Pundit-free Blogosphere = Fresh Air

  • Check out this interesting chat on the state of the Caribbean blogosphere featuring Georgia Popplewell of Caribbean Free Radio (the first Caribbean podcast) and Nicholas Laughlin, both Trinis who monitor the region's weblogs for Harvard's Global Voices Online. They're concerned that Caribloggers, unlike their American counterparts, tend not to be political pundits. Instead the region favors diary-style weblogs filled with personal anecdotes. (Georgia by the way generates comprehensive weekly digests on Global Voices for your pleasure.)
  • In my view, there's no particular need for caribloggers to mirror anyone. If Jamaicans had merely mimicked the R&B they captured through New Orleans airwaves in the 50s, there'd be no reggae. Aren't we about the blending of old disparate forms into new ones?

Pundit Tree

  • Georgia and Nicholas report that Haitian pundits are an especially rare species in blogland. Since they're in no danger of extinction in that thickest of jungles, the Haitian listosphere, I'm out in the clearing happily breathing the fresh air. Don't tell anyone, but it's okay with me that they haven't swarmed this technology.
  • After all, punditry is to Haiti what cricket is to anglo-caribbeans: the national sport. (Soccer too, of course, but since we don't actually have a team that can make headlines, it can't compete with the pros who've traditionally talked or written their way onto that coveted presidential fotey boure.) Punditry has and will punctuate all my family gatherings. All through my childhood when Manmi rocked me to sleep singing Dodo Titit, Jean Dominique himself or even Serge Beaulieu provided the baritone to her sleepy falsetto, the resulting cacophony and loud commercials provoking nightmares filled with radio broadcasts and talking heads.
  • Luckily these days national and transnational Haitian pundits populate list-serves such as Corbett or haitianpolitics@yahoogroups rather than my dreams. I can pop in to their world when I need the exercise but pop out as soon as I'm about to pass out from deja-vu asphyxiation. Sheesh, haven't some of these people been around since before I was born?

Saving Grace

  • When the best, youngest and freshest of the pundits, Haitian Mofo a.k.a Jean-Claude Jasmin finally defected from the list ghetto to blogland earlier this year, I was elated. Alas after three worthy months, he stopped blogging and vanished. Guess where he was recently spotted, debating the qualifications of one Texas-based Haitian-American CEO with no pundit experience who nevertheless wants to be President? You got it, haitianpolitics@yahoogroups. Yikes!
  • But even I have a soft spot for the national sport and it's been hard to completely avoid echos of the lists. I can't ignore the raging double-nationality debate easily summarized as the Haitian political class (read the professional pundits/presidential candidates) telling the Haitians with other passports: "remittances? sure! voting rights? hell no!" And I too am impatiently waiting for the Charlito v. Dumas showdown coming soon to an election theatre near you. But I can only handle superfluous testosterone in tiny doses and so I try very hard to screen substance from piss fights, often in vain.
  • Thank God for MBAyisyen's serene diaries. And Yon Ayisyen, I hope you're only taking a break: your weekly take on politics as usual may be in French but it's not the usual patata.

- - -

Have a comment? Post it under Comments below. To send this to a friend, click on the envelope below.

No comments: