Mon | Jul 23, 2018

What a gwaan, Mr Editor?

Published:Friday | October 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM


About 10:30 one Sunday morning, a few young adults were being driven to a church in a gritty part of Kingston by an older mentor from another congregation. As the group approached the road near the entrance to the church premises, a woman of ample proportions came around a corner from another street. She was clad in a sheer top through which her dark areolas and nipples could be clearly seen. Her itsy-bitsy shorts hid none of her crevices or contours.

In obvious shock, the normally calm driver let go of the steering wheel and erupted, “Jesus!”, for a split second, before regaining control of the vehicle.

Frequently as I take up The Gleaner to read, I am reminded of that episode as well as a letter from Jamaican businessman, Douglas Cover, which was published on September 25, 2010. It carried the headline ‘Mr Editor, quo vadis?’ That is roughly translated, ‘Mr Editor, where are you going?”

His point of reference was the extensive front-page coverage given two days earlier to aspects of the Buju Banton drug case which was then in progress, while an address by then prime minister Bruce Golding about the world being in danger of missing out on Millennium Development Goals had been relegated to B6 of the Sports section. Cover ended his letter: “Mr Editor, quo vadis?”

Against that background, it seems to have become more commonplace for schoolyard jock talk to be published alongside serious editorial stuff without any shade of subtlety. Writers with a great facility with language and an ability to express themselves well seem increasingly incapable of escaping a juvenile descent into gratuitous profanity to which The Gleaner tags minuscule fig leaves. Neither my ears nor eyes are so delicate as to be easily offended by the occasional use of expletives (in certain contexts), but I do wonder whether public discourse has now been so Facebooked that every discussion has to me measured by the Kim Kardashian and Vybz Kartel standard.

Is there any adult in the place? Quo vadis?