The Fallout of the Blogging Panel at the Galle Literary Festival 2008: As Serious as a Heartattack

Oh, lordy.

It looks like the Sri Lankan blogosphere and his mum did a trip down South to the Galle Literary Festival last weekend. And, judging by the number of posts on the subject, it looks like the happy couple stopped to take a leak on the bloggers’ panel, as well.

I happened to be on the panel, for better or for worse. We were meant to discuss the topic, “Bloggers: Can they be taken seriously?”. There were six panelists: Indi, Sanjana Hatthotuwa, Iresha Dilhani from Mahavillachchiya, Deepika Shetty, Nazreen Sansoni and myself, and the panel was moderated by Nury Vittachi. Seven people on a stage with only an hour to introduce the panelists, discuss the subject, and deal with questions from the audience is not, as it turns out, the best formula for a lively and meaningful discussion.

We know this now. Make a note, Baldric.

Personally, I felt that I did not have enough time to say very much. I think we concentrated on one main line of discussion: blogs should be taken seriously because there is serious stuff like war and abductions and human rights violations going on and blogs offer a newssource. This was all very well, and true, but we ignored many other aspects like whether blogging could be taken seriously as literature, which in my opinion was more relevant at a literary festival. 

The line of discussion also threw a spanner into the works of Nury’s plan to make the discussion a lighthearted, amusing one. This was a plan which I liked, by the way, because I really don’t think bloggers sound very credible when they get too serious. I was all geared for some light repartee, and when the discussion on war and abducting journalists started I was thinking, “Oh shit, they are talking about dying. But that’s not funny! How the hell am I going to weave in 2 girls 1 cup?”

We touched on death threats, and governance, and war, and abductions, but there was not much sex, unfortunately. When we ran out of time, it felt as if a teasing wench had given me a bad case of blue balls. Just as we had got warmed up and settled into it, it ended. I felt so unstatisfied.

Dissatisfaction was a theme for me. The hundreds of groupies that I had expected to ambush me for autographs and a quick banana shake at Pedlar’s Inn were being unusually reticent on the day. So, I really need not have lost sleep worrying about the queueing system. There was one stocky guy, though, wearing shorts and an American accent, who said he had come down specifically for the festival, but he was not my type. Too… male.

To be honest, although unsatisfied, I thought the panel had gone okay, until today. Today I have been reading posts about the festival, and none of them are that complimentary. One girl blogger accused me of coming across as “nice”. I have never been so insulted in my life. Bitch! I’m sorry.

Even my mum who attended the panel had a go at me. It was not the dreaded conversation about the orgy post, mind you, but she was annoyed about the wording of my profile in the festival programme. She said it made my parents sound like they have been in divorce court all their lives, which on reflection, I had to admit, it did. Sigh. Yes, mum. Sorry.

To top it all off, David Blacker thinks we took ourselves way too seriously. Worse, he has used my real name. Now, that is just great. I am sure the parents of my tuitees are going to be thrilled that Ravana is teaching their young impressionable children. I cannot wait for the consequences of this weekend to unfold.       


Other posts about the blogger panel at the festival:



17 thoughts on “The Fallout of the Blogging Panel at the Galle Literary Festival 2008: As Serious as a Heartattack

  1. Sorry, machang, but you can’t very well get up on a stage and declare blogginess and expect to then quietly disappear back into the closet, no?

  2. No, the post, as per usual form, was partly tongue in cheek.

    I agree. And, I think it’s about time. In some ways, using your real name restricts you, but in others, it sets you free.

  3. The bitch part was tongue-in-cheek, of course, and I wasn’t really offended, but having said that I would generally only use the word “nice” to describe a biscuit. I read your post again, and actually, on second reading actually, it seems like a genuine compliment, so chill.

  4. Dear Ravana, Your write-up about the blogging panel was great, well done. You’re right — one hour was way too short for the discussion, and the panel was far too big. But there were some very valuable and I think insightful points made during the session (including some by your goodself).

  5. Hi Ravana, glad I found your blog.

    I’ve never met David Blacker but judging purely from the huge black-and-white photo he’s got of himself on the front page of his blog, he might not be the best-placed person to accuse others of taking themselves too seriously.


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