By Maynard Manyowa
A picture with mind-blowing claims that MDC-T spokesperson Linda Masarira was soliciting money for an abortion has been doing the rounds. What is mind-boggling has been the troops that have invaded the social media space bashing Linda and celebrating her “misfortune”.
We can be so gullible at times. I wonder if its deliberate.
Surely, a half hearted interrogation would establish brute facts.
Or is it that misfortune, albeit fake, false and manufactured, brings some joy when it visits perceived enemies?
I get that we have depraved individuals who manufacture content, facts, events, conversations and even posts, for the purpose of injuring the dignity of other people. It represents cheap points.
But i have always thought, given how smart we purport to be as a people, we would know that a statement does not suddenly become true because it has been said and then echoed by others?
Saying Linda needs money for abortion and Linda actually needing money for abortion are different things altogether 🤷🏽♂️
Its the same as the time when Robert Mugabe was wished death. Despite the stories. The innuendo. He always returned to rule Zimbabwe with his cold iron right fist. Not once did the death wish translate into reality.
Whilst many may celebrate a lie, as it represents some form of misfortune, in reality the misfortune is an act of fiction and will never walk this earth the same way Superman will never walk the streets with mutant powers.
The same goes for any other massaged or manufactured “fact”. It may pacify hordes of followers but in reality it does not reflect what is on the ground neither does it change anything at all.
I mean if you want to injure someone’s dignity, why not hit them with a cold hard fact?
Why desperately clutch onto a fabricated lie when it clearly does not represent any meaningful harm to the person you despise?
Imagine, if you one were to say i am a monkey or a baboon. Or go further and claim my spouse(s) are having extra-marital relations.
Whilst you may receive cheers, the truth of the matter is that the two would be senseless and meaningless. Its common cause that i am not a monkey nor a baboon.
Something that is false is inherently meaningless. It cannot cause reasonable offence to a thinking person.
Do you recall when the Constitutional Court threw out Douglas Mwonzora’s case? He was arrested and dragged to the courts for calling Mugabe a “goblin”
In passing judgement, the then chief justice, the late Godfrey Chidyausiku, questioned if Mugabe or his office really suffered any harm from being called imaginary names?
“The President is not a goblin and we all know that. You have to be an imbecile to believe that the President is a goblin,” the Chief Justice said
On the same day of the Mwonzora case, the court heard another case, of a girl who was accused of being in possession of Mugabe’s nude pictures. That case was thrown out too.
The court was incensed that prosecutors had brought such a matter to court. The reason being that the so called image of Mugabe naked was a photoshopped image.
It was clear, the court said, that there is no way the girl would have had access to Mugabe’s nude pictures, and that the so called picture was computer generated.
“It can’t be true. Where would any person get the picture of the President in the nude? The charge does not make sense. You charged the girl with something that does not make sense!
“ said Luke Malaba, who is not the current Chief Justice.
The point i am making is that, something that is false is meaningless and senseless and therefore cannot possibly be thought be harmful.
It just makes one wonder then, why someone can go to great lengths to believe something which is meaningless and celebrate it – despite it causing no obvious harm beyond social media hullabaloos?
I do think, to a large degree, we have seen a rise of polarized trumpism.
Writing on Tito Football, my friend here Richard Jolly had this to say about conspirators.
“Self-appointed spokesmen – and they are rarely self-appointed spokeswomen – now have a certain status; in some cases a profitable one as the voices of unreason, as they pursue work from the media outlets they otherwise sneer at.
It suits their purpose to construct imaginary agendas against their clubs, inventing enemies where none actually exist. In the process, as Tyler’s experience shows, they traduce the reputation of professionals, impugning their integrity and, were their grievances to be taken more seriously, threatening their livelihood.
They display an attention-seeking narcissism in worlds of extremist writings, constant commentary and guaranteed retweets, as though fearing that a period of silence would mean they would lose control of their own narrative.
They indulge in needless whataboutery, using false equivalence to create fake narratives about other clubs being granted preferential treatment.
They create the pretence that the achievements or excellence of their team or players are being overlooked, furthering the idea they are the sole arbiters of truth.
They propagate a fabricated notion of moral superiority about themselves and their club while living in a state of permanent rage, inciting hatred.
It is anger, not analysis, attacks and abuse, not understanding and explanation. They may not directly insult those who disagree with them, but they contrive to convey the message their followers can.
They can marshal armies of idiots, the one-eyed who have populated the cyberlands where the visually impaired have crowned themselves kings.
They appear either incapable of independent thought and impartial analysis or afraid to demonstrate it, less their base will disagree.
They demonstrate the hypocrisy of the absurdly prejudiced accusing others of bias, safe in the knowledge the likeminded will rally to their cause, and disparage anyone who does not toe their party line.
They are reprehensible figures who, judging from the way their profile has mushroomed in recent years, are probably here to stay.”, he said.
Of course Jolly was talking about football in strict terms, but the phenomenon originated outside of football, in politics to be specific, albeit American, but as we see today, it has found itself a garden to mushroom, in our country and on our social media space.
Lamentably, and as i stated earlier. We love to strut on the big stage about just how smart we are as a people.
Yet from the evidence available, multitudes of people are willing to peddle outright falsehoods about people they dislike, safe in the knowledge that, there is a constituency out there that is unbothered about it and willing to consume and celebrate what are essentially meaningless and harmless blows, outside of their imagination. A people willing to throw a party over what are works of pure fiction. 😐
– Maynard Manyowa is a journalist, and the roving Editor of Online Investigative Newspaper Khuluma Afrika.