Posts Tagged ‘Analysis’

So, online media has had a field day analysing MI’s recent appearance on Osagie Alonge’s podcast series. To be honest, I avoided it; I kept on telling myself I would stay away from it, and I was successful, up till today.

A colleague played the #LooseTalkPodcast in the office this afternoon, I listened, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the bits I listened to. Tweeted a bit, even made a Facebook post on it, but the matter didn’t leave me so I thought I’d provide some more context here.

For starters, here’s the video. Make sure you have approximately three hours to set on fire, and note that it’s not suitable for work because of all the cursing.

Again, I’m not a ‘hip-hop head’; this is to preempt the ones whose only basis for disagreement with this will be “you do not understand hip hop, you’re not a hip-hop head. I agree in advance.

Fact: Osagie Alonge was rude; there are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. Also fact: MI’s calmness is #goals. Either that or he has a liking for masochism. If my memory serves Osagie has taken quite a few swipes at him in the past, almost, as it were, building (or attempting to build) notoriety off ‘critiquing’ Jude.

I thought I would take a few minutes to look up the word ‘critique’, because Osagie went on and on about people saying he was negative when he was only ‘critiquing’ their work. Here goes.

Critique – to evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way. It refers more to literary, theoretical or philosophical bodies of work, but stretches to other forms of artistic expression. It is from the Greek word kritikē, from kritikos meaning ‘able to discern.’

Where was the analysis? Where was the careful, structured presentation of fact backing the many wild allegations he made? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Even law has it that “he who alleges/asserts must prove.” At some point he was yelling, “we have the receipts, we have the facts.” Where were they? The reference to his colleague as his data back up?

Yet, there was no desire to brook any facts countering his opinions. MI came back with a few statistics on album ranking, money he’s made off the album in question, etc., Osagie disputed them, citing the difference in demographics. So let’s get this straight – you make a claim (without facts), it is countered with facts, you reject the counter (without facts), but somehow we’re all supposed to take your opinion as law?

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Speaking of opinions, Isaac Asimov said, “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” Emphasis on ‘your’ – no one is under any obligation to agree with you, even if you’re their fan.

I do not know that I would ever be able to sit through that amount of swearing & disrespect in the name of critique or fandom. I know quite a few Nigerian artistes who would have walked out, who might have even thrown a few punches.

Call me old-fashioned, but there are still standards for public-facing conversations, even private ones. Some might say interviews for podcasts cannot be viewed through the lens of textbook journalism, but do you want to be taken seriously or not? Hiding behind ‘my opinion’ or ‘I said what I said’ or ‘I can say this because I’m a long time fan’ to put down your guest is unprofessional. It was worse because both guest and the lead interviewer kept referring to being friends. Friendship? Who needs enemies?

It’s not even about my respect for Jude Abaga (which has quadrupled since listening to this); it’s about the decency of engagement that was missing. Talking over the guest, interrupting him the entire time, downright rubbishing his work, this was painful to watch/listen to.

In my short time facilitating learning around strategic communication and advocacy I always warn against inadvertently drowning out the message because of the language, the messenger, or even the design. In engineering it’s referred to as the signal-to-noise ratio; where the background noise adversely affects the strength and utility of an electrical signal. This was quite messy, overflowing with emotion, and lacking the coherence to justify doing it in the first place.

Finally, I probably won’t ever endure listen to #LooseTalkPodcast again; I cringed for all of the 90 minutes I got through. I probably don’t like music this much, or maybe my expectations for 2 hours 47 minutes are just too high.

A few weeks ago I sat with some friends in one of my favorite places in Lagos (Terra Kulture) and we talked about everything, ending somewhere between relationships, entrepreneurs, that kind of thing.

How did it even start? I know there was a statement made about the scarcity of good men and after both males and females argued a little bit about generalizations, we talked about the difficulties young people face in relationships, either in starting or keeping them.

I totally forgot about that conversation till I was going to blog about Social Media Week Lagos and as I was noting talking points, I remembered the session on ‘Women in Tech’ and how disappointed my friends and I were at the gloss that was slathered on the entire discussion.

Matter of fact, my friend Saratu asked a question that echoed all my sentiments. She wanted to know why none of the speakers spoke about the challenges they’d faced in building their businesses, why no one was telling the real stories behind whatever successes they were currently standing on.

Here’s a personal experience. In 2012 I was in a bank, frustrated with my account officer because they’d said I could get pounds from the branch and then I drove all the way to Area 11 and I don’t remember what excuse they’d given but I was pissed off.

While I was discussing with the said account officer, a much older man asks to borrow my pen. I give it to him and when he’s done, he says I’m pretty and he wants my number. Now, if you read my blog you’ll know the day before I travel is normally the crazy day where I have 1000 things to do, I’m literally running/speeding everywhere and even 26 hours wouldn’t do. Plus, I was ticked off at the bank so a much older man asking for my number was the last thing I was in the mood for. I refused with the last bit of respect I had and after he asked why I was sweating and in a foul mood, I mentioned I still had a client’s office to visit, I had a trip to get ready for etc.

Long story short, we exchanged cards, he wanted me to prepare a social media strategy for the ministry in which he was a director of finance or something. I did, adapted one I’d written for another client, and emailed it that night.

My quote was at least 60% cheaper than the other proposals he had received (he’d given them to me when I swung by to collect a brief) and with the elaborate document I handed in, to my mind it was a matter of when.

I called a few times from Blighty and he said they didn’t have ‘network’ in the office for him to read it, and one day he talked about him coming over so I could explain it to him. A director of a ministry flying (all the way) to England so a prospective strategist could explain her proposal? Lol.

Let’s end the story quickly. I refused to play nice, so he stopped taking my calls and one day told me he was going on a one-year course and not/never to call him again. And that was that. I remember ranting on Twitter, and Ruona Meyer encouraging me in my DMs. I won’t forget that.

So, back to the discussion at Terra Kulture, I said something about unconsciously putting up walls whenever I interacted with men partly because of work and how the slightest smile is misconstrued as ‘consent’ and then a ‘no’ becomes a problem because you led them along (by smiling). I talked about how it was easier (and better) for me to be first seen as mean/hard looking and then soften up (maybe) as the work takes off properly instead of being taken for a ride from day one.

I mentioned how those walls then become a problem when you’re with your special someone because they might feel like you’re not completely open with them but it’s just you forgetting that you can take a break from protecting yourself because relationships should be safe spaces. It’s just you transferring your protective shell/demeanor to a space where you can/should be vulnerable. And that causes problems.

That’s just one challenge.

How many women have to work twice as hard while the rest of the world preaches ‘ empowerment/inclusion’ and ‘giving women a place on the table’? How many women become who they are politically only because they are married to or are children of the Old Boy’s Club? How many of us are frustrated day in day out with the weakest links around our projects?

Here’s another reason why I feel like women should be just a bit more ‘open’ with these conversations. We have these events and everything sounds like a piece of chocolate cake, freely handed out to us because we’re ‘whoever we say we are’. And so the young women listening press forward, maybe even decide to switch careers because we have it so good here.

Then they come and are buffeted with all sorts of challenges they didn’t imagine were possible or are prepared for in the slightest. And then they run away. Or they give in to whatever pressures they have find they have to (furthering the ugly stereotype). Very few will dig their heels in, and fight to get that place on the table.

At the next gathering of women we’ll lament that there are very few entrepreneurs. There will be, because they’re not ready!

It’s the same thing for relationships to be honest, but that’s a totally different discussion for another day.

Final word – can we be a bit more honest with these things? Sure. So let’s do/be that.