Comment of the day

Published: August 21, 2013 at 4:50pm

Posted by H. P. Baxxter:

I’m afraid it’s not just Labour. It’s a Maltese thing. We have an emperor’s-new-clothes code of behaviour which forbids any form of exclusion based on intelligence, behaviour and making sense.

In Xarabank language, it’s called “kulhadd ghandu dritt isemma’ lehnu.”

Look at this list of raging lunatics, insufferable louts and general all-round idiots, and then find the common element:

Angelik Caruana
Franco Debono
Doctor John
Grace Borg
Ignatius Farrugia
Emmy Bezzina
Gorg tad-Doughnuts
Anglu Farrugia
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando
Anglu Psaila

What’s the common element? They’re all household names, they are all institutions on various discussion programmes, and they are all treated as if they were perfectly normal, respectable people. Their opinion is eagerly sought. They are applauded.

That, my friends, is the trouble with our country. Le, mhux kulhadd ghandu dritt isemma’ lehnu.

71 Comments Comment

  1. Dave says:

    They do have the right of expression. It’s the general lack of questioning of motives / their sanity / their IQ that irks me.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Expression, yes. Broadcast, no.

      There wouldn’t be the need to question their motives, sanity or IQ if they hadn’t been given their own TV and radio programmes, their own newspaper columns, and if they hadn’t been turned into permanent guests at TV debates.

      This sort of thing doesn’t happen in normal countries.

      But I’ve given up trying to point this out. Now I’m just waiting for the day on which I can chuck away my Maltese passport.

      • r meilak says:

        Same thing when serial killers give interviews are are televised, as if they are a celebrity of some sort.

        They are given the importance they don’t deserve.

      • Anthony Pace says:

        No I will never chuck away my Maltese passport.

        If those are the people you’re always seeing on TV you really have a problem.

        Tell you what: change channel. But then even if you zap your remote on to the channels of the ‘normal countries’ you’ll find their own versions of Gorg tad-Doughnuts and a myriad of Dr Johns.

        Go read a good book.

    • Liberal says:

      Yes, they do have the right of expression, but not on the national media.

    • rc says:

      It’s actually the fact that people listen that irks me.

    • ciccio says:

      Baxxter, try listening to the programme Familja Wahda on PBS radio every morning for a week.

    • Francis Saliba says:

      There is an editorial responsibility, due to the employing medium itself and to Malta society as a whole to weed out all indecent expressions of opinion and not to publicise them with an insistence that is indistinguishable from clandestine support.

  2. Spiru says:

    What about that River of Love guy ?

    And the one who lists all his degrees on the timesofmalta comments board?

    • albona says:

      That person may be in the list. Look harder. Though I dare say, that is a Maltese fixation suffered by many of our compatriots who need to display letters to compensate for their general lack of self-belief.

      • Ganna says:

        No, he is not on the list. Spiru refers to Gordon Manche’. I think he should be on the very top.

  3. Spiru says:

    And it’s not Ignatius – at Nigret (Zurrieq) we call him Nejcis or nejxis……

  4. QahbuMalti says:

    H. P. left out the Muglietts: the Queen of Kawlata and the King of Bridges.

  5. Lawrence Attard says:

    Kulhadd ghandu dritt li jsemma lehnu. Altrimenti min ser jiddeciedi min ghandu dritt u min m’ghandux?

    Il-problema vera hija min qed jisma’ u kemm qed jizen.

    • La Redoute says:

      In the era of Facebook, blogging, and all things internet, it is possible to keep those who are nuts and the mediocre off air without violating their rights. Even without internet access, they are free to take up residence with a sandwich board on the nearest roundabout.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Jien niddeciedi. Ghax jien gejt peer-reviewed. Ghaddejt mill-gharbiel.

      Huwa ragunament zbaljat bhal tieghek li wassalna fis-sitwazzjoni tal-misthija fejn l-opinjoni ta’ passer-by fi Triq ir-Repubblika tiswa daqs dik ta’ espert. Anzi fejn fatt, gudizzju u opinjoni huma meqjusa l-istess haga.

      Xarabank ikkompleta dak li beda Mintoff. Tridu monument ghal Mintoff? Il-mohh Malti huwa monument haj.

