Media

When I was a spy – part two

As instructed, I kept my alter ego secret — in fact, few people today have any idea I was once a secret agent. Let alone what a bad spy I was. Six weeks after the hurly-burly of starting a new life in a new world, I was contacted at Jan Smuts House and two colleagues…

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White writers writing black characters – a form of literary blackface?

White South African writers who create black characters are often challenged about the authenticity of their writing. If their main protagonist is black, this challenge intensifies, and if they write in the first person, it intensifies further. There is something particularly intimate about first-person narrative. It gets under the skin of the character in a…

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The fading beat of Drum magazine

Drum was the only magazine when the winds of change were blowing through the African continent in 1957. It celebrated its 60th birthday recently. The best talent available in the urban South African community was, like moth to light, attracted to the charismatic power of its visionary and prophetic founder, a Mr Jim Bailey. It…

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I’ve got Bieber fever!

Radio Jacaranda has been running a competition which entitles the winner to four tickets to the Justin Bieber show. All the wenners have to do is SMS their phone numbers to the station and if they call you back you have to answer by saying “I have Bieber fever”. Then, if you’re a man, you…

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It is all The Media’s fault

It is The Media’s fault for tarnishing South Africa’s image. If it was not for them the world’s wealthiest people would be investing all their trillions here. Even the local investors would invest in their own country. If it were not for the bloody media we would not know about any of this: What Safa…

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The slow descent into social media’s superficiality

I think I know why social media is good for everyone. I just think I do, but don’t really. Besides being a vehicle for sparking Arab Springs, social media is first with the news and enhances your brand if you’re a journalist, editor, social commentator or political analyst. In fact if you’re none of these…

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Alcohol in Australia: Some observations

So we’re facing the prospect of something that the advertising industry has been fighting for years: the banning of alcohol advertising. Having just visited one of the great nanny states, Australia, I thought it would be interesting to share some observations of how alcohol issues are handled there. The fact that I was able to…

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HarlemShake1

The Harlem Shake and Western illusion of freedom

Co-authored with Arsalan Khan When five teenagers in Queensland, Australia, uploaded a video of themselves dancing to a short excerpt of Baauer’s song Harlem Shake it immediately went viral, garnering some 400 million views and spawning well over 100 000 copycat versions. Critiques of the fad thus far have pointed out that it looks nothing at all…

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The shopping mall as consumer architecture

Referring to the moment, in Plato’s Symposium, where the lover supposedly beholds a completely disembodied, atemporal “beauty”, in the process conforming to the character of this abstraction, Kaja Silverman says (World Spectators, 2000: 10): “This deindividuation of the look represents a crucial feature of the process through which Socrates negates phenomenal forms. This is because…

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The Oscar Pistorius case: Time magazine is wrong, Lulu is right

Two mainstream media companies have turned the Oscar Pistorius case into an opportunity to ruminate on the perils of post-white rule. Time magazine and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) have both in their recent coverage used Pistorius’s defence to weigh in on the South African “culture of violence”. It is notable that these media companies…

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