Thursday, September 25, 2008

Internet and the Questions of Privacy


The past few days got me thinking about privacy on the internet. No doubt it is one of the main issues in its functionality and relevance. A fellow Nigerian Blogger complained about impersonation. An old friend had to leave Facebook after a few months involvement in its social network. He had come to the conclusion that he was losing his tab on his activities, words and contacts. In short, no more in control. It seemed so easy these days to get lost in this modern world of social interaction. That's why many of us go back to make a deserved re-appraisal. I have cause to agree with my friend - also a Blogger - but still I find myself unable to be so bold. I still can't get my thoughts away from the internet after just a few hours of disconnection.

In a recent publication, it was said that addiction to/demand for internet pornography is now on a steep decline because of the ubiquity of online social networks like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc. Can you believe it? A good thing perhaps, as we are now too busy poking ourselves with imaginary Facebook pens and Yahoo buzzes to want to do a little peeking at naked breasts at Bang Bros.

Here is a recent news report where Aerosmith's frontsman Steven Tyler (pictured) sued anonymous bloggers who had laid secrets of his and his girlfriend's life on Blogspot. And who can easily forget the News Agency of Nigeria's trouble in the past few days when a "hacker" was reported to have sent damaging report about Nigeria's president from one of their dead email addresses?

Two weeks ago, in this same cybercafe from where I write, a malicious virus that displays a .gif image of Kenya's opposition leader cum Prime Minster Raila Odinga on the user's computer preventing them from using it was finally removed. It had been developed somewhere in Southern Africa perhaps by supporters of the East African politician, and sent around Africa in a supposed campaign of solidarity for their perhaps patron. More on the Odinga Virus here.

These are interesting times for privacy - that word that has come to take on a new 21st century meaning that we cannot yet fathom.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Grammatika!

Musicians are not all known to be good speakers of English. But musicians whose language is English, and whose primary audience are English speakers are at least expected to have some mastery of the language. My opinion. And I am fairly sure that everyone would consider Pop icon Michael Jackson a native speaker of the language. How then did the following from his pen get past the scritiny of his many editors and producers into a top hit track?


from I'll Be There


If you should ever find someone new

I know he'd better be good to you

But if he doesn't...

(then) I'll be there

...


My emphasis is on that third line. Look at it again. If he doesn't do what? Elementary grammar shows that verb inconsistent with the preceding "He'd better be good to you", and the most correct alternative would have been "...but if he isn't...", which means "if he isn't good to you, I'll be there."


But I guess it may not make much musical sense now. After all, we're talking about the King of Pop. Perhaps we could write it off as an innocent dialectal variant of American English, if that would sell.


Never mind that it was he as well who wrote the #1 hit single "We are the World" in which the following was also written:


from stanza 2. Note the emphasis, mine


As God has shown us by turning stone to bread

And so we all must lend a helping hand


God of course never turned stone to bread. At least not in any written scripture I know. The closest was when Jesus was tempted by the devil. He was teased to turn stones to bread so as to ease his hunger from fasting. In another instance, Jesus himself multiplied some loaves of bread to feed a multitude. The only thing he turned, I think, was water - into wine. So where did Michael and Lionel Richie get their "stone to bread" from? We could find more of such examples if we tried to pay more attention to the lyrics of the songs we hear.


But don't mind me, I sometimes let my critical faculty dwarf my appreciation of an otherwise beautiful work of art.

The Blogger is Back!

The Blogger is Back!

I admit, it has been a while since I posted anything worthwhile here. I even (selfishly, I agree) took the blog off the net for a few months. Let me apologise for this, and thank all those who asked, and those who kept checking up for new updates. There are many roads to be trod.

The blogger, however, is back, and he'll be here for some time. This blog might undergo changes, but it will remain.

For those who want to know, an alter ego of this blogger has been writing and commenting on news issues in Nigeria and beyond on a Citizen's Journalist website called InstaBlogs.com. More on this later. You can read past and current articles at www.igwatala.instablogs.com

Enough now. Gotta run.