingredients of an internet-age thriller.

    – Come in!

  35. Squadrista! 😉

  36. Hsejjes, indeed. Imagine, just imagine our Sliema, San Gwann, Xemxija etc hills built on the Danish Village model…

  37. Jien m’ghandix ufficju, Sur Vella, imma meta trid ejj’oqghod Londra, u niehdu te fit-tazza, u pastizz fil-pjazza. Jew doner kebab b’dak id-daqxejn nan bread u gazzetta chips.. x’faqa hux, tlett kulturi fi platt wiehed. (Weather not permitting, dejjem).

    Ha neqleb ghall-ingliz (skuzawni, kind misters).

    I don’t know MAF, and I’ll spare him the ”i’m sure he’s a very smart guy”, etc – though I’m sure he is (haq qanni, ergajt!). In reply to his original article on The Times, however, I’d just like to say that I’ve enough AD friends (and more than enough MLPN buddies) to know that “those playing the Reds(?)” are also those least likely to remind me of “mollycoddled University types”.

    Stereotypes are good for remembering things. Points before an exam, for example. Anything beyond that, however, and they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on, if you ask me.

    Hlief ghal dan il-punt ckejken, izda, naqbel mija fil-mija mal-artiklu. Prosit tal-prugramm.

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