Kulcha! Conscious Times: July 4th – 12th, 2013

Wha gwan, Bermy? To say it’s been an eventful week for conscious news would be like saying Craig Cannonier has boasty symmetrical grey streaks in his hair: it’s glaringly obvious and right in front of you. From draft-dodging and gay-coaxing to vibe-spreading and media-regulating, this week’s Conscious Times presents to you a symphony of cultural tidbits as only the Bermudian news media could produce.

The Premier wunts 2 know if ya safe, bie!

De Premier wunts 2 know if ya safe, bie!

Last week De Sun ran a series of articles about LGBT tourism, the gist being that we’re missing out on billions by not “luring” gay people into honeymooning here. While the economic argument may be sound, Kulcha! finds it profoundly cynical that The Sun’s pieces were framed this way: why would a gay couple honeymoon here after reading that we’re a generally homophobic society whose only courted them because of their gay billions? If the BDOT is to start advertising to the LGBT market, it should be because we actually want them here, not because we’re financially desperate.

The Bermuda Regiment recently arrested and issued a substantial fine to a soldier who’d been absent from military duty for seven years, stating without any irony that all the names on the absentee list “represent wasted taxpayer money”. While many would say the same thing about the Regiment itself, they proceeded with their annnual “name and shame” of every current absentee, the list of which was published on Bernews. “Taxpayer money” aside, there are bigger social issues here: 1) the fact military conscription still exists in 2013 in the first place and 2) the fact that it’s inherently sexist and the Regiment doesn’t seem to care enough to change that. A depressing antiquity of our patriarchal power structures, conscription in Bermuda perpetuates a culture of chauvinism and male aggression that our island is already suffering from without it. If we continue allowing conscription to be framed as a “community service” issue instead of acknowledging it as an obsolete pillar of colonial nostalgia, we have little chance of being taken seriously as a place of social justice.

Get off on racial sensationalism in the news? Well, too bad (and shame on you, ya werr-do). In light of the Race Issue’s crippling emotional power over our discourse, the Media Council Of Bermuda has released a new set of guidelines for reporting on the subject, most of which revolve around acknowledging the historical context that brought us to where we are today. Ultimately a manifesto to hold reporters accountable for sensitive language and terminology used in their articles, this is a boasty step in the right direction. Kulcha! salutes the guidelines as they apply to the traditional news media, since certain outlets (*ahem*) are far too comfortable with using race as a wedge issue to divide people, generate controversy and sell more advertising space.

At a seminar in Singapore, PLP MP Walton Brown became the first Bermuda politician to formally address the effects of social media on our national political discourse. Segmenting the pros and cons, he offered five challenges and five opportunities presented by social media that fundamentally affect how we consume information, all of which were spot on. The ultimate takeaway was that although platforms like Facebook and Twitter democratize political debate to people whose voices may have been previously unheard, they also drastically increases the potential for manipulation of facts for personal gain. Our view on this? The general public has a responsibility to take partisans and politicians to task for things they say on social media. If we don’t do that, then we deserve to be manipulated.

Do clean energy initiatives make you happy enough to let off an airhorn? Same with us (**Bermp Bermp Bermp***), which is why we’re pleased to announce that the American Consulate building on Middle Road has recently had solar panels installed on its roof to reduce its carbon footprint by 57 tons of carbon dioxide over 25 years. Kulcha! gives nuff respect to the Yanks…on an island where we literally still burn oil for electricity, stories like this are too few and far between. U.S.A! U.S.A.!

In the first public enforcement of Minister Michael Fahy’s recent crackdown on employers who commit work permit violations, Grotto Bay Beach & Resort has been issued an $8000 fine for illegally employing two American interior decorators ($4000 per person). We say good on Mr. Fahy for attempting to break stereotypes of the OBA as a pawn of expats and big business, however an increase in the amount of the fine would likely help people take it even more seriously: $4000 per person is a mere drop in the bucket for say, a major hotel or reinsurance company.

Coming up this weekend is HOTT 107.5’s first ever Hip Hop Challenge, where fifteen of Bermuda’s most talented emcees will compete against each other at the Ruth Seaton James auditorium in a battle of lyricism, star power, stage presence, uniqueness and general overall boastiness. We think it’s wicked that that the island’s young rap artists are being given a mainstream platform on which to showcase their talents, as the movement has been largely confined to Chewstick and the underground until now. Here’s wishing all participants the best of luck!

This week in News News, Jeremy Deacon has officially been made redundant (given de boot) from his position as Editor-In-Chief of The Royal Gazette and replaced with former Mid-Ocean News editor Timothy Hodgson. The circumstances behind this move are quite mysterious at this point, so we can’t comment much further, though we’ll say this: it’s interesting that he he’s being let go after presiding over what’s essentially been the RG’s golden age of yellow journalism. Also strange that it happened the same week as the Media Council’s race reporting guidelines were revealed. Oh well, enough speculation…let’s hope it leads to more responsible reporting on the RG’s part (aink gonna hold my breath, but a bredren can dream).

That’s about it…stay boasty, Bermy! And if you can’t stay boasty, be wicked. If you can’t be wicked, then at the very least, don’t be mug. Nobody likes a mug bredren. Bless.

– C.D.


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