Bill Cotton and his cotton balls
Freddie Kissoon column
Kaieteur News
April 5, 2007

Related Links: Articles on CWC 2007
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Every day in the Stabroek News, Mr. John Mair, writing under a pen name (Bill Cotton) that has Freudian meanings, tells us how enamoured he is of Martin Gough, the BBC sports journalist covering the Guyana journey of CWC 2007. At the same time, he has found another obsession - writing about the quality of my commentaries since I classified Gough's first blog on Guyana, after he touched down here, as coming within the mainstream of anti-Third World bashing that goes way back to 18th century colonialism. And that will continue as long as the Third World is comparatively lesser off than European and North American states.

On Tuesday, the cotton man mentioned what a great guy Gough is and what a poor writer Freddie is. The Stabroek News should present a thesaurus to the cotton man because yesterday, the pro-Gough sentiments and the anti-Kissoon obsessions were worded exactly as the day before.

Yesterday, Cotton recalled an incident at the Georgetown Club in which I denied meeting him before and he described how my wife stopped him and proved me wrong. Well, I believe my wife.

I did meet the cotton man before. I know I always remember those that I encounter in the field of academia and media work, the areas I work in. But as the cotton man claims, I did talk with him at the Square of the Revolution. It is obvious that there was nothing interesting, unique, memorable, or remarkable about the man and his conversation so it quickly evaporated from my mind. Now I know why.

After that meeting at the Georgetown Club, I will always remember the cotton man of the Stabroek News, Mr. John Mair

I recall he came up to my table to say hello. The occasion was the wedding reception of an employee of the American Embassy. For a moment I thought the cotton man had lost his way (as Mr. Gough did when he left St. Lucia and didn't realize, as Tony Cozier put it, that Guyana is a massive country) because he was dressed as if he had just left the beach after playing volleyball.

That sight I conjure up each time I see the name Bill Cotton. I hope cotton man doesn't get me wrong. I am not conservative with my aesthetic values. However I know in life you have to be sensitive to the occasion. You wouldn't want to meet your future in-laws dressed only in boxer shorts.

The cotton man let us know that he met Glenn Lall at Buddy's. I wasn't surprised when he said at Buddy's. I have been reliably informed that cotton man has a favourite pastime that would make Yesu Persaud and Clifford Reis proud of him. He pointed out that he didn't get time to discuss quality over quantity in the Kaieteur News. One wonders if cotton man didn't lose his way again and also confuse the Kaieteur News boss with the Stabroek News patriarch.

If the Stabroek News had quality, then cotton man would not have spent his aging days in the lugubrious climate of Her Majesty's country where everyday looks like a depressing moment on the moors in Emily Bronte's “Wuthering Heights.”

The cotton man would make the perfect, not semi-perfect or good, but the perfect patient for a Freudian psychiatrist. Remember above I hinted that the pen name, Cotton, has Freudian meanings, and in my earlier article on this so-called satirist, I opined that Freudian theories best explain why people like Martin Gough derogate the Third World. Now read this from Mr. Cotton Balls himself in the space Stabroek News provided him yesterday; “What has Sigmund Freud got to do with all of this…Bill pleads guilty to one element of Freudianism – a strong libido! Little else”

Now we can't comment on the libido of cotton man because the possession and the function of one's libido is a private matter that should not find its way into the media, no matter how tempestuous the disagreement is among media functionaries (is John Mair a Guyanese media functionary?) but in this case, here is a man actually writing about his.

I will eschew further discussion on this. But let's look at another quote of cotton man, connect it to his statement about libido, and see if we can invoke Freud again. Cotton man wrote that “Freddie saw Bill's excellent piece on Voltaire.”

I never read anything excellent by Bill Cotton. I don't regard John Mair as a media operative in Guyana. I am not aware he is perceived as a member of the media community in Guyana. I have no knowledge of the present status here or in the UK of Mr. Mair. My understanding is that Mr. Mair is an episodic satirist with the Stabroek News. I seldom read satire.

I read a couple pieces of Bill Cotton over the years and found that they lacked awareness of the Guyanese ‘lingo'. The best written caricature is “Dem Boys Seh.” It is rib-tickling fun. I would suggest that the Stabroek News drop Bill Cotton like hot cake and find out who writes “Dem Boys Seh” and steal him/her away from Kaieteur News immediately. Now “Dem Boys Seh” is quality stuff. Bill Cotton's satire is just mashed up cotton balls thrown away in some corner on Robb Street wrapped in besmirched libidinous newsprint.

What is the connection between Bill Cotton proclaiming that his piece on Voltaire is excellent (by piece he means two lines in which he quotes Voltaire - yes, a quote) and his assertion that the only thing he knows about the works of Sigmund Freud is, “strong libido”.

For those young minds that do not know what libido is, it is the sexual drive. Surely, any amateur Freudian analyst can gauge the type of person John Mair is. But it is a pity that he did not study the excellent and pioneering works of Sigmund Feud. If he did, he would have known where people like Martin Gough are coming from.

Bill Cotton continues to tell us that Gough is a nice man because he met him and Gough doesn't feel bad about Guyana. Common sense should tell cotton balls man that Gough may have hidden his Freudian pen because he was lambasted by many Guyanese, including a lovely letter in KN yesterday by one of Guyana's leading intellectuals, Ravi Dev.

I urge David De Caires to insist that Mr. Mair, if he is capable of it, write a serious reply to those who have pointed out the structural faults in Mr. Gough's controversial blog, like his senseless lamentation of a day's rain in Guyana and the culture shock he got within the space of minutes after leaving St. Lucia and riding through the East Bank Demerara villages.

In fact, parts of the East Bank Demerara do look like St. Lucia. Mr. Gough may be blind too.