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What A Twit!

In media, Uncategorized on October 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm

The political gaffes they wish they hadn’t tweeted…

Story by: Michael Kaedig

Twitter is fast becoming the most dangerous vehicle for political ammunition. Delivering an immediate kidney punch in just 140 characters, it’s hardly surprising that raging passions and immediate access to a smartphone have created a surge in PR disasters from hot-headed politicians who have tweeted then deleted. As David Cameron famously said “Too many tweets makes a twat.” Isn’t that the truth?

Valerie Trierweiler: Catfight 

François Hollande

François Hollande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most recently in the news for having affairs with  Socialist president (and then husband of Segolene Royal), Francois  Hollande, as well as the married Conservative politician Patrick Devedjian at the same time, Miss Trierweiler created a stir back in June after sending a Twitter message encouraging voters to support  Segolene Royal’s rival in the parliamentary elections. Miaow!

Jack Welch: Cooking Lessons

Former G.E. boss tweeted “Unbelievable jobs numbers … these Chicago guys will do anything … can’t debate so change numbers,” in response to Preisdent Obama’s announcement during the debate that the September jobs rate stood at 7.8%.  His incredulity was in part because the new numbers brought the unemployment down to below 8% for the first time in the past four years. When grilled by Anderson Cooper, Welch remained unapologetic for his remarks despite admitting that he had no real evidence for his accusations.  Welch now says he should have added a question mark to the tweet, to show he was questioning rather than accusing the Obama administration of outright fraud.

Dorries vs Mensch

Twitter 6x6

After Ms Dorries accused Mrs Mensch of unprofessionalism during the Murdoch trial, in which she left early to pick up her child from school, of  “putting her own ambitions first” and of being “devoid of principle”, fellow Conservative MP Mensch responded with the following tweet:

 “Waking up to find self on the Nadine Dorries naughty step, which is a pity as I spend my entire life worrying about what she thinks (ahem).”

A Weiner For All Seasons

The career of Democratic US Congressman Anthony Weiner was effectively over after he tweeted a sexual photo of himself  to a young supporter. Weinergate proved that if you’ve got skin in the game, you should be mindful how you play it. Embarrassing stuff.

Newsmax.com: Jack Welch: Obama Cooking the Books on Jobs

 Other related articles

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Gun Violence, Media and Politics

In media, Uncategorized on July 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm
Federally-supported gun violence intervention ...

Federally-supported gun violence intervention program (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since the Colorado massacre, debate has been raging in the media over America’s gun laws.  Republican pundits such as Bill O’Reilly and Greg Gutfeld have referenced similar cases of shootings in countries not traditionally associated with  gun violence,  like the horrific rampage in a Norwegian summer camp  in 2011, to make the case that the issue is the psychological profile of the individuals committing the crimes, and not America’s gun laws which need to be reviewed.

Certainly, in the case of  Jared Loughner who killed six bystanders and shot thirteen others, including US representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona last year, fellow classmates had expressed concern over his psychological state.

With the scandal over 28 year old George Zimmerman’s shooting of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin having only just disappeared from the media spotlight, to claim that other countries suffer from as much gun violence if not more seems besides the point.  The CDC US crime survey taken in 2005 puts the total firearm related death rate in the US at 10.27 per 100,000 population. This is somewhere in-between Mexico and the Philippines, but significantly higher than Argentina. According to these statistics, the US homicide rate is only slightly lower than that of Zimbabwe.

List of countries by firearm-related death rate

This is a historical list of countries by firearm-related death-rate per 100,000 population in one year.

