NCF Panel Discussion – ‘Role and Responsibility of the Writer in Shaping the Identity of a Developing Society’ as Barbadian Poet calls for Censorship

CLARIFICATION

According to Esther Phillips, the launch of an edition of Bim Magazine in November ’08 was covered by the Nation exclusive to its launch. Her Stone Gatherer book had CBC’s Eye On The Arts cameraman present but I only recall seeing small mentions in Advocate & Nation way AFTER the launch. I did this mainly to please both Esther’s & Adrian ‘Amenyama‘ Green’s almost OCD-like desire to deal with… Each. And. Every. Single. Solitary. Point. As. It. Appears.

Sigh, ok – break’s over now! Happy? In future read my sidebars on the front page, thank you!

PURPOSE

It seems my treatise on what happened at Tyrol Cot in July really ruffled feathers both in & out of NCF, however cooler heads prevailed and reasoned any publicity is good publicity – wait for Kadooment and NIFCA to pass and hold a Panel Discussion on how words can mould thoughts!

This is what happened…

CONTRIBUTORS

That night at the Grand Salle these were who braved the arena… Trevor Marshall – Historian; Rob Leyshon – UWI; Adrian Green – Award Winning Poet; John Sealy – Nation Newspaper’s Entertainment Editor; Esther Phillips – Author & Moderated by Wayne “Kool” Simmons of the NCF.

Panel at the Grand Salle

Panel at the Grand Salle

The Role and Responsibility of the Writer in Shaping the Identity of a Developing Society

In the salvos I witnessed when I arrived, Adrian Green sees Poetry and Activism as inseparable. He’s also of the view that a time is coming in Barbados when people must choose sides. This is a rather cryptic enigma cloaked in a conundrum, so rather than pussyfoot like Mr Green, here’s my view on that remark…

I believe he’s referring in part to the land & housing shortage which he possibly feels may create another disturbance similar to 1937 and you better not sit on the fence racially if there is an escalation into a race war – either you are black or white. What happens if rich blacks and whites decide to gang up on poorer counterparts, what side do you choose then?

Rob Leyhson - who directed "Island Voices" cd and the Derek Walcott classic "Pantomime"

Rob Leyshon - who directed "Island Voices" cd and the Derek Walcott classic "Pantomime"

This is a different perspective when compared with Esther who thinks if Barbadians took the time to inculcate literature in their lives once more then many events and situations which can be deemed coarse would be significantly reduced. She also wants to see more Bajan poetry with self-reflection.

Whereas Rob Leyshon feels that poetry is everything and nothing, that not all of it could be construed as ‘Lotus Eating’ especially when one bears in mind that there are politically charged poets such as Martin Carter, Pablo Neruda and even Paul McCartney. Rob admitted the last was added mischievously to goad Trevor Marshall.

He went on to add that poetry should just exist, and readers or critics will politicise them whether they have an agenda or not. Using art as a means of Outrage is one of the oldest gimmicks in the world, according to Leyshon, in his view it is the great artists who choose to disturb their audiences – he cited Russian author Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky stated that an author who’s worthy must present truth in a manner which cannot be evaded.

AUDIENCE AS CATALYST

Brent Shuffler was one of the first to address the panel and he wanted to know why News tended to be either too much or too little? John Sealy stated that in a newspaper one has to be very careful in delivering an opinion or presenting facts and indeed what are those facts, can they be used? This was immediately countered by Rob Leyshon who sees blogs as integral in tracing the genuine underpinnings of a society, which is probably why so many frown on their existence.

Brent Shuffler outside of his regular investor/COB Capacity

Brent Shuffler outside of his regular investor/COB Capacity

Adrian Green got very annoyed at this point and made it clear that he was not there to discuss blogs, yet he stated that words are as powerful as weapons and care should be exercised when using them.

Uh, bub, you realise what you say goes for you too? Or are you in the “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” section of Orwell’s mythic farm?

Thin crowd for an excellent topic

Thin crowd for an excellent topic

Green added that writers should be trained how to write as it is a dangerous tool when released openly without control. While opinion and critical thinking are indeed necessary it should be directed. For my part, this means if he had his way then all I could do is just praise ol’ Amenyama’s poetry and never dare disagree with it – but suppose there are people who feel that way about his work too? Mia Mottley in the past has suggested either Bajan internet or even the blogs themselves should be regulated.

