Tuesday 4 September 2012

Do I have to suffer the feeble sensibilities of Noel Ihebuzor?

I am seriously bored with egotists
A few months ago, I wrote a piece titled Nigeria: Let's Do Twitter Sociology For Dummies in reaction to some apparently sociological piece written by a Noel Ihebuzor about issues with social media uses and hierarchies formed on Twitter to abuse and castigate the Nigerian government.
It was my view then that it was quite poorly written but more significantly, taking from his definition of sociology which I reproduce below, I decided by reason of the presumed power relations he identified to concentrate on the characters he created to buttress his views.
The easiest definition of sociology is that it is a study of society – how society is structured, the rules, the norms, codes and convention that govern it and the power relations which sustain it.
Long forgotten, now revived
Recently, even though he has blocked me from interacting with him on Twitter, he has visited that blog and first left a comment that I responded to and then left a treatise that I believe I should publish in full here as a blog.
The fact that he has joined cause with the risible article penned recently by Dr. Reuben Abati is to be expected but I am saddened that I find a seemingly intelligent and learned person unable to comprehend in any clarity what I was writing about hoping I will address the low-hanging and rotten fruit of his original piece.
Comprehension is a difficult thing
Constantly, I run the gauntlet of Nigerians unable to gauge perspective, context or drive despite their supposed knowledge of English, it is unfortunate, but I am quite forgiving. The way we are given to verbosity and the inability to be precise, concise and master some elements of brevity is amazing, I had settled into a coma by the time I got to the 5th point.
Mr Noel Ihebuzor’s ego is bruised by my commentary, his argumentum ad hominem might assuage his pain, and I can’t really be bothered with his emotional state of mind. He simply forgets that comment is free and no permission is required to comment on what has been put out in the public domain. If he was half deserving of such courtesy, maybe, but I will offer his diatribe a space on my blog, when dirty laundry is aired, there is a possibility of freshness.
Would I respond to this? Unlikely.
A long read
The comments appear below:
Noel Ihebuzor: Good try, Mr Akin Akintayo! You successfully managed to by-pass the major issues raised in the article. The omission is deliberate and does not surprise. 08/26/2012 06:05 PM
Akin Akintayo: Mr Noel Ihebuzor, I do not think anyone including yourself should be in any doubt about what I had to say in this blog, your sociology piece was badly researched, poorly written and the only particularly clear thought processes you had in composing your piece were in the names you created of your characters.
I dare say, that this blog was much better researched than yours. 08/27/2012 01:46 AM
Noel Ihebuzor: Mr Akin Akintayo, I have just seen and read your reaction to my short comment on your blog article. I am tempted to ignore it but I will not. So here are few quick reactions:
1.    With regards to your initial article and your puny efforts to engage me in a discussion on Twitter following the publication of the article, let me say that I am still intrigued by how you so quickly came to identify yourself as belonging to the group I describe. Was this a case of a guilty conscience needing no accusation?
2.    The article describes the behavior you belong to and whose norms you clearly identify with. Your attempted rudeness to me on Twitter confirmed that such behavior to be your preferred conduct on social media. For you, such behavior was and is still OK. The article points out the inadequacies (social and strategic) of the same type of behavior, and this makes you feel uncomfortable. Your response is to attack the article and the writer. Such a reaction is understandable. But it is also sad.
3.    You devote 509 words in your blog article of 1303 words to the names I coined to capture the eccentricities of members of your group. Incidentally, these coinages are patterned after the Twitter names of a number of persons in this group you belong to. Please just go to Twitter and check before you commence contesting this.
4.    Let me acknowledge that your analysis of the names is on point for most of them. I am happy you understood what I was trying to achieve by use of those names.
5.    By the way, “air” and “hair” are not homophones. Neither are “head” and “ead”. It is surprising that someone who flaunts his English identity as you do does not know this!
6.    You miss the point on the significance in the choice of “Koko” too in your preference for surface readings. The significance for “koko” lies in its association with a place where toxic materials were dumped at a point in our history. Koko is therefore a metonym that represents the propensity of members of your group to emit outputs that are largely of a toxic nature.
7.    You were also totally clueless with regard to one other name because you were trapped in a mindset induced and conditioned by your primordial language loyalties. So, Mr. Akin Akintayo, how really well researched are you? 
