Seems like we have become so shallow and arrogant that we cannot even recognize a good thing for what it is. I'm talking about the puzzling reactions to a Youtube video about Maltese potato harvesting. The video went viral overnight, attracting the wrath of a sizeable bunch of armchair critics who seems to be suffering from an advanced superiority complex.
In what is pretty much a Malta Tourism Authority's wet dream, the video manages to paint a picture of a sunny, rural and serene Malta through an interview with a young potato farmer. The interview is sweet, as genuine as you can get in this day and age, and promotes a back-to-basics attraction that I found charming precisely because it is the antithesis of life in the fast lane.
Despite this, the video provoked a plethora of "they are making the Maltese look like fools" comments. Of course, not all comments are couched in such diplomatic terms. The reason? The lad's English cannot be classified as Queen's English. Which, apparently, makes it perfectly okay to carry out a very public lynching.
Who cares that the lad comes across as amiable, passionate and honest? Who cares that the video makes Malta appear like the serene haven that it most certainly isn't? What matters is that the lad's diction and idiom are all wrong. Because, of course, perfect diction and idiom are the cornerstone tools of any self-respecting potato farmer. So bring out the big guns and blast the lad to hell for daring to utter a sentence in public.
The truth is that the video portrays a very simplistic way of life that few people can understand or identify with nowadays. It does so in a genuine and unpretentious manner, which is precisely why it qualifies as a big win.
I've got news for all those of you who think they are so superior to this lad. His responsibility does not involve perfect diction and grammar. It involves tilling fields and harvesting potatoes. And, by all accounts, he is doing an excellent job of it, with passion and dignity. So how, exactly, is this funny? Or humiliating?
How many of these jokers can claim the same kind of dedication to their chosen profession? Come to think of it, how many of them have actually contributed anything at all to society?
To all those whose sense of self-importance led them to spout inanities in a shameful spate of cyber- bullying, I have one thing to say. In times of need, it is people like this farmer who become the fulcrum of any society. Many other professions become superfluous. And while I'm all for perfect mastery of the Queen's English, let us not achieve it at the expense of those other basic requirements. Decency and compassion.
One last note: those who are busy tweeting and uploading nasty Facebook statuses would do well to check their own spelling and syntax first. Most of them don't even have the excuse that fluency in written English isn't essential to their chosen profession. Who is laughing now?
As for those who are suggesting that the interview should have been carried out in Maltese and the video sub-titled... Sure, turn it into some random guy speaking in a foreign language with perfectly written, but soulless, sub-titles and kill all the character, why don't you? Stick to the day job.
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