As far as I know, Green has no political aspirations, or this could be deemed potentially lethal. Johnny Tudor after leaving the DLP and seeking favour with the BLP stated that Barbados should be a one-party state! Owen himself sought a four-term mandate which was very likely shattered by the blogs he and Mia so feared… Now, just a few days ago, David Thompson says when elections are called again he wants to go after all 30 seats, is that not a dictatorship? Is that not plotting to decide how people think, act and do? Watch out Mr Green!

There was also another valid question from the small gathering. The lady asked why weren’t winners of Literary contests not given automatic publishing as an incentive to compete apart from a cash prize.

Trevor Marshall sought to answer this question but he meandered throughout the whole Caribbean before really getting anywhere near the issue. He says Barbados has no Mills & Boon nor any publishing house for that matter. you cannot find any Bajan book on a 100 Great calypsos. And he dismissed blogs as pablum! In his view, not internet journals, but Literature is a must. He’s tired of Jamaicans teasing him that Bajans have no books since Lamming.

Query from potential candidate for Risee's "Girl Next Door"

Query from potential candidate for Risee's "Girl Next Door"

Then a gal in the audience sought from John Sealy why was “Girl Next Door” a featured part of the Saturday Sun? While there is much to be desired in massive room for improvement in the dead-tree editions of the media, this is one concept I approve of and have touched on before, so I stated again what I said in my old blog and pushed the fact my website is coming, now true and here in front of you!

I reminded them that Risee Chaderton’s feature takes an ‘ordinary‘ gal – be she skinny or not – and makes her feel and look like a billion Euros, showing how EVERYONE has the right to walk the runways and catwalks and not be a certain size or race to qualify!

CONCLUSION

Nation's Entertainment Editor addressing intimate gathering at FCH

Nation's Entertainment Editor addressing intimate gathering at FCH

In the end, the most compelling summation came from John Sealy, he sees there’s too much squabbling between all genres of Barbados’ Literary Fraternity and there needs to be  more cohesion so as to create a ‘surge’ in schools for appreciating the beauty of Language.

6 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Leff my Girl Next Door yeh! lol

  2. Dear Reader of Ian Bourne’s blog,

    Please be advised that this is the 5th instance that has come to my awareness where Ian’s truthfulness in reporting has been called into question. Two of those instances (including the above article) concern the total and absolute misrepresentation of statements made by me. If not for the other cases I would say he was purposefully lying, in a personal vendetta against me. However, the fact that there is a consistent trend of inaccuracies on a variety of subjects suggests that it may not be personal. The alternative is just as disturbing however. Is it a blatant disregard for facts, truth and accuracy? Does a blog have no responsibility to its readership to be accurate and truthful? Let the blog reader beware then.
    I have tried to speak to Ian about this in person and by phone but he prefers to speak through his blog where he cannot be cross examined. His only offered defense is that it is his perspective. Perspective is one thing, but incorrect facts and attributing statements that were never made to a person is another.
    Congratulations Ian on your ability to get around and cover so much ground and also on the new design of the blog. It gives the image of integrity and high standards. I hope the reporting can someday reflect the image.

    Adrian Green

    **MY TURN**

    Wow! You finally made it, thanks for stopping by… But as I stated in my article Ol’ Greeny, the alleged inaccuracy brush is slapped heavily all over you too! Let’s try your style of response, shall we? You know the routine folks…

    Each. And. Every. Single. Point. Made.

    Please be advised that this is the 5th instance that has come to my awareness where Ian’s truthfulness in reporting has been called into question. Two of those instances (including the above article) concern the total and absolute misrepresentation of statements made by me.

    Based on your venting a rant there, one would tend to think I do nothing but criticise, but Greeny? You need to have your pelt recalled and trade it in for a thicker upgrade… I have praised you and your works. More than once, too! like when you were out by the Spirit Bond with Heru. I also praised you one night when the late Debbie Callender was a guest; plus – how about me recommending your disk as a Christmas gift, adding your e-mail so folks would know how to contact you? The disk which is on sale at your website co-run with Heru – ah, wait a minute! Is that why your knickers are in a knot? Bad reviews may impede funding for the website to continue?

    If not for the other cases I would say he was purposefully lying, in a personal vendetta against me. However, the fact that there is a consistent trend of inaccuracies on a variety of subjects suggests that it may not be personal. The alternative is just as disturbing however. Is it a blatant disregard for facts, truth and accuracy? Does a blog have no responsibility to its readership to be accurate and truthful? Let the blog reader beware then.

