May 03, 2008

My felicitations to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Despite my preference for isonomy over democracy, I must say the golden boy done good.

My scepticism over democracy is as nothing to that of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. She was one of the luvvies whose views the Guardian's Zoe Williams naively appended to an article telling people to Fear the Hair, apparently under the impression that these endorsements would gain Ken Livingstone votes. Ms Westwood's contribution:

Boris as mayor? Unthinkable. It just exposes democracy as a sham, especially if people don't vote for Ken - he's the best thing in politics. Unthinkable."

Now that the voters of London have chosen Fear the Hair and Do It Anyway, I fear we must bid farewell to "Arabella Weir, actor and writer", "Blake Morrison, writer" and "Diana Melly, writer." Adieu.

Posted by Natalie at 08:17 AM
No Title That was a post for which I forgot to press "publish" a few days ago.
Posted by Natalie at 07:35 AM

April 28, 2008

No Title
In the future, everyone will be respected for fifteen minutes.

The trouble with Simon Blackburn's quips is they are each around a hundred words too long to be funny:

"The belief that everyone deserves equal respect and that anything else is discriminatory and elitist. The truth is the exact opposite: discrimination is a virtuous activity and elites are to be admired. The very few human beings who are good at anything, whether football or playing the violin or writing or painting, form an elite and deserve respect for their excellence. Other people either deserve sympathy for trying and failing, or should be ignored if they have not even tried."

Chris Bertram, linking to Norman Geras, thinks Blackburn shouldn't get all bent out of shape just because he's not David Hume.

And for those of us who should be ignored, here's Wikipedia on "15 minutes of fame."
Posted by Natalie at 06:02 PM

April 20, 2008

One of the things that holds me back from waking up this blog is the feeling that any post that comes after a long silence ought to be important.

No, there is no good reason for this feeling. Here is a trivial and oddly-edited paragraph from the end of an education story in the Times a few days ago:

How to soothe students? Tht reports that the University Mental Health Advisers Network wants students to get exam questions in advance as it would “significantly reduce the fear factor associated with the unknown”.
Thanks for that report, Tht. Now it is true that for some subjects proficiency can be meaningfully tested by an open-book exam. Outside school, when you program computers or balance the books or fit an engine part you are allowed to have the manual in front of you, so long as you know your way round it. For other subjects this wimpy proposal would simply move the fear later in time and deny the students practice in overcoming it. If you present yourself to a potential employer as a French interpreter she does rather expect you to understand and say lots of French words, you know, even ones you did not know were coming. If you wish to drive a lorry on the public roads it is considered best for you to how to emerge from a junction without having to consult page 141 of the driving test manual.

Continuing the education theme, I commented on this post of Brian Micklethwait's on the subject of whether parenting and teaching conflict.

And not continuing the education theme, there are a couple of posts by me over at Biased BBC.

Posted by Natalie at 10:55 PM