    • Joe Vella says:

      Ma naqbilx mieghek Sur Attard, ghallinqas mhux fuq il-mezzi tax-xandir tal-istat. Ma nihux gost inhallas it-taxxi biex ikolli naqleb fuq stazzjonijiet barranin biex la nara u lanqas nisma c-cucati li jghidu hafna minn dawn ic-carlatani.

    • Liberal says:

      Huwa l-kap tal-media partikolari li ghandu r-responsabilta li jiddeciedi lil min ha jghati d-dritt li jsemma lehnu u lil min le.

      Filwaqt li kulhadd ghandu d-dritt isemma lehnu bil-mezzi tieghu, l-ideja li kullhadd ghandu d-dritt isemma lehnu fuq kull media li jrid (sew privata kif ukoll ta’ l-istat) hi assurda.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        You’re getting it (mostly) wrong.

        First learn to distinguish between fact, judgement and opinion.

        This isn’t about people having a right to voice their opinion. It’s about equating fact, judgement and opinion. If someone said the earth was flat I’d dismiss them out of hand. All normal people would. But the Maltese would invite them to a TV programme to hear their views, as if nonsense were an ‘opinion’ akin to a liking for tea over coffee, or striped shirts instead of plain.

      • Liberal says:

        H.P. Baxxter, assuming you are actually addressing your comment to me, I think that we’re making entirely different points on a common topic.

        I only wished to stress that although everyone has the right to an opinion, no one has an automatic and equal right to express that opinion on anyone else’s media, be that private or state owned.

        Unfortunately, most people think they do, and shout “censorship” whenever an editor decides not to publish their opinion.

    • Lomax says:

      Kulhadd ghandu dak id-dritt izda mhux kulhadd ghandu jinghata l-opportunità jaghmel dan fuq il-mezzi tax-Xandir statali.

      B’liema dritt idjota kwalunkwe u (per ezempju) psikjatra jinghataw l-istess him fuq Xarabank?

      L-opinjoni ta’ kulhadd ma tiswiex l-istess u m’ ghandhiex tinghata l-istess piz minn min suppost qieghed jipprova jeduka.

    • vic says:

      Exactly. we don’t want Big Brother to tell us who should speak and who should not.

    • Francis Saliba says:

      Kulhadd ghandu dritt isemma’ lehnu imma l-editur ghandu l-obbligu li jesprimi n-nuqqas ta’qbil tieghu – altrimenti s-silenzju jqanqal suspett serju ta’qbil mal-opinjoni oxxena.

  6. Joseph says:

    One question which I have been asking during these last years is: With all this trash around how did the PN remain in power and had a majority since 1981, except for the 22 months between 1996 and 1998.

    [Daphne – A wide cross-section of people thought they could get more money with a PN government, and they were right.]

  7. Wilson says:

    Mr. Baxxter as usual you are the most level headed on this blog.

  8. Eve says:

    I remember Archbishop Cremona mentioning the “Xarabank Syndrome”, where every body can speak and believes that what they say is as valuable as that of an expert because it is being said on TV.

  9. Harry Purdie says:

    You got me thinking, friend. (getting more difficult at my age.) Actually the list is endless.

  10. pazzo says:

    It`s a sort of panem et circencis. The herd has been duped and its voice bought. As J F Kennedy said:

    “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”

  11. Kevin says:

    I believe that in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes no one had the courage to stand up and point out that the Emperor was naked.

    In Malta, no one actually realises that the Emperor is naked. That, to me, is the crucial to understanding why the people Baxxter mentions above are welcomed. No one sees through them. No one sees them as fakes.

  12. Nighthawk says:

    When I was young, untravelled and less well read/informed about the world around me I might have agreed with you.

    It’s true that these people make me cringe in a form of racial/ethnic/national embarrassment, and I would go so far as to add Joseph Muscat and a large portion of his cabinet to the list.

    But really, never mind basket-case Italy, think of the USA for instance:

    Glen Beck
    Rush Limbaugh
    Sarah Palin
    Michelle Bachmann
    Pastor Fred Phelps
    Harold Camping
    A large proportion of the Senate & House of representative
    Charlie Sheen
    Ted Nugent

    I can keep adding and adding. I don’t think we have a particularly higher proportion of dumb assholes in public life than other countries, its just that being small and overpopulated, we’re forced to bump into evidence of their existence all the time.

