Mel Cooke and the Problem of Point of View

In which Kei Miller decisively dismantles Mel Cooke’s presumptuous point of view on homosexuals, published in the Gleaner a few days ago. A masterful takedown…read it…

One of the most important points he makes is worth calling out: “To publicly challenge things that are said publicly is not the same as being censorious. To point out (sometimes with vehemence and rigour) how some things can cause offense, or how they might be homophobic or racist or whatever, is not the same as saying that thing should never have been said. That is reductive thinking. Of course I affirm Mel’s right to say what he wants to say, to share *his* point of view if not the assumed Point of View of the Other. But I also affirm everyone else’s right to contend, to debate, to come with new arguments and counter arguments. Isn’t that what discourse is?”

Nuanced discourse is too often missing in Jamaica…certainly you rarely find it in the newspapers…hallelujah for blogs where some of the best critical writing can be had at a moment’s notice.

Under the Saltire Flag

There is a saying in Jamaica – mi throw mi corn, mi nuh call nuh fowl. (I threw my corn, I didn’t  call any fowl). And another one – ‘throw stone inna hog pen, him who squeal a him it lick’. (when you throw a stone into a pig’s pen, the one who squeals is the one who was hit). Both sayings are about words that are aimed and yet pretend disingenuously to have no directions – words that hit targets but then shrug. ‘Oh? Did I hit you? I am so sorry!’

JA-Fowl2

Mel Cooke’s recent article in the Jamaica Gleaner,  ‘Bye-Bye, Boom-Bye-Bye’ did a lot of throwing. He was throwing corn, throwing stones, and throwing word. His target? Oh – the usual of course. Every Jamaican DJ who wants the crowd to go wild, every Jamaican pastor who wants a louder Amen, and every Jamaican newspaper writer who…

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Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

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