The launch of El Tamlalt Talossan this past week was a rocky beginning for a promising blog. Delayed from its planned start last month, the first week of publication was marred by an unfortunate incident involving Tamlalt's pseudonymous political cartoonist and columnist, "Greg Glodoral."
Glodoral, whose last name is Talossan for "black eye," took pictures from the private Facebook account of this reporter's wife, who is not a Talossan citizen, in order to make critical political cartoons. After being asked, owner and Membreu dal Cosa C. Carlüs Xheraltescù promptly removed the cartoon, and an hour later, when Glodoral reposted a different version, Xheraltescù removed that one as well. Despite the swift and commendable action, it was a rough beginning, with Glodoral crossing a line in an Internet-dominated nation that has long been concerned about privacy. Somewhat more troubling, Xheraltescù stated during an interview that he thought that the cartoons were "amusing," and that he only removed them from publication over legal concerns.
The incident should perhaps not be taken as reflective of the overal quality of the blog, which is beautifully designed by anyone's standards. El Tamlalt Talossan offered a wide range of other content during its first week, including numerous political cartoons, opinion columns, movie reviews, and a news story. The first round of posts boasted seven contributors, far more than almost any other media organization, suggesting a very strong start and a bright future for the new blog. While much of the content was specifically critical of either the RUMP, Beric'ht Talossan, or the monarchy, it may also not be representative of the general trend that Tamlalt will take, considering that this is only the first week it has been operating. Numerous individuals who have been waiting for a platform from which to launch criticism may now settle into more even-handed approaches to their journalism. While owner Xheraltescù wouldn’t comment on the posts to come in the future, he was firm in his optimism for the future. “I've got a core team of individuals who have displayed tireless optimism about how we've decided to move forward with ETT. I am supremely confident that ETT is here to stay and will become one of Talossa's valued institutions, much like Beric'ht. As you've seen, we do things a little differently to you guys, but that's no bad thing - diversity, energy, innovation are all things I think ETT embodies.”
The presence of an anonymous contributor on the same blog as Dama Miestra came as a surprise to many. For months, Dama Miestra has criticized Beric’ht Talossan over its policy of accepting pseudonymous contributions, denouncing the practice in harsh term. As recently as a week ago, she called the printing of anonymous criticism “cowardly,” saying that “at least [King Robert I] signed his name to his own slander.” She had no comment when the inconsistency was pointed out, remarking only that “Greg Glodoral,” whose last name means “black eye” in Talossan, was a “non-citizen interested in Talossan affairs.” Xheraltescù, while a frequent critic of the pseudonymous Beric’ht cartoonists in regards to their content, nonetheless stated that he didn’t have a problem with the practice itself “if it enables people to speak out.”
Ed's Note: This story broke late, and I was the only witness - otherwise I would have asked someone else to write about it. I have tried to be as fair as possible, although frankly I found it very creepy. Only one of the Talossans I have as "friends" on Facebook could have seen and stolen the picture, since it was marked as private and taken from my wife's account. Do I have to close off my life from Talossans, out of fear this might happen again? It was not, I emphasize, the anodyne criticism of the cartoon itself that bothered me... rather it was the invasion of privacy. El Tamlalt Talossan is competition for this publication, however, and the cartoon was critical of me, so my judgment may be biased. Please consider for yourself.