In defense of John Robbie

Let me first admit that John Robbie is not my favorite person. He is not even my favorite presenter on 702. He will never be a cunning linguist comparable to Stephen Grootes, nor a mass debater on par with Eusebius Mckaiser. He lacks the je ne sais quoi of Redi Thlabi and the elan of Xolani Gwala. He is, in short, something of an anachronism.

He persists with that Republican ragamuffin on the US Report and spews the sponsored content with a verve unbecoming of a serious thinker. I have often screamed at my radio “I bet you voted for Maggie Thatcher,” even as I knew that was impossible and unlikely.

And yet…

I have seen John change his opinion. On global warming. On racism. On gender. On everything except technology. I have seen an older (than me) white man change his understanding of the facts as his knowledge of the facts changed. I think it gathered steam when his first grandchild was born. We all become aware of our legacy when another generation eclipses us.

Now I am on his side. His questions may be awkward as he gropes towards the known. He still makes me cringe on occasion, but I cannot deny his desire to understand. I cannot help but admire his team sitting with him in the hours before dawn talking carefully through the issues at hand. I am certain that he is sometimes still the bombast. I am sure they still shake their heads on occasion. It is not always easy walking in the valley of the shadow of 4 am.

To those actually affected by the issue of being black while being educated, to the black girls with hair, to everyone who stands with all of you: You are right, I hope you win this fight.

To the rest of the Twitter lynch mob that went for JR. I see you all, ephemera. Do you think for one second that I could not dig up the dirt on any one of you, were you worth more than one second of my time?

Do you really believe you are of any more significance than the millions of trolls who threaten women with rape and murder? You whorebaggers who calculate which side of an argument you should be on this time? You prudes who think self-righteousness will shield you from the slings and arrows of reality? You content miscreants who choose to boost your pages or profiles by excoriating a well known name? You holy degenerates?

To you: please sod off. Your piety will not save you in this world or the next. Your clamor for compliments does not justify your existence. You will not get laid because of your tweet. Ninety percent of you never even heard the interview, you unconscionable sycophants.

I hate agreeing with John Robbie, but Twitter has become an idiocracy and Facebook is seldom any better on anything political.

My domestic worker’s daughter has gone to school with many different haircuts. Cornrows, Afro, short cut hair. Not once did it occur to me that the fascist shit I dealt with as a strange white kid still applied. Now I know and I will ask her. The basis for that conversation will not be the incoherent crap of the Twitterati or the insouciant arrogance of Eusibius. It will be the honest questions of Xolani and John and the – albeit sometimes inchoate or incomprehensible – answers of the people that spoke to them.


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