    Neither do I agree that it is more Maltese than it is Labour. Labour DOES have a higher proportion of loons, followers of loons, and non-questioners of loons.

  13. bookworm says:

    The problem is, that not everyone filters what the said nutters utter, so those who don’t, keep on posting and reporting them.

  14. Antoine Vella says:

    It’s the same with phone-ins on radio magazine programmes.

    There are perhaps half a dozen grumpy old men – known to listeners by their voices rather than their names – who have nothing better to do than to spend the entire morning glued to their telephone, calling in every possible programme, sometimes two or three times a day, spouting their bigotry and ignorance.

    What is worse is that, should the presenter tactfully ask them to keep their “intervent” short and to the point, they become all indignant because they have a “dritt insemma leħni”. Never mind that the rest of us are sick of hearing their ‘leħen’, day in day out.

  15. Ghoxrin Punt says:

    I think Baxxter is right. The point is not that they have a right to express themselves, but that they are invited by the media to express themselves, thereby legitimizing their incredibly mediocre (and I am being very generous) opinions and views.

  16. Charles Spiteri says:

    Dear Daphne

    I consider your blog as a must-read every day.
    However, I view HP baxter’s post in which he placed in the same basket two people with a religious-themed background (Dr. John and Angelik Caruana) with morally corrupt PL people.
    I happen to know Dr. John personally and while people may differ from his views which at times may seem strange to ‘normal’ people, his integrity is second to none. With regards to Angelik, although I never spoke to the person, people I trust blindly and who are close to him vouch for his integrity, even though he sometimes says and/or does weird things.
    I would appreciate if you could pass the above message to HP Baxter that if he has personal reservations to how Dr. John and Angelik communicate with the general public through the media, he cannot place them on the same list with morally corrupt people, and he should use other more appropriate channels to share his views / misgivings regarding the above two and other persons conveying similar messages.



  17. Joe Micallef says:

    I believe everyone has the right to make his voice heard and, should he wish to, broadcast that voice too.

    What is missing here is a counter intellectual voice that takes on morons head-on and demolishes idiotic arguments with sound reasoning.

    The morons outnumber those who are not.

  18. kev says:

    Little Benito in Baxxter’s pants has spoken: Not everyone has a right to free speech.

    Presumably Little Benito should have the final say since anyone above his street might want to bar him too.

  19. Katrina says:

    May I add Saviour Balzan? I wonder if after publishing information on what Norman Vella was paid for his PBS show, Saviour will let us know what he himself is to be paid if he accepts the TV slot he’s been offered.

  20. Ian says:

    Who are Anglu Psaila and Doctor John?

  21. anthony says:

    Baxxter makes a very valid point which will be missed by the vast majority of the populace for obvious reasons.

    In no other civilized, developed country of the West are people with similar backgrounds to the ones on his list given any media exposure whatsoever.

    They are normally considered national embarassments and simply tolerated.

    In Malta we extol perverts, mediocre people and also sociopaths and psychopaths.

    My grandfather proved right once again :

    L-injorant Malti l-aghar wiehed fid-dinja ghaliex jiftahar u kburi bl-injoranza tieghu.

  22. otnemem says:

    You forgot to add Norman Lowell on the list.

  23. joe says:

    There are much better programmes to watch on other channels, so why bother to watch a load of tosh.

  24. Gahan says:

    RTK reported that Norma Saliba and John Bundy will be presenting TVM’s breakfast show instead of Pierre Portelli and Joe Mifsud.

  25. Vespa says:

    The problem gets bigger and bigger when some (or most) of these people get elected to the Maltese or European Parliament, or are given positions of power (through elections, as in the case with mayors or through nepotism as in the case of chairmanships etc).

    Brothers Joseph (MEP) and Manwel (Labour Party broadcaster and former Labour Party President) Cuschieri are a perfect example.

  26. Sapiens says:

    Amen to that!

  27. Verita' says:

    You’ve omitted Kitten from Malta. He needs to be top of the list.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Kitten is a borderline case. He can behave in society; I’ll give him that. And he is an artist, so any eccentricities are part of his remit, as it were.

      Of course, he knows jack shit about politics. His editors should make it clear to him.

