The discourse in the Kenyan onlines is, in my opinion, largely wanting. If you go to the comments section of a good number of online Kenyan publications, you will notice outpouring vitriol. Many a times, you will notice an attack on the person of the writer rather than a sober analysis of the content itself.
Yet, I think it is the very writers who in no small way attract this reaction from the readers. As moderators of the discussion, they should in some way be able to see how their phrasing of content will stir their readers’ emotion, aye?
From where I am standing, it looks like a trend is growing whereby writers are taking a moral high ground from where they ‘give it to their readers straight’ like the divine priests of morality. It could be a strategy, after all we are in the pay-per-click era so what kind of response you draw is not especially consequential. I don’t know why it is being done, I just see it happening.
If for example you write in your piece that ‘You would be a fool not to see that…’ how much room for disagreement do you leave for the reader? Doesn’t it mean that any attempt to hold a viewpoint that conflicts yours automatically qualifies the reader as a fool? I have seen engineers who draw perfect circles freehand but still at times have to add 5+3 by the count of their fingers. Halfwits, huh?
Silas Nyanchwani, in his article ‘spare-wambui-your-shallowness-and-dont-hate-on-bob-collymore’ for Standard Digital, calls his reader ‘Shallow’ (and gives a subtle pass for infidelity). In her article ‘Frogs in the river,’ Ella says of her opinion of Kikuyu women’s enterprise, …and you can never dispute that unless you are a fool or you literally do not know… Njoki Sege has a full cabinet of those, let’s not go there.
Instead, let us look at Nyanchwani a little. The good writer Silas has in his latest article said ‘Human beings are human beings. There are bad people everywhere. If you look through your family tree you will see bad people there. You probably have a man whore in your family. You probably have badly behaved female cousins, single mothers, divorcees, etc.
Some of these things we accuse Kikuyu women are not exclusive to them.’
In another article, ‘Mukimo is a lazy and bad food, period,’ Nyanchwani took the liberty to scandalize Kikuyu cooking piecemeal. All Kikuyus to Nyanchwani were bad cooks and poor eaters because all Kikuyus he had met were not able to ‘sit to enjoy and appreciate a meal.’ Are there some stereotypes to be held and others to be buried? Give us a list please, good sir.
Or what happened? My two guesses: That first article was published in October 2014, around year and a half ago. A man’s wisdom grows with age and as such he may let go of some beliefs he holds as time goes by, or, two, click, click, click.
Back to course. Mine is just a simple request to writers out there. If we are to have an online discourse, let us leave each other the space to get into it.