Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The power of words to the power of Boo

As soon as I finished laughing which took a long time I actually started to feel sorry for Grubby Davis. He took a ribbing from the Fiji Freedom Bloggers the other day and, like a petulant child, instinctively began lashing out in my direction. He has now been reduced to quibbling about spelling misteaks and has accused me once again of having skills well beyond my actual talents. Alas, I have only words to offer. Some scholarly analysis. Maybe a well-crafted jibe from time to time. Once in a while I'll throw in an outright insult. The power of pictures, on the other hand, takes the power of words to another level. That's where the Bubu comes in. The Discombobulated Bubu, to be exact. She is a Fijian of my acquaintance. More than that, I should not say. Since I relocated back to Canada, we communicate mostly by email. Where I think in terms of words, the Bubu thinks in terms of images.

Illustration by Edge
For example, when I posted my screed dissecting the Fiji Sun last week, the Bubu decided it needed some dressing up. I think you'll have to agree that the illustrations added a certain something. I first became aware of the Bubu late last year, at the height of the Davis-led smear campaign designed to rid Fiji of my media criticism and advocacy for press freedom. (Which has obviously worked out well for them.) The satirical letter writer Truncated Lounge began sending his hilarious Shazzer & Grubby missives to hundreds of Fijians by email in October. Bubu was the first blogger to reprint the fictitious love letters between Davis and MINFO chief Shazzer Smith-Johns the next month, adding some hilarious illustrations. This was a significant development for the Bubublog, which had been dormant for five months by then. Discombobulated Bubu was part of the first wave of Fiji freedom blogs which appeared in early 2007 to protest the clampdown on media freedom that followed the Bainimarama coup of late 2006. By sheer technological serendipity, the desire of stifled Fijians to speak out against the repressive regime was enabled by new online services, such as Blogger and Wordpress, which offered free hosting of personal "web logs," or blogs. Bubu's initial blog entries in March of 2007 were simple heartfelt protests against the police state that began enveloping Fiji, such as troops being stationed in newsrooms and government offices. Her outrage has been emblazoned across the top of her blogsite ever since.
Inspired by Intelligentsiya I am joining in Fiji's fight to retain our freedoms of choice in life - before we know it our freedoms will be taken away and what we take for being normal is really not. We must guard against this at all times and fight to retain what can never be suppressed! A government that knowingly and deliberately violates people’s rights loses the moral authority to demand obedience.
The first illustrations began appearing on her blog the following month and betrayed a wicked sense of humour. After more than five years of fighting, however, the Bubu blog fell into silence last year until being revitalised by the Shazzer & Grubby letters. She illustrates the hilarious letters with even more hilarious Photoshop work, usually giving everyone (except me) Big Hair. She also now reprints some of my blog posts and some news stories on Fiji politics, all of which get the inimitable Bubu illustrations. So far this month she is averaging almost a post a day, whereas until this year her entries have rarely numbered in the double digits a month. As part of this burst of energy, she also provides art for other Fiji freedom blogs, such as Coup 4.5, which ran her poster accusing Grubby of propaganda alongside a dandy depiction of Bainimarama's infamous cassava patch dash to escape his own mutinous troops in 2000. Needless to say, Grubby was unamused, actually accusing me of being behind the artwork.
Dr Edge posted this pamphlet on his widely unread blog site a full day before it was circulated on other anti-government blogs. We actually suspect that he may have been the author, given his uncorrected use of the word “traversty”. This guy is meant to be a journalist educator, or a journalist “scholar” as he so grandly describes himself. Yet clearly spelling is not his strong suit.
This echoed his accusation last November that I was Truncated Lounge, which may have actually put my safety at risk until regime types could be convinced that I had nowhere near the knowledge of Fijian politics required to write such biting satire. When that theory didn't fly, Grubby took me to task the next day just for forwarding the letters, which I could not deny. Now he thinks I'm an artist? And let me get this straight he points for proof of this to the fact that I can't spell? This is one of the worst applications yet of what I have come to call Grubby logic. Davis suffers from his usual shortage of facts and simply fills in the blanks with assumptions designed to suit his own purposes. Here's what actually happened. Bubu sent me the poster last week. I loved it and asked if I could post it on my blog. I pointed out that she had misspelled the word "travesty" and suggested she correct it while I posted the misspelled version. That's no doubt where Grubby spied it first. By the time it showed up on Coup 4.5 a few days later, I had received the corrected version from Bubu and posted it on my blog. Unfortunately, the version that was posted on Coup 4.5 was the original uncorrected version. That led Grubby to burst forth under the headline "Yet another 'traversty' of the truth." But wait, Grubby wasn't finished yet. He managed to wade even deeper into his own doodoo. After deleting a few nasty comments that I and others posted on his blog entry, Davis obviously went back to my blog to double check, only to find that the misspelling had been corrected. What he didn't realize was that the correction had been made long since. In Grubby's mind, it was only because he had pointed out the error.
Wouldn’t you know it? Within minutes of the publication of this posting, Marc Edge has changed “traversty” to travesty on his own posting. Which proves that he was the original author. . . . Pity you can’t change the version published here, which will stand as a testament to your ignorance.
So I obviously can't win with Grubby. From being an eagle-eyed editor who catches other people's errors, I have somehow through Grubby logic been rendered ignorant. But it's good to know that we are getting to him. He wouldn't be issuing such Grubbysplutter if we weren't. Bubu herself has now set the record straight, having been prevented from doing so on the Grubbyblog. "I alone traversed that poster," she admitted. "I have also sent that poster to every single Editor of every single major newspaper in the world, so they may may take a look at Grubby's claims of journalistic independence." I am sure that Grubby will emerge from this noisome misstep, as usual, smelling like a nose. At least in his own mind.

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