Country Total firearm-related death rate Homicides Suicides Unintentional deaths Year Sources and notes
 South Africa 74.57 74.57 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Colombia 51.77 51.77 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 El Salvador 50.36 50.36 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[2]
 Jamaica 47.44 47.44 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[2]
 Honduras 46.70 46.70 NA NA 2007 OAS 2011[2]
 Guatemala 38.52 38.52 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[2]
 Swaziland 37.16 37.16 NA NA 2004 UNODC 2006[2]
 Brazil 14.15 10.58 0.73 0.28 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Panama 12.92 12.92 NA NA 2010 OAS 2011[2]
 Estonia 12.74 8.07 3.13 0.93 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Mexico 12.07 9.88 0.91 1.27 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 United States 10.27 4.14 5.71 0.23 2004-2006 CDC[4]
 Philippines 9.46 9.46 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Argentina 9.19 2.11 3.05 0.32 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Paraguay 7.35 7.35 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Nicaragua 7.14 7.14 NA NA 2007 OAS 2011[2]
 Finland 6.86 0.86 5.78 0.12 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Northern Ireland 6.82 5.24 1.34 0.12 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Switzerland 6.4 0.58 5.61 0.13 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 France 6.35 0.44 5.14 0.11 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Canada 4.78 0.76 3.72 0.22 1992 Krug 1998[3]
 Zimbabwe 4.75 4.75 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Austria 4.56 0.42 4.06 0.05 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Norway 4.39 0.3 3.95 0.12 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Portugal 3.72 1.28 1.28 0.21 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Belgium 3.48 0.6 2.56 0.06 1990 Krug 1998[3]
 Costa Rica 3.32 3.32 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Uruguay 3.24 3.24 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Slovenia 3.07 0.35 2.51 0.2 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Barbados 3 3 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Israel 3 0.72 1.84 0.13 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Italy 2.95 1.66 1.11 0.11 1992 Krug 1998[3]
 Australia 2.94 0.44 2.35 0.11 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 New Zealand 2.66 0.17 2.14 0.09 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Denmark 2.6 0.23 2.25 0.04 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Azerbaijan 2.38 1.47 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Sweden 2.36 0.18 2.09 0.03 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Slovakia 2.17 2.17 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Peru 1.87 1.87 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[2]
 Czech Republic 1.77 1.77 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Germany 1.57 0.22 1.17 0.04 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Greece 1.5 0.59 0.84 0.04 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Republic of Macedonia 1.28 1.28 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Kuwait 1.25 0.36 0.06 0 1995 Krug 1998[3]
 Hungary 1.21 0.23 0.88 0.09 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Ireland 1.21 0.03 0.94 0.11 1991 Krug 1998[3]
 Latvia 1.2 1.2 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 India 0.93 0.93 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Spain 0.9 0.21 0.43 0.25 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Bulgaria 0.77 0.77 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Netherlands 0.7 0.36 0.31 0.01 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Scotland 0.58 0.19 0.33 0.02 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Moldova 0.47 0.47 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Lithuania 0.46 0.46 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 England/ Wales 0.46 0.07 0.33 0.01 2002 Krug 1998[3]
 Taiwan 0.42 0.13 0.12 0.11 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Belarus 0.38 0.38 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Ukraine 0.35 0.35 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Poland 0.29 0.29 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 Singapore 0.24 0.07 0.17 0 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Hong Kong 0.19 0.12 0.07 0 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Mauritius 0.19 0 0.09 0.09 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Qatar 0.18 0.18 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 South Korea 0.13 0.04 0.02 0.05 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Japan 0.07 0.02 0.04 0 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Chile 0.06 0.06 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
Source: Wikipedia.org

Protecting Second Amendment rights is a hot-button issue for most Americans, but the fact is the misuse of firearms is a cultural problem. US citizens were appalled when then senator Obama commented in 2008:

“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said. “And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” .

Perhaps it’s time to consider, was he really so wrong? A couple of days ago, I went to see The Dark Knight Rises and a chill went down my spine as Ann Hathaway’s character commented to Batman during an action scene “I know how you feel about using guns, but…”. It may only be a Hollywood movie, but guns are as characteristically American as apple pie. It’s figuring out how to manage them that presents the hardest task.

Justin Bieber’s Short Fuse

In media, stuff on July 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Whether getting a ticket for speeding down a highway to avoid Paparazzi, snapping at radio DJs over Timberlake comparisons, or blowing up at over-zealous reporters, it seems that new stories about Justin Bieber’s ‘bratty behaviour’ make the headlines practically every day.

So, what about the man himself? Is he justified in wanting a little privacy, and the same rights to an opinion (or perhaps, an occassional lapse in judgement) as any other person? Or does his celebrity status make him fair game for a tabloid trashing?

Anderson Cooper’s Coming Out Matters

In media, Uncategorized on July 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

CNN’s silver haired, blue eyed adonis, the network’s most eligible bachelor, Anderson Cooper, is now officially off the market for us ladies.

A few days ago Anderson publicly came out  in an email to The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan:

Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I’ve thought about for years. Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to. But I’ve also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist. I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly  12039_084asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn’t set out to write about other aspects of my life. Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true. I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand. The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud. I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist. Since my early days as a reporter, I have worked hard to accurately and fairly portray 19447_001_1563_CCgay and lesbian people in the media – and to fairly and accurately portray those who for whatever reason disapprove of them. It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do. I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth. Being a journalist, traveling to remote places, trying to understand people from all walks of life, telling their stories, has been the greatest joy of my professional career, and I hope to continue doing it for a long time to come. But while I feel very blessed to have had so many opportunities as a journalist, I am also blessed far beyond having a great career. I love, and I am loved. In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life. I appreciate your asking me to weigh in on this, and I would be happy for you to share my thoughts with your readers. I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn’t mean an end to a small amount of personal space. But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.

Anderson Cooper is an incredibly talented reporter, and his decision to come out is a very brave choice to make. Homophobia and anti-gay sentiment appears much more prevalent in the US than in the UK, where an electoral candidate’s views on gay marriage could  never be used as a platform for an election campaign or as a way to gain favour with potential voters. In addition to facing domestic opposition in the US from the religious right, Cooper of course regularly interviews foreign leaders whose political ideologies directly oppose his own. Certainly, I think Anderson Cooper’s coming out will have repercussions on the way people react to and interact with him in the future. Although I believe that reporters should be allowed the same rights of privacy as anyone else, his sexuality does matter. As a media celebrity, he has the power to raise awareness about gay rights issues, and hopefully to get