Happy blog birthday to Jack Point, “The Court Jester” of the Sri Lankan blogosphere. His blog jestforkicks is 9 years young today. Making it one of the few still active “war era” (pre 2009) Sri Lankan blogs. Both facts earn Jack Point a place among the gnarled elders of Sri Lankan blogging. Yet I find his blog unique for a different reason. It is the most frightening blog I have ever read.
The short answers (to the question posed by the previous paragraph) are :
- his blog’s content – the “what is said”
- The structure of that content – the “how” of “what is said”
He has interesting things to say about the terrifying madness under the skin of Sri Lankan life. He does so by bring up topics we diligently avoid with cricket, alcohol, tele-dramas and/or downloaded American TV shows. What he says is powered by a clarity in his sentences and the logic of their structure. A hard thing to do. I’ve been failing at it since 2007 (as evidenced by this blog). Yet the guy makes it seem effortless.
I could have spent hours going through his posts to pick some examples. I’ll leave that to you. Better that than be paralysed for hours trying to pick a “few” of the “best” from too many qualified candidates.
Shading the clarity of his writing is a calmness. An increasingly rare combination of virtues both on and off line. Reading one of his posts is like listening to someone calmly describe the process of drowning. As you both stand on the tilted deck of the Titanic, brandies in hand. Yet it’s not coldly detached or lacking in empathy. The issues he dissects – underlying cracks in the economy, corruption, the insanity of our feudal politics, etc – scar us all and will no doubt wound future generations.
I’ve heard such topics “discussed” elsewhere. Usually as verbal fist fights. Inevitably going nowhere as booz fuelled talk about politics usually do. A contrast that highlights the strengths of Jack’s blog.
For me the terrors of what Jack writes about are in the mental activity his words trigger. On the surface the issues seem obvious enough. Yet the questions Jack asks takes me back to conversations I have overheard. Conversations in despairing tones among people who have access to the facts. Jack’s posts tend to pull all these disconnected snatches into flashes of realisation. With a perceptual clang of prison doors slamming on a life sentence. It’s a chilling experience. The sort that kills appetites and brings up thoughts of fleeing.
He does occasionally post on frivolous topics. Such as art and other non essentials of human existence. Even these have an annoying habit of prodding the mind long after reading. His post posing a fascinating question about art in Europe is an infuriating example. After reading it, one of the voices in my head forced me to spend time I didn’t have jotting a long comment. It took six months to finish. No doubt you are made of stronger stuff and can resist such thought prods.
Of course his blog has several short comings. He appears not to believe in the inevitable rise of Cthulhu. He fails to see that only absolute rule, under the management genius of the secretary of defence, will make Sri Lanka the sole wonder of the world. His blog contains no clear denunciation of cannibalism (a flaw typical even among vegetarians). I’m sure you’ll forgive such fibbles.
Yes, this is a very personal and irrational take on what is a logical blog of civilised conversation. Its 9th blog birthday is a good a time as any to admit it. I’ve been terrorised by his posts for years and come out the better for it. Hop over to his blog and read around. You’ll realise why – eventually.
Wish him a happy blog birthday while you are there. I hope his words continue to flow for years to come. In that hope here’s the traditional link to his first blog post. Without doubt a timely look back at the start of the current political cycle.