Megaphones – The Old Term
Some time ago, I wrote a piece on megaphones on Twitter, constantly repeating and retweeting the same mantra time and again, hoping that people – especially journalists would listen to their plaintive cry. At the time, the big issue was Ashbygate and the actions of Mal Brough. In October this year, 2 years and 8 months and still certain sections of Twitter accuse me of various Twitter crimes :
Thing is, there was always something fishy in the James Ashby case. I never said that there wasn’t – not in a blog post, not on Twitter. And as we are now seeing, Mal Brough’s career is now in serious question. The point I was making in 2013 was never that there was “nothing” in the Ashby matter. This is what I said at the time – that people were tweeting constantly about
the failed actions of James Ashby, the fact Malcolm Brough is managing to avoid all journalists
That’s it. Not me “making a political decision on a legal matter”. I was making an observation of the use of Twitter as a communication tool. I still believe now, as I did in 2013, that the constant shouting on the net about that one issue could the impact of lessening the effectiveness of campaigning on a broader range of issues. I also questioned the significance of it in terms of broader governmental issues. It certainly had an impact on the wider credibility of a number of twitter users who cashed whatever Twitter capital they may have developed by becoming people who just continually repeated themselves about that one thing.
But really, for what end? Even now, if the Ashby case causes the downfall of Mal Brough, then it will call into question the wisdom of Turnbull of promoting him – which it should. It was a very poor call based on, most probably, reward for his actions to get Turnbull into the leadership. The questions, however, will last probably about a week in media circles and will barely make a blip outside Twitter. It may lead to the LNP in Queensland preselecting someone else for Fisher next year. But that’s probably about it. Does anyone seriously believe that it will bring about the downfall of the Turnbull Government, as these megaphones fervently hope it does?
It is the case, though, that these same megaphones such as the ones quoted above will continue to believe that I wanted the Ashby matter to disappear completely and for Brough to get away with his alleged crimes – no matter what I say or actually believe.
A New Term Has Come – The Vuvuzela
I realise, now, however, that megaphones is possibly the wrong metaphor for these people. I was thinking of people outside rallies and union pickets, saying the same thing and the message losing its effectiveness over time. I think the better one was given to me by @aegnor74 – they are Vuvuzelas, those trumpets we heard continually at the World Cup in South Africa. They buzz the same indeterminate note continually and annoyingly.
Three Easy Ways to Flush Vuvuzelas off your Timeline
The constant negative and often nasty reaction to my megaphone piece has led to me over time, working hard on making sure that these people are cleansed from my timeline. There’s a few crucial steps to take.
1. Unfollow the minor vuvuzela players
It’s easy enough to identify the minor level vuvuzelas – they RT the simplistic bald statements and slogans created by the major vuvuzela players, like Geeksrulz, the Finnigans, Kiera Gorden, Chris Kenny, Coalition Tea Lady, Correllio, Miranda Devine, et cetera. If tweets from those people appear in your timeline, just find out who RTed and bang, unfollow.
2. Encourage vuvuzela followers to unfollow you
I have had a fair few vuvuzela followers, who think I’m there to provide them with empty slogans to RT. When they realise that I don’t fit into that category, they turn on me and blare at me with great speed and volume. I challenge them and discuss the grey areas of particular issues, which makes them usually declare I’m “disappointing” and then unfollow me. Sometimes they need a little push, such as me criticising some kind of unsupported and/or baseless feelpinion they have expressed.
3. Challenge the Assertions of the Leaders of the Vuvuzela Squadrons so they do a high dudgeon block.
Sometimes, the first two methods don’t work to really rid your timeline of such noisy people. To rid your timeline of vuvuzelas quickly, you need to respond to one of the leaders and ask them for greater analysis of why it is that constantly repeating the same dumbed down lines and shouting for permanent activism will actually work. Press hard enough, and they will accuse you of being an operative for “the other side” and do a high dudgeon block, such as this.
The thing that happens after such moments is that is piles of people, usually of baby boomer vintage, who have either followed you or not, just blare their vuvuzelas at you. Like this strange exchange from someone who has never followed me or interacted with me.
But what of Turnbull and the Vuvuzelas?
If you want to see how they are switching their campaign for Turnbull, have a look for the Squadron leaders on opinion sites and see their direction. One such leader, Van Badham, is now working for the Labor Herald and we can see her working hard at making Malcolm Turnbull into the new Evil Enemy. Fair play to them – it’s their desire to see the LNP be replaced by the Labor and Greens, so why change a strategy that they think works.
These observations aren’t here to suggest that Turnbull is running a great government and is flawless – far from it. There’s serious flaws, such as the Brough decision, and the dogged, ridiculous insistence that coal is good for humanity and the economy that needs close focus each week. Still not sure, though, that the shouting method works, and the propensity for Turnbull to turn away from the cheap slogan and populist simplification complicates matters. There is, though, still some fun and games for the old vuvuzela crew – the Onion Boys.
Nothing gets the vuvuzelas more excited than whenever one of the Onion Boys starts making noises. Whether that’s Andrew Nikolic talking about taking away liberties; Kevin Andrews taking potshots ; Cory Bernardi deleting his tweets ; Eric Abetz justifying the use of racist language or all of them continuing to complain about the way things were done in the spill and whingeing about post spill life – not least of all, the Big Onion Man himself. The vuvuzelas just remember the old days and the way the Onion Boys just said things so stupid the slogans just wrote themselves.
And really, weren’t they just the best days, the salad days of brutalist politics? The vuvuzelas exist to remind us of those simpler days.