Bowing … scraping … not to offend

Eve made a comment on Twitter about morality and the recent 27 Dinner so I asked for a followed a link to this post on the somewhat dubiously named Moral Fibre blog where a discussion was raging about aspects of the dinner held at the Primi in Melrose Arch last week. For the most part the discussion was pretty typical of a 27 Dinner post-mortem until Roy jumped in with his criticism of the speakers, the facilities and the evening generally. It was a pretty hard look at the dinner and I think it was an important comment (you can find a slightly edited version of the comment on his blog too).

It was good to see Roy express his opinion about the dinner so openly and completely. I wasn’t at the dinner so I don’t know whether his comments were valid but his honesty is valuable nonetheless. Generally I enjoy going to 27 Dinners although there have been a few which have been disappointing for various reasons. The concept of a 27 Dinner remains a great one but there is room for improvement and innovation (and I know Mike and his team are working hard to improve the dinners).

As good as it was to see Roy take Mike and the speakers to task for their respective mistakes, it was a complete let down to then see a lengthy apology posted so soon after the initial criticism. I am not against apologies, I make them all the time, but why apologise for speaking out about these issues particularly where the intention was clearly to provide constructive feedback in the hopes that future dinners would be better?

When I read the usual comments and posts about these sorts of events and how amazing everything is and what geniuses we all are, it reminds me about the old MSN Chat parties I used to attend back in the day (before blogging, yes, way back then) where everyone was known by their chat nicknames and there was anything but authenticity. People pretended to be their online personas and few people were actually themselves, warts and all. In a way this is how I see the local blogging scene generally. Blogging and social media is supposed to be about authenticity but that is not what people really want to see from each other. Sure it is important to evangelise the importance of authenticity when preaching to clients about their next social media implementation or project but deep down, people just don’t want to see that sort of authenticity staring them in the face.

I don’t think Roy should have apologised because some people may have or did feel offended. If his criticism was accurate then I think it needed to be expressed. For my part I attend 27 Dinners to catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while and if there is an intelligent, well-presented talk about a relevant topic then that adds a whole new dimension to the evening. If the talk is more of the same, badly presented or just some background noise then I am probably missing out on an opportunity to really take in some shared knowledge.

Maybe the lesson to take from Roy’s criticism is that there are ways to improve the formula, step up the game a bit and make 27 Dinners even better.

Then again I may just have totally incongruent expectations of these dinners and the formula works for most people in which case, keep doing what you are doing and enjoy.

Either way, Roy’s retraction deflated the impact of his criticism and somewhere out there an authenticity fairy died a cold and lonely death.

Image credit: 27 Dinners Opener by Roy Blumenthal licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license


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Paul
Enthusiast, marketing strategist, writer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad. Allergic to stupid

17 Comments

  1. Hi Paul. After deciding a long time ago to follow pinbacks on my site, the very dubious and ominous Moral Fibre I’ve arrived here.

    No comment about moi? How sad! To the point of Roy’s Retraction, I think it isn’t so much a retraction as it is an adjustment; Mike and Roy know one another and I think that the internet isn’t always the easiest space in which to build upon positive criticism as it is a communicative space sans tone / voice / gesticulation etc. etc.

    Your point on the fear of “authenticity” is a juicy topic you should have explored more thoroughly, I’m inclined to agree with you for the most part the South African blogosphere is littered with masks laying disused after they’ve become redundant. I make the point of using Masks as I’m reminded of Fanon’s writings in “black skins white masks”, it is a covering which protects and serves the wearer in a society which looks upon that particular individual with suspicion. I’m sure loads of bloggers are saying, “fuck thats me, no one understands me”. Tears, snot, self-love etc. I think what is most likely happening is that the blogging space is so competitive that individuals are putting on fronts, creating online personas which are far more glorious than their real-life symbiotic counterparts.

    Take for instance those bloggers entitled “thought-leaders” who are precariously perched on the top of the blogosphere, imagine one of them saying “wait a moment this high horse is making my arse numb, I think I’d prefer to walk” unbloody likely right? So now imagine the group of bloggers in attendance at the 27 dinner turning to one another and saying, “who are you, really?”..perhaps even less likely.

    Its a long comment so perhaps you should continue in a real blog, because now you’ve got my attention, and I’m famous…in margate..Whats that? I think I hear my high-horse calling, the ivory tower calls .

  2. Hi Paul. After deciding a long time ago to follow pinbacks on my site, the very dubious and ominous Moral Fibre I’ve arrived here.

    No comment about moi? How sad! To the point of Roy’s Retraction, I think it isn’t so much a retraction as it is an adjustment; Mike and Roy know one another and I think that the internet isn’t always the easiest space in which to build upon positive criticism as it is a communicative space sans tone / voice / gesticulation etc. etc.