      Better still, they should replace him with a proper columnist.

      Give Stephen Calleya a regular column, for god’s sake. Or Richard England, if he’s up for it.

  28. Aston says:

    You say it’s not just Labour, but I honestly struggle to pick names from your list that were not linked with Labour at some point. The Bible thumpers maybe, and even then I’m not quite sure.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      It was never meant to be an exhaustive list.

      The link with Labour is Xarabank. Mark Anthony Falzon, if he’s reading this, will understand. Xarabank makes Maltese celebrities. Xarabank thrives on loonies, idiots, charlatans and freaks. Labour recruited mostly among the household names, the Xarabank celebrities. Behold the link.

  29. blue says:

    That is why I switched off Maltese TV, it saves me from seeing them and wanting to bang my head against a wall.

  30. David says:

    One cannot lump all those mentioned as one stupid lot.

    Professor Psaila as far as I know speaks on the media on medical matters. I find nothing strange in this.

    Dr John leads popular religious healing services. If if one lacks faith, he does not seem in any way abnormal.

    Angelik Caruana was told by the local Catholic Church authorities not to speak in public on the alleged apparitions. I have not seen him recently on the media.

    Dr Farrugia was an established lawyer who gained respect from his colleagues.

  31. matt says:

    We all know that these people have a irrational thought process that stands starkly out as odd. But the problem is that the Maltese media give them a platform and treats them as newsworthy, rather than ridicule their odd behaviour. The media in UK or USA would have a field day with these characters.

  32. river says:

    I would add Pastor Gordon to the list.

  33. Harry Worth says:

    I beg to differ with regards to Dr. John …. from personal experience I feel that he is truly a holy person.

  34. Mike says:

    Baxxter, my esteem for you has increased hundredfold on seeing your inclusion of doctor John (our own locally grown version of the evangelical cult leaders in the US) and Anglu Psiala whose medical know how and bedside manner are appalling. Ward rounds with him used to be horrendous.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Anglu Psaila? You don’t know the half of it. Or perhaps you do, seeing as you’re a medico. If wards could talk…

      • Mike says:

        I unfortunately do. Are you aware of the agreement he had with maintenance that had to do with a ladder and his wife?

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Being unable to afford a defence lawyer, and our ridiculous libel laws being what they are, I have no comment.

      • Mike says:

        Fair enough, defence lawyers are somewhat out of my budget too

  35. M.Galea says:

    Sorry H.P.Baxxter, can’t agree with you on this one.

    Dr John serves to spread the word of God in the same way that the archbishops do, so I really don’t see him fitting into this group.

    He has personally touched the lives of many and brought hundreds of people back to God. If you don’t like him, don’t go to his services….simple as that, but please don’t try to humiliate him.

    He is a man of great integrity and hundreds, if not thousands, have much respect for him.

    • Mike says:

      M. Galea, Dr John once brought a man called Benny Hinn over from America to preach. Benny Hinn is known to be a charlatan, a fraud and a conman, fleecing people for money through his abuse of the institution of religion.

      Now, knowing this, what is your opinion on the man who flew him here to Malta?

      Independent of that, Dr John’s cult (yes, it ticks the boxes for a cult) bears all the hallmarks of a magician’s show. The falling on the floor, the talking in tongues, the messages from beyond; I could go on for ages (yes I have inside knowledge so please don’t try to refute these statements).

      I am not sure why the man does it. I am not aware of any monetary gain, which usually is the reason for these cons, so I assume it must be an ego thing. For, if the man really wanted to do God’s work, why did he not become a priest?

    • La Redoute says:

      Thousands adored Hitler and Mussolini. Thousands STILL adore Mintoff. There is no such thing as the wisdom of crowds.

  36. C.A. says:

    This comment reminded me Norman Lowell.

    “Kulhadd ghandu dritt isemma lehnu”. Veru, imma nippreferi li certu nies ma nismaghhomx u ma narhomx jekk jista jkun.

  37. Jar Jar says:

    It’s like having the Loony Party as a mainstream political force.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Exactly. And the Flat-Earthers as directors of the National Laboratory. And faith healers as the Medical Council.

  38. Harry Worth says:

    Impostor ? Fake ?

    You must be out of your senses … I am in agreement with M. Galea

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