South African chair malfunctions in the YouTube age
Filed under: international, odd, society | Tags: accident, chair collapse, chair malfunction, furniture malfunction, humor, Nene, Nhlanhla Nene, SABC, South Africa, South African Broadcasting Corporation, viral video, Wikipedia, YouTube |
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.
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.