May 03, 2008
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.
April 28, 2008
"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."
April 20, 2008
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 âsignificantly reduce the fear factor associated with the unknownâ.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.