Robert Pimm

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Paris, the Internet, and the FT

My recent blog “The Internet. 7 reasons why it will destroy civilisation” set out troubling facts about this most wonderful of inventions.

One of my concerns was that:

“the Internet polarises opinion.  Imagine a billion people in a desert, shouting.  Who can shout loudest?  The best way to attract online attention is to be shocking and extreme.  Slag someone off.  Be outrageous.  You know that famous, reasonable, internet commentary site?  No?  That’s because there isn’t one.  You can’t be reasonable and famous on-line.”

So I was interested to see this weekend in The Financial Times a piece by Simon Kuper, “Paris attacks: Notes from a wounded city” (NB if you don’t have a subscription to the FT, you can sign up to read the piece – and several more every month – free).

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Kuper’s piece is characteristically thoughtful. I like his resistance to simplifying everything – particularly anything as tragic as the Paris attacks. But I was most struck by his comment that in the world of punditry and politics, “the people with the clearest messages win“.

Thus, Kuper suggests, if you want to look at the world in a more nuanced way – he quotes a man who asked of the 13 November events “with what perception must I perceive this?” – you are unlikely to be invited onto TV to pontificate about how we should react.

What people want is certainty; and that is what pundits offer.

That is often the equivalent of shouting loudest. But it is not always the best way to approach important issues.

Do check out Simon Kuper’s piece, and my earlier blog.

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Journalism index

Lundylong

This is a selection of my journalism.  Because most of my FT articles from 2003-2006 are now archived, I have reproduced them here. For other newspapers, there are still some live links.  NB the titles were inserted by the sub-editors.

– 1 August 2003, Financial Times, “Behind every great woman…” (the challenges of being a male partner of a famous or successful woman)

– 8 August 2003, Financial Times, “Where the wall came down” (a walk around the Berlin Wall)

– 6 September 2003, Financial Times, “Island with well-hidden treasures” (Lundy Island)

– 13 December 2003, Financial Times, “A tale of two all-in resorts” (German vs French holiday resorts)

– 7 February 2004, Financial Times, “Rag’n’bones to riches” (birthday of Mary, an 80 year-old from Arsenal)

– 27 March 2004, Financial Times, “Austrian idyll far from the well-worn pistes” (Lech)

– 27 March 2004, Financial Times, “When dinner becomes the last supper” (the joys of German waiters)

– 30 April 2004, Financial Times, “Enough Buddhas for today” (Bangkok)

– 10 July 2004, Financial Times, “We’ll soon all beg to fly business” (how airlines plan to make us upgrade)

– 17 July 2004, Die Welt, “Im Dienst Ihrer Majestät” (women’s diplomatic careers)

– 31 August 2004, Financial Times, “Balmy breezes and beach bars in Berlin

– 23 October 2004, Financial Times, “Where even experts fear to tread” (guided ski-ing in Austria)

– 23 October 2004, Financial Times, “Sole mates” (Strolz ski boots)

– 7 November 2004, Boston Globe, “New Zealand at a crossroads” (NZ tourism)

– 20 November 2004, Financial Times, “The Penguin’s Distressed. We’d Better Go” (NZ eco-tourism)

– 29 January 2005, Financial Times, “The Joy of Roaming the English Countryside” (long-distance footpaths)

– 29 January 2005, Financial Times Magazine, “All the Rage in Berlin” (Little Traffic Light Men)

– 19 February 2005, Financial Times, “From Tears to Triumph” (Lech ski school)

– 19 March 2005, Financial Times Magazine, “All the Rage in Lech, Austria” (heated ski lift seats)

– 20 August 2005, Financial Times, “Rattle and Roll to the Alps” (night ski-trains)

– 21 January 2006, Financial Times, “Charmed By the No-Frills Alternative” (basic Austrian country hotels)

– 5 February 2006, Boston Globe, “A flaming end to Carnival and winter’s woes” (Cologne Carnival)

– 24 April 2006, Financial Times, “When Tourist Reinvention Spins Out of Control” (the over-development of Barcelona)

– 25 June 2006, Boston Globe, “A Temple to Faith, Time and Resolve” (Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia)

– 8 July 2006, Financial Times, “Nice Buildings, Shame About the Events” (Can hosting sporting events give you good PR?)

– 3 September 2006, Boston Globe, “When hush, crowds descend” (Vienna Zentralfriedhof)

– 2 September 2007, Boston Globe, “History in the Tropics” (St Helena)

 

StH long
Anyone who can identify the buildings in both pix on this page – let me know.  

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