    Need to examine the website more, Greeny, look at the sub-section called DISCLAIMER, You also leave out the fact that Iron Sharpen Iron and other spoken word entities in Barbados do not have a “WARNING: EXPLICIT LYRICS, PARENTAL ADVISORY” disclaimer in your flyers and children have appeared at these events with foul speech flying, apart from even the Print Media saying sometimes the rawness can go too far… But that must be your convenient memory, right? Keep those Venture Capitalists a-smiling? Luckily, spoken word interests like Graffiti Verite have a greater sense of responsibility than you, when they sell their DVD’s they let buyers know which is Disney-like and which is unedited! I guess I must praise you only and never dissent, eh, Greeny?

    I have tried to speak to Ian about this in person and by phone but he prefers to speak through his blog where he cannot be cross examined. His only offered defense is that it is his perspective. Perspective is one thing, but incorrect facts and attributing statements that were never made to a person is another.

    You are a great editor, you know that, Greeny? Maybe I should hire you for PR & Editor get two jobs with one salary, LOL! I state how what is said appears to me, and I do recall asking more than once if you are not familiar with film director Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon”? For hopefully the last time, Greeny, I am NOT an official news agency, I’m offering a Man-On-The-Street viewpoint… Like Jon Stewart in “The Daily Show” but again I advise go check my DISCLAIMER apart from the description which greets all when they log on here.

    Congratulations Ian on your ability to get around and cover so much ground and also on the new design of the blog. It gives the image of integrity and high standards. I hope the reporting can someday reflect the image.

    Greeny? Since you’re such a stickler for detail? I PROMISE you! I am going to invest in a recordable MP3 Player ASAP, until then anything you say and do I will leave COMPLETELY alone, ok? So you and your oversensitive ego will be safe until then… But once I have that MP3 Player? I will RECORD all you say and place it on the site for all to judge accordingly and not just simply offer my own PERSPECTIVE, how’s about that Greeny? Happy Xmas to all and to all a good Write!

  3. Ah! Finally I’ve gotten you to engage. This could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

  4. Sorry I had to get vigorous. But at least it got you to respond in a more extensive manner than you did to my last more diplomatic response to your writing. Maybe we can actually have a dialogue. I understand your point about “The Daily Show.” The difference from my “perspective” is that it is obvious that the Daily Show is comedy. Maybe your disclaimer could be more prominent so readers would not make the mistake of holding your blog to the same standards as mainstream media.
    Should the fact that you have praised my work in the past prevent me from speaking up when I am unfairly characterised by you? It makes little difference whether you praise or criticise. I know very well the nature of my work lends itself to critique and I invite it. Not enough people have the will we do to examine and scrutinize which is why bloggers and poets are becoming so important. I don’t expect all to agree, In fact I hope to initiate dialogue. I care only that the discourse is honest, and maintains a high standard of accuracy. And I might add fairness. For example, it would be fair and honest if whenever you report about “foul speech flying” at any open mic event you add that you, yourself, Ian Bourne were one of the perpetrators letting foul speech fly from your own mouth at one of those events.
    I think the mp3 is a good idea. But better yet, we see each other all the time, and I would be glad to personally clarify anything you don’t understand so that you would not have to embellish and extrapolate from your own imagination.
    Maybe we can trade services and you can be my web publicist.
    Thanks for engaging.

  5. I am not going to weigh in on your dialogue with Green, that is between the two of you.
    I think the thing that concerns me about the local writers – much of which in my daily reading comes in the form of newspapers – is there apparent lack of curiosity. We are served facts, without any analysis. One can offer an analysis without taking sides if that is what our reporters are fearful of. Of late I have heard a noted radio journalist saying that Barbadian calls for investigative journalism are really little more than a request for dirt!!. For my one part there could be nothing further from the truth. There are so many stories that are never followed up; take for example the “Justice for Ian” campaign. What happened with that? Frequently, we get reports of private sector investment in the UWI; how does private sector investment at that institution compare with investments at other tertiary institutions?
    Having been a visitor to more popular blogs, I have determined that there is not much there that is edifying for me. Bloggers have a role to play in development for sure, and it can be done without sensationalism and being indecent.
    I have to part company with you on the “girl next door” segment. I would not have an issue if the transformation didn’t almost exclusively portray these young women in very sexualised poses or clothing that is risque. I read several of them and each time I think how could these girls be featured in installations that depict their future goals or current achievements, or doing the things they enjoy for fun? As it stands the ordinary girl is made over (for men) into a still vixen.

Pingbacks

Comments

add a comment

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.