Is The Articulate Minority A Bunch Of Simpletons?
The recent uproar over Culture Minister Lisa Hanna’s Instagram picture would answer that question in the affirmative. It’s almost impossible to believe that those who set themselves apart as the paragon of intelligence, reason and enlightenment could become so distracted by a woman, admittedly a stunning one, in a bathing suit. If the articulate minority ever intends to be taken seriously, it cannot be that our articulate voices are used to breathe life into such trivial things as what a Minister wears on the beach. This is especially true if the particular Minister is just barely getting by and, despite her best efforts to convince us otherwise, seems to have left much of Youth and Culture to chance. Sadly, like a child who becomes fascinated by a shiny object, we have been seriously distracted. We are evidently simpletons, not worth taking seriously.
Source: Hannah’s Instagram Page
As I reflected on the “swim suit controversy”, it occurred to me the reason that Minister Pickersgill could “tek libatty” is because this vague grouping which has so enthusiastically taken on the moniker “articulate minority” does nothing more than talk; and by itself that might have been fine, but the group is often talking about the wrong things. Or worse, talking about things that affect only their privilege and lofty ideals. To be sure, I do think there is value in having a group of citizens who actively speak out against the abuses of government, but what is the agenda being set? And what is the extent of the general buy in? Robert Pickersgill understood perfectly well the fact that the general population cares zero about most of the things the articulate minority takes on. And why should they?
How exactly does pontificating ad nauseam about the propriety of beach wear advance the cause of national development or any other cause for that matter? Those of us online should have ignored the misguided attempt of the Daily Gleaner, Loop Jamaica and any other news outlet that sought to distract us from the issues that really matter. The Easton Douglas led NHT Board still sits, A.J. Nicholson’s crudeness has gone unpunished, the Prime Minister still demonstrates a painful level of incompetence, the Minister in question has presided over a Ministry in crisis, and nearly half the Cabinet has nothing to show for the three years they have been maintained by our money. Those are the things we should be articulating on. Let’s talk about that. Let’s set the agenda and demand that the media follow suit, rather than be led astray by editors seeking to sell papers by peddling gossip and triviality. That we would spend any time on this only betrays the extent of our simplicity.
Source: Jamaica Observer
For better or worse, the articulate minority has set itself up as worthy of respect and recognition, but which self-respecting Minister or government official would care about the opinions of a group that allows a woman’s bathing suit to dominate the online conversation for all of three days? In those three days the Prime Minister has moved against the members of her party who have used social media to break ranks with her questionable decisions. Shouldn’t the articulate minority have something to say about a Prime Minister who muzzles social media expression because it is critical of her? If we continue to major in the minor, we will vindicate Minister Pickersgill and all those who have similarly dismissed us.
It is perhaps entirely possible that I expected too much of the “articulate minority”. After all, this is the group of people that will stay away from the polls when the general elections are called; the same group with the short memory, the one content to suffer fools quite easily – having suffered the lot of them for the last three years. Put simply, this is the group prepared to talk a big talk, but will not even be bothered to register to vote and make a real difference. Perhaps the active and strident responses to Pickersgill gave me hope that something would change, but then to hope for change is to ignore our affinity for nine day wonders, isn’t it? My naivety may be just as bad.
Well done Ms. Hanna, well done. Carry on simpletons, the Minister’s bathing suit is still open for public viewing.