    Your point on the fear of “authenticity” is a juicy topic you should have explored more thoroughly, I’m inclined to agree with you for the most part the South African blogosphere is littered with masks laying disused after they’ve become redundant. I make the point of using Masks as I’m reminded of Fanon’s writings in “black skins white masks”, it is a covering which protects and serves the wearer in a society which looks upon that particular individual with suspicion. I’m sure loads of bloggers are saying, “fuck thats me, no one understands me”. Tears, snot, self-love etc. I think what is most likely happening is that the blogging space is so competitive that individuals are putting on fronts, creating online personas which are far more glorious than their real-life symbiotic counterparts.

    Take for instance those bloggers entitled “thought-leaders” who are precariously perched on the top of the blogosphere, imagine one of them saying “wait a moment this high horse is making my arse numb, I think I’d prefer to walk” unbloody likely right? So now imagine the group of bloggers in attendance at the 27 dinner turning to one another and saying, “who are you, really?”..perhaps even less likely.

    Its a long comment so perhaps you should continue in a real blog, because now you’ve got my attention, and I’m famous…in margate..Whats that? I think I hear my high-horse calling, the ivory tower calls .

  3. Hi Paul. After deciding a long time ago to follow pinbacks on my site, the very dubious and ominous Moral Fibre I’ve arrived here.

    No comment about moi? How sad! To the point of Roy’s Retraction, I think it isn’t so much a retraction as it is an adjustment; Mike and Roy know one another and I think that the internet isn’t always the easiest space in which to build upon positive criticism as it is a communicative space sans tone / voice / gesticulation etc. etc.

    Your point on the fear of “authenticity” is a juicy topic you should have explored more thoroughly, I’m inclined to agree with you for the most part the South African blogosphere is littered with masks laying disused after they’ve become redundant. I make the point of using Masks as I’m reminded of Fanon’s writings in “black skins white masks”, it is a covering which protects and serves the wearer in a society which looks upon that particular individual with suspicion. I’m sure loads of bloggers are saying, “fuck thats me, no one understands me”. Tears, snot, self-love etc. I think what is most likely happening is that the blogging space is so competitive that individuals are putting on fronts, creating online personas which are far more glorious than their real-life symbiotic counterparts.

    Take for instance those bloggers entitled “thought-leaders” who are precariously perched on the top of the blogosphere, imagine one of them saying “wait a moment this high horse is making my arse numb, I think I’d prefer to walk” unbloody likely right? So now imagine the group of bloggers in attendance at the 27 dinner turning to one another and saying, “who are you, really?”..perhaps even less likely.

    Its a long comment so perhaps you should continue in a real blog, because now you’ve got my attention, and I’m famous…in margate..Whats that? I think I hear my high-horse calling, the ivory tower calls .

  4. Hi Paul. After deciding a long time ago to follow pinbacks on my site, the very dubious and ominous Moral Fibre I've arrived here.

    No comment about moi? How sad! To the point of Roy's Retraction, I think it isn't so much a retraction as it is an adjustment; Mike and Roy know one another and I think that the internet isn't always the easiest space in which to build upon positive criticism as it is a communicative space sans tone / voice / gesticulation etc. etc.

    Your point on the fear of “authenticity” is a juicy topic you should have explored more thoroughly, I'm inclined to agree with you for the most part the South African blogosphere is littered with masks laying disused after they've become redundant. I make the point of using Masks as I'm reminded of Fanon's writings in “black skins white masks”, it is a covering which protects and serves the wearer in a society which looks upon that particular individual with suspicion. I'm sure loads of bloggers are saying, “fuck thats me, no one understands me”. Tears, snot, self-love etc. I think what is most likely happening is that the blogging space is so competitive that individuals are putting on fronts, creating online personas which are far more glorious than their real-life symbiotic counterparts.

    Take for instance those bloggers entitled “thought-leaders” who are precariously perched on the top of the blogosphere, imagine one of them saying “wait a moment this high horse is making my arse numb, I think I'd prefer to walk” unbloody likely right? So now imagine the group of bloggers in attendance at the 27 dinner turning to one another and saying, “who are you, really?”..perhaps even less likely.

    Its a long comment so perhaps you should continue in a real blog, because now you've got my attention, and I'm famous…in margate..Whats that? I think I hear my high-horse calling, the ivory tower calls .

  5. Hiya Paul…

    Oooo! I absolutely have NOT retracted a single thing I said in the original comment/critique! As Vince said, my apology was an adjustment. I have apologised for my offensive tone. Which I think is an appropriate thing to apologise for.

    Re the 27 Dinner talks… my critique holds. But there ARE ways to approach offering criticism. And I don’t think it will be easy for people to TAKE my criticique the way it was presented by me.

    My aim in MAKING the critique in the first place was to offer my insight, and to make it useful, so that improvements could take place. What use is criticism if all it does is stir anger?

    As for bloggers being up their own butts… the tone of my comment revealed to me that I was up my own butt too. The apology is my attempt at yanking myself out of my butt by my own bootstraps. Buttstraps.

    Blue skies
    love
    Roy

  6. Hiya Paul…

    Oooo! I absolutely have NOT retracted a single thing I said in the original comment/critique! As Vince said, my apology was an adjustment. I have apologised for my offensive tone. Which I think is an appropriate thing to apologise for.

    Re the 27 Dinner talks… my critique holds. But there ARE ways to approach offering criticism. And I don’t think it will be easy for people to TAKE my criticique the way it was presented by me.

    My aim in MAKING the critique in the first place was to offer my insight, and to make it useful, so that improvements could take place. What use is criticism if all it does is stir anger?

    As for bloggers being up their own butts… the tone of my comment revealed to me that I was up my own butt too. The apology is my attempt at yanking myself out of my butt by my own bootstraps. Buttstraps.

    Blue skies
    love
    Roy

  7. Hiya Paul…

    Oooo! I absolutely have NOT retracted a single thing I said in the original comment/critique! As Vince said, my apology was an adjustment. I have apologised for my offensive tone. Which I think is an appropriate thing to apologise for.

    Re the 27 Dinner talks… my critique holds. But there ARE ways to approach offering criticism. And I don’t think it will be easy for people to TAKE my criticique the way it was presented by me.

    My aim in MAKING the critique in the first place was to offer my insight, and to make it useful, so that improvements could take place. What use is criticism if all it does is stir anger?

    As for bloggers being up their own butts… the tone of my comment revealed to me that I was up my own butt too. The apology is my attempt at yanking myself out of my butt by my own bootstraps. Buttstraps.

    Blue skies
    love
    Roy

  8. Hiya Paul…

    Oooo! I absolutely have NOT retracted a single thing I said in the original comment/critique! As Vince said, my apology was an adjustment. I have apologised for my offensive tone. Which I think is an appropriate thing to apologise for.

    Re the 27 Dinner talks… my critique holds. But there ARE ways to approach offering criticism. And I don't think it will be easy for people to TAKE my criticique the way it was presented by me.

    My aim in MAKING the critique in the first place was to offer my insight, and to make it useful, so that improvements could take place. What use is criticism if all it does is stir anger?

    As for bloggers being up their own butts… the tone of my comment revealed to me that I was up my own butt too. The apology is my attempt at yanking myself out of my butt by my own bootstraps. Buttstraps.

    Blue skies
    love
    Roy

  9. Mmk, I’ve never been to one of the 27Dinners but *perhaps* there shouldn’t be a talk at all!

    Perhaps it should just be about DINNER and a fun, social atmosphere …?

    It seems to me that all these “talks” everyone goes to means everyone feels obliged to always wear their “I’m such a friggin’ genius” mask.

    I may way off base here but I would really love to go to a “do” that’s just about meeting real people.

  10. Mmk, I’ve never been to one of the 27Dinners but *perhaps* there shouldn’t be a talk at all!

    Perhaps it should just be about DINNER and a fun, social atmosphere …?

    It seems to me that all these “talks” everyone goes to means everyone feels obliged to always wear their “I’m such a friggin’ genius” mask.

    I may way off base here but I would really love to go to a “do” that’s just about meeting real people.

  11. Mmk, I’ve never been to one of the 27Dinners but *perhaps* there shouldn’t be a talk at all!

    Perhaps it should just be about DINNER and a fun, social atmosphere …?

    It seems to me that all these “talks” everyone goes to means everyone feels obliged to always wear their “I’m such a friggin’ genius” mask.

    I may way off base here but I would really love to go to a “do” that’s just about meeting real people.

  12. Mmk, I've never been to one of the 27Dinners but *perhaps* there shouldn't be a talk at all!

    Perhaps it should just be about DINNER and a fun, social atmosphere …?

    It seems to me that all these “talks” everyone goes to means everyone feels obliged to always wear their “I'm such a friggin' genius” mask.

    I may way off base here but I would really love to go to a “do” that's just about meeting real people.

  13. Hey Roy, maybe a harsher tone has its place too? Feeling a need for something a little edgier in the local scene lately …

    Sue, talks at 27 Dinners have been great. Not all of them, but some have been. If the standard is raised and speakers are required to really present something good, the talks about turn a social dinner thing into something easily worth the time and Primi cost.

  14. Hey Roy, maybe a harsher tone has its place too? Feeling a need for something a little edgier in the local scene lately …

    Sue, talks at 27 Dinners have been great. Not all of them, but some have been. If the standard is raised and speakers are required to really present something good, the talks about turn a social dinner thing into something easily worth the time and Primi cost.

  15. Hey Roy, maybe a harsher tone has its place too? Feeling a need for something a little edgier in the local scene lately …

    Sue, talks at 27 Dinners have been great. Not all of them, but some have been. If the standard is raised and speakers are required to really present something good, the talks about turn a social dinner thing into something easily worth the time and Primi cost.

What do you think?

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