Pulp Fact

David Bullard | Mar 20, 2019
I don’t read Business Day these days but apparently an academic called Charl Linde had written a letter the previous day with the screaming headline “Axe Bullard event”.

Linde was calling for the university authorities to cancel the event because I apparently have become a hero for the overt and covert “alt-right”. Reading Mr Linde’s Twitter feed it becomes apparent that he has been a little unlucky in love of late and maybe we should offer that in mitigation of his apparent opposition to free speech.

When the Sunday Times sacked me back in 2008 (after 14 years of loyal service ) and labeled me a “racist” to appease the ANC and deter them from following up on their threat of withdrawing advertising, I suspect they thought that would be the end of me. But we white monopoly capitalists are made of sterner stuff so here I am, 11 years later, with a second weekly column aimed at the sort of people whose IQ score is higher than the ambient temperature measured in Fahrenheit. 

As I often tell people, being labeled a “racist” has many hidden advantages. Firstly, you can never be labeled racist again with quite the same impact. Secondly, you no longer have to pay tax because all your previous clients will dump you for fear of contagion and thirdly, you become a much more interesting dinner guest. Let’s be honest; as the politically correct conversation starts to flag just as the cheeseboard has been brought to the table somebody has to liven up the evening with an outrageously unfashionable comment. This at least gives any “woke” dinner party guests the opportunity to “call me out” on my racism/sexism/transphobia/homophobia/white privilege/ patriarchy etc etc.   My only sadness is that so many people have now been labeled “racist” that the word has been utterly devalued. At least I was an early adopter.

I’m frequently reminded that I’m old, bitter and irrelevant by some of the bright young things of journalism. So it was with great joy that I put on my reading glasses, took my false teeth out of the glass by my bed and read an invitation on my cellular device to speak at a function in Stellenbosch along with IRR CEO Frans Cronje. The topic was the future of South Africa which, given the mess we’re in at the moment (the electricity went off as I typed that line) and the approach of a general election, didn’t strike me as too off piste. Admittedly the attention grabbing title of the evening’s entertainment was “On the verge of catastrophe?” which seemed to greatly upset some lefties who failed to notice the question mark. Or, if they did notice it, either didn’t understand why it was there or chose to ignore it. 

But what upset the lefties even more was my involvement in the evening and the potential damage such an association could do to the IRR. A heavily Botoxed quasi academic from London got the ball rolling on Twitter and before too long that great newspaper of record, The Citizen, ran a story titled “Institute of Race Relations slammed for inviting “racist” David Bullard to speak”. And there was I thinking I’d become irrelevant. Naturally I put the entire article on my Twitter page on the sound premise that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

I’d made the fatal mistake in my Twitter interaction with the Botoxed one of assuming a) a certain level of intelligence and b) a sense of humour and had flippantly invited her to send her loony left friends to “no platform” me, adding that I had bought a tazer for such events. Needless to say this got blown out of all proportion with hysterical accusations that I was “threatening violence against those with opposing views”. 

By the time the 13th March came around I had been elevated on social media to full blown white supremacist status. It was that easy. I deliberately arrived at the Stellenbosch venue early for a cleansing ale at the Pulp Cinema, hoping to avoid the crowds of anti Bullard demonstrators outside. That I managed to do successfully but only because there were no antis outside. I checked every 15 minutes and tried to look as offensively white supremacist as possible but it was just the usual bunch of friendly students munching on burgers or just milling about and they weren’t falling for it. This white supremacist thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be evidently. 

 

Happily, the Stellenbosch University management chose to ignore Mr Linde’s terrified shrieks and the event proceeded without interruption. In fact, the racially diverse capacity audience were extremely courteous, asked very good questions and many lingered after the event for further discussion. It was, as Frans Cronje said, a victory for free speech over faint hearts. 

And the tazer? Well I completely forgot it was a Wednesday and my wife gets to use it on that day. Next time maybe. 

 

David Bullard is, well, David Bullard.

 


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