8.    Let me now say that the choice of names was my partly way to reflect the aberrant conduct so typical of members of your group.  Clearly, this section annoys you but does this justify your devoting more than a third of your write-up to it? Or does it bring out realities of your group that you are uncomfortable with? Does it unearth some truths you would rather deny about the mental qualities and attitudes of members of your group? Denial is not unusual when persons are confronted with uncomfortable truths about themselves or groups they belong to. Are you also aware that some people in denial have also been known to accuse persons who present uncomfortable truths to them of being delusional?
9.    The other sections of my article receive scant attention in your failed attempt at a critique – I had expected you to contest the truth values of claims made in them. Should I read your read silence to mean that you accept that the claims I made in those sections are well-founded?
10. Mr Akin Akintayo, your attempt to defend the poor behavior of this group is not very persuasive, and the gloss in “a broad spectrum of expression from measured to intemperate“, though a clever effort to use language to cover up the known tendencies of the group you belong to for incivility is not successful.
11. Rudeness and activist fervor are two different things. Capacity/proclivity to insult and use hurtful language are not the same as courage. Courage has a different color. Activism and negativity are not the same thing.  You and the group you represent will do well to recognize these differences and apply them in your pursuit of your “activism”.
12. Since the publication of my article, reactions by members of your group as well as their activities continue to support most of the observations in the article. Only yesterday, Mr Reuben Abati did an article in the Guardian where he lamented the progressive enthronement of bad manners in the name of activism.
13. You say you see nothing dishonest in the use of the URL for the article as the web address on the profile of the fake Twitter account one of your collaborators created. I am not surprised. Our values determine what we see.
14. Not everyone who points out the deficiencies in the operations of your group is a government agent or a government propagandist. It may interest you to know that I live and work outside Nigeria.
15. We all want change in Nigeria but it has to be change built on the principles of mutual respect, politeness and self-discipline in utterances. Most Nigerians reject change built on a culture of verbal violence, distortions, bullying and intimidation such as you and the group you represent currently appear to be so prone to using and are clearly so proud of.
16. Behaviors by like yours give activism a very negative image. Increasingly more and more Nigerians of your generation are beginning to be fed up with the conduct and methods of your group. The question is now beginning to be asked – are these people really activists or just hirelings of the opposition? Eventually, the truth on this will emerge. It always does. When this happens, your group may be the one at the risk of being put in stocks and pelted with rotten eggs for concealment, dishonesty and attempted mass deception.
17. Finally, can I urge you to review your write up? Some sections will benefit from a re-write to make them clearer and less ambiguous – a good example is the first paragraph under “a sad day for sociology”. What did you want to mean there? Ask any of my former master’s and doctoral students from the early eighties and nineties, and they will tell you that I have always insisted on message clarity in their submissions and term papers. You also make some claims which beg for evidence to back them up. How does the article make a mockery of sociology, for instance?
18. I am not a sociologist. I simply applied tools from sociology to observe, describe and analyze the behavior on Twitter of a community of persons you belong to. I also made comments based on my observations. The fact that the comments are not flattering does not however make them untrue. The fact that you say that they are untrue does not also make them untrue either. To show them to be untrue, you will need to bring forth supporting evidence. I suppose you know that this is one basic principle in research. 
19. As for your claim that your blog is the better researched one, there is an expression that aptly describes such claims!
Incidentally, next time you do a rejoinder to an article, be kind enough to inform the person whose article you are reacting to. It is honest to do, to say the least! It is also in keeping with standard practice. Good afternoon.
By the time you have reached this point, I hope you have not yet called in the emergency services, that was supposed to be a comment but one thing is clear from all this, Mr. Noel Ihebuzor is quite lacking in appreciating the use of the Internet, the essential etiquette required, he is thin-skinned and is unable to engage in discourse that challenges his supposed erudite positions.
I stand by my original views; they are as well presented as they should be.

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