South African chair malfunctions in the YouTube age

By now probably millions of people have seen the viral video of South African MP Nhlanhla Nene, chairman of the portfolio committee of finance, having a chair collapse under him while giving an interview on live TV.  Before I try to make a serious point about the incident, for the record, here is the admittedly comedic video clip:

Now that you’ve seen the video, take a look at Nene’s Wikipedia article.  Earlier today I contributed to the article but since then I’ve been thinking about it further.  Excluding citations and headings, the article currently has 467 words; 366 of them—78% of the content—is dedicated to describing the furniture  malfunction of which he was the victim.  The article didn’t even exist until the video and news of the chair collapse started spreading via the internet; few people cared that this man even existed until a chair that he just happened to be sitting on broke while he was on television. Apparently, that is what defines notability in the YouTube age.

How pleasant that so many of the flags recently featured on this blog are so good; South Africa's is awesome--it's the exception that proves the rule about having no more than four colors

How pleasant that so many of the flags recently featured on this blog are so good. South Africa's is awesome; it's the exception that proves the rule about having no more than four colors.

Presumably, Mr. Nene has dedicated his life to trying to better his community and his troubled nation.  I can only say presumably because Wikipedia gives few details on his political career in the 22% of the article devoted to his life in the pre-chair collapse era.  All anyone cares about is that the gentleman had a chair break underneath him.

Well, the article does accurately describe the chair incident, in a NPOV way, with proper citations.  But I feel kind of bad now for contributing to it.  That 26-second video can’t represent 78% of the man’s life; that’d leave just 7.333 seconds to everything else he’s ever done.  Therefore, in the next few days I’m going to try to learn more about Mr. Nene and, hopefully, make his article more balanced and a better reflection of his life and work.  Sure, let’s laugh with him about this little accident, but let’s keep it in perspective; this guy isn’t a dolt or a failure just because of this event, which was outside of his control.

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1 comment so far

  1. jacob1207 on

    UPDATE: It’s been hard to find much substantive information on Mr. Nene that doesn’t involve the furniture malfunction. Just google his name and virtually all the links are about the chair that broke.

    However, The article is now 649 words long, an increase of 49%. The section on the chair incident is now 416 words long, making up about 64% of the article, just under two-thirds; most of the growth came in the non-chair section of his article, which rose from just 22% to 35% of the article. So, it is a little bit better now.


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