Alfredo Fernandez

Rural Cuban life picture by Caridad

Blogs have put public intellectuals in a true crisis.  The immense ease provided today by these online dailies for publishing texts of dubious worth —with the opinions of anyone on any issue— have cast doubt on the public intellectual’s place in the culture of the not-so-distant future.

Today, whoever wishes to can enter the online world and from their blog can blaspheme at will on issues that were formerly analyzed by true professionals, who —though we didn’t always agree with them— we did feel respected our intelligence.   Moreover, the time we invested in reading their writings was always reciprocated with valuable knowledge since those intellectuals dealt with the issues carefully, always looking for novel points of view.

Those “commentators” of the blogs almost always reduce reality to their personal vision, which is generally limited to their perspective on events, and with their opinions (stripped of doubt) resulting epidermal.  Technology opens the door to these “commentators” at a speed that I believe achieves the opposite effect on our lives, because many of us have already begun to miss the great writers.

With repetition, these “commentators” forget limits and wind up offending with writings that can be xenophobic, racists, homophobic and containing so much prejudice.  Generally, when it’s required of them, they do not admit fault.

With its blogs, the Internet now invites ordinary people to enter into public life, though it’s worth clarifying that they’re not always poor communicators in their opinions.  Sometimes they present their anguish and frustration in a penetrating and intelligent manner, and thanks to them we can even stay informed on whatever arbitrary country.

The commentators who currently write offensive posts without examining their thoughts end up making us not only miss the intellectuals of weight in public life, but they have also achieved the miracle that very soon we will wake up missing that enemy of freedom of speech, which has always been called censorship.


Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

One thought on “Commentators vs. Intellectuals

  • I think that what differentiates these solipsistic bloggers from the the true pulbic intellectuals is that the latter have an insatiable curiosity, a craving to learn about the world beyond themselves and their preconceived notions. In fact, the seek the incorporate ever larger portions of the world within themselves. To them, nothing is alien, whereas it is an ever contracting universe with the opinionated commentators. In the end, it is a certain sense of humility before they mysteries of life which differentiate a true lover of wisdom from a fool.

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