Someone on Twitter shared a link to a very interesting application online. You can paste a piece of text and the application can tell you whether the writer is male or female. The application looks at the words that are used in the text. There are male and female keywords. I have run several of my blog posts through this application and appeared to be female, although with just a few points to the other side it would have been male. I am now going to try to write the same blog post with two faces: male and female. Today is part one. Can you guess whether I’m trying to be male or female here?
So there’s this revolution thing going on in Egypt now. Just before you start throwing stones at me, let me place a disclaimer: I do truly respect the will of the people in Egypt and admire them for taking action. I also believe that the usual media channels give just enough information to let you know what’s going on, but not enough to form a strong opinion supported by facts. So, I kind of know what’s going on there, but do not really have an opinion on that particular situation. I simply do not have enough information and I choose not to look for it.
I do have an opinion on protests in general however. A public protest is a powerful tool in democracies for people to influence decisions of the government. Or isn’t it? If it’s about a particular policy question, maybe. But protests against the government in general (call them revolutions if you wish)? I have my doubts.
Just look at them. The majority of the people anywhere is not very much politically involved. They (don’t) vote, (don’t) follow the news and mind their own business (which is not politics). There is a smaller group of very politically active who start a protest. They do have a clear idea as to what they want to achieve and why. But they need support. If they manage to get their word across, they’ll get support. From people who like them and who basically do not care what they stand for. From people who think they understand what the protest is about because they watch TV and listen to what their neighbours say. From people who like to be where the crowd is. From people who are always against and basically attend any protest. From people who look for an adventure. People who thinks it’s cool to join a protest. People who have nothing better to do. Journalists. Curious. Amateur photographers. Pickpockets.
I’ve seen Netherlands vote against the new EU ‘constitution’ several years ago. Most people had no slightest idea what the changes were about. They thought they knew. Or they thought it was cool to vote against. I’ve seen the Orange revolution in Ukraine some years ago. People wearing orange an singing songs on the main square of Kiev. It’s difficult to imagine the amount of disappointment in the years after.
So who is protesting against what and why? When it comes to mass protests I don’t believe in democracy. Same goes for referendums. I hope it works out for the best in Egypt!
All right! After reading this, would you say this is written by a man or a woman? Place your bets in the comments!