Growing up in Northern Ireland was a poor lesson in Irish history. Even in my catholic maintained school we didn’t learn much about recent history but concentrated on the Norman Conquest and the Famine. As Liam Neeson says on the “Michael Collins” movie web site:
“”I’m from the North of Ireland,” continues Neeson. “In my history books at school, this period got about one sentence — the whole Irish independence movement got maybe one paragraph. These people were presented as rebels, to be put down. We learned about the Great Fire of London, but not about our own history.”
My own history teacher was definitely a Nationalist at heart and expanded upon the official curriculum as much as he could. I may not have liked History as a subject but in retrospect he was an excellent teacher. He introduced us to the concept of “Guinness Heroes”, men who would become brave through drinking a couple of pints but whose bravado was generally limited to strong talk and rebel songs.
This is kid of how I feel about some people on the Internet. It’s easy to be a pundit and shout and scream but much harder to get people to actually do things. And they might rant with closed comments about how the AppStore does this, or how Google does that or how we should boycott Microsoft all while gripping a CafÃ© Latte from their favourite multinational coffee chain.
What value do the blog pundits bring? I’ve been witness to some travesties of communication over the last week where the ‘online community’ is realising that their icons are dead. We don’t need to be following big name A-list bloggers to be part of the online world. And the response – the growth of home-grown Z-list bloggers – people you have to be following in order to hear the next big opinion. Sure – some of them express some outrage at the idea of bloggers being paid to write. Pat Phelan’s recent blog captures some of this succinctly. So there’s outrage….and….then next week we’ll all be waffling about something else.
Latte Heroes – venting outrage from the comfort of coffee house chairs. Not actually doing anything about these injustices because, in the grand scheme of things, there’s people starving in this world and these petty injustices really don’t matter. Outrage creates a blog post and then on to the next textbite.
I think I’d hate them more if, you know, I wasn’t one of them.