Zille's revenge

David Bullard writes on the former DA leader's reply to the social media mob who tried to cancel her


Although some clever folk dispute the story it is generally accepted that it was the Kiwi mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary who, when asked why he had bothered to be the first man to conquer Mt Everest, replied “because it was there”. That’s the sort of short snappy answer that brings a press interview to an abrupt halt.

To put it in a modern South African context one could ask the ANC cadres why they felt compelled to steal so much taxpayer money and they could just as easily reply, with refreshing candour, “because it was there”.

No further questions m’lud. No need for all that ducking and diving we’ve seen at the Zondo Roadshow. No more lying and denying. Just a simple and straightforward response to a simple and straightforward question. And remember the Catch 22 of cadre deployment … that they are all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Pity about the lost dockets and the ten-year backlog of cases to be heard.

I was in my local branch of Exclusive Books last week and saw a pile of books with the title ‘#Stay Woke Go Broke’ so I bought a copy… because it was there.

You can never go wrong with the Wokists by mocking Helen Zille on social media or in the mainstream media and the appearance of this book and particularly its title has been as red rag to a woke bull. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

The Daily Maverick ran a painfully unfunny piece by Shaun de Waal pretending to have eavesdropped on a Zoom conversation between Zille and her marketing man.

De Waal puts the boot in nice and early by pretending that the imagined conversation has been edited to prevent Zille coming across as “a complete right wing loony”.

In de Waal’s defence he did start work at the Mail and Guardian in 1989 when it was still a credible newspaper. He appears to have hung in there through thin and thinner and claims on his Twitter page to be an Editor at Large (whatever the hell that means).

I’ve no idea how old de Waal is but if he started work at the M&G in 1989 he can’t be far short of 60. Under normal circumstances one would expect to become older and wiser over the years but having to schmooze various lefty editors has clearly taken its toll.

If de Waal thinks Helen Zille is a right wing loony I would suggest that he either doesn’t know what right wing means or he has led a very sheltered existence.

Helen Zille has been much mocked by the Twitterati and their very camp followers for self publishing this book. Was it because no respectable publisher would go anywhere near it the reptiles want to know? Who knows and who cares? The book was firmly in the number 2 bestseller slot at my local Exclusive and has made it into the number one bestseller slot at other branches I believe.

There are rapidly diminishing piles of the book prominently displayed so clearly distribution hasn’t been a problem. And since the Franschhoek Lit Festival won’t be happening again this year (they claim it’s on hold) there will be no need for festival director Shelagh Foster (named and shamed in the book) to cancel Helen’s appearance before what would undoubtedly be an appreciative, well mannered, white privilege audience.

I have no idea whether Zille tramped the streets of Cape Town with her #Stay Woke manuscript desperately looking for a publisher. Or whether she had to cope with rejection letters from publishers claiming that there would be no reader interest in a book with such a title.

Not impossible bearing in mind Decca’s famous failure to sign The Beatles because “guitar groups are on their way out” and “The Beatles have no future in show business”.

The reality is that Zille is far more savvy than her critics will ever be and self publishing not only gives the author far more control over the whole process in addition to cutting out lots of troublesome middle men.

As any author knows there is very little money in writing a book for the South African market unless it’s a runaway best seller which allows you to later get very pissed at a V&A Waterfront restaurant.

The most money I ever made from one of my books was to buy back copies which were due to be pulped for R20 and flog them for R120 instead of the original R180 price. My advice to any aspiring authors would be to produce a well written worst seller and buy back the unsold copies to sell to adoring fans.

Clearly writing ‘#Stay Woke’ has been something of a cathartic experience for Helen Zille and it’s hardly surprising bearing in mind the abuse she has been subjected to by the usual mob of hysterical bed-wetters.

The Singapore episode is dealt with at length and Zille’s various tweets that we could learn a lot from Singapore and that not all colonial legacies are bad got her into very deep water, not only with the many halfwits on Twitter but also within her own party.

It’s hard to fathom why a comment that was so obviously true could cause such a ruckus but that, as she explains, is what wokeness is all about. Those who spend an inordinate amount of time on social media looking for something to be outraged about don’t lead normal lives.

Many are, by their own admission, on heavy anti depression medication and regard Twitter as a far cheaper alternative than an hourly session with a qualified psychiatrist.

Unfortunately Twitter doesn’t conduct tests for mental stability when people sign up with the result that the Twittersphere is increasingly a gathering place for self loathing crazies who have very low self esteem cheered on by other crazies with similarly low self esteem.

With Eusebius McKaiser gleefully fanning the flames it was hardly surprising that the Singapore tweets would turn into what Zille describes in the book as ‘Hiroshima’.

What does emerge from the lengthy description of the goings on within the DA following the Singapore tweets is that Tony Leon’s description of Mmusi Maimane’s leadership of the party as an “experiment gone wrong” was bang on the nail.

Helen Zille’s mistake was to apologise which is what properly brought up and polite people do if they believe they have caused offence. Unfortunately that doesn’t work when you are dealing with the sort of feral cretins that inhabit social media.

The only solution if you wish to retain your sanity is to dump social media entirely and have no presence. I was booted off Twitter back in March thereby removing myself as a target. If there are any insulting comments about me on Twitter I am blissfully unaware of them and that makes me a very dull target for the sort of people who like to get in a couple hours of bullying and virtue signaling before a vegan lunch every day.

Ultimately though the only way to deal with the so called Woke is to treat them as the pathetic creatures they really are by not taking anything they say at all seriously. And if you can cause them great offence and raise their blood pressure to dangerous levels then so much the better. Just don’t apologise.

Here’s an afterthought though. Supposing Helen Zille suddenly decides to identify as a gay white male? This would immediately make her a victim and give her valuable points on the diversity spectrum at the same time making her out of bounds for gratuitous insult. Anyone attacking her would be a transphobe and a bigot.

I’m surprised I’ve never thought of this before. I might have to follow my own advice. Next week’s Out to Lunch column will be coming from Daphne Bullard. A new profile pic is on the way Mr Editor. I’ll try and go easy on the lipstick.