Wendi Deng fan club
July 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
A public apology in media business is a highly overrated virtue. It skyrockets the media coverage and buys valuable time for the companies to clean up the house and make sure that people will loose their interest in the negative story. Not many believe in the honesty of these apologies because the business interests are so obvious. Media in general seems to be the blindest guide in this episode. But the hearing of Rupert Murdoch in the British Parliament turned into an antithesis to what the hearing was all about: to publicly disclose the people and management processes that had allowed the violation of the rights of the victim families to their private and intimate information.
Crime against person
The case was totally transformed when the man who attacked the 80-year old Murdoch could manage a similar crime, in the middle of the Parliament premises. By doing that he deprived the hearing and Mr. Murdoch of their right to human protection. The episode plainly showed that it is not only media that has problems; the stupid, inhumane act opened the media gates to populist interests, news videos, and facilitated the diffuse atmosphere of revenge.
Why should it be a heroic act to attack an old man in the hearing? In between the lines, and in the news quite directly, the attacker is treated as an activist, albeit a harmless one. Perhaps this is so because he did not have a weapon, but it is a good question, what would have been a weapon in this case?
There was one hero in the Parliament hearing and in the middle of the confused and sluggish men. It was Wendi Deng who stood up and defended her husband. She protected the person because the others were not ready to do that. For her, the attack was against the person. Probably for the majority of the audience, Rupert Murdoch was just a representative of his media company and it was comfortable to follow the incidence from a distance and to see if someone from “the system” would take care of it. But not Wendi Deng, she protected the person and took the reponsibility that everyone else in the room should have taken.
Speed of value judgement
Why do I admire Wendi Deng? Of course it was a great sporty performance with the reflexes and eloquent style of an ex-volley ball player. But it was not the physical excellence that radiated from her, it was the speed of her value judgement. This made the men in the room to look like monkeys wondering “what’s up?”
We needed someone to point us the obvious line between the rights of a person and those of an organization. This is not always easy as we have learned from the World War II nazi trials and the ongoing Hague cases: being an elderly man is no excuse. But in this case there was no doubt about this line of rights, and Wendi Deng saw that faster that anyone in the room. It was not a question of physical defense only.
I have repeatedly wondered why it has become a generally accepted entertainment to deprive people in leading positions of their rights to protection as persons. Many remember the attacks against Bill Gates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egpelzdc3VE or King Carl Gustaf of Sweden http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1529270.stm, for example.
To me this violent behavior has its roots in a stereotypical racism and discrimination where a person of a certain race, community, country, religion, or organization, is seen as only a representative, with fuzzy person rights, of something disliked. What is even more astonishing is that critical media in general, that is typically against such common stereotypic behaviors, does not really condemn and analyze such aggressive conducts.
I admire Wendi Deng for her beautiful physical timing, the accurate hit and agility that any company strategist could envy, but most of all I admire her for the speed of her value judgement. And it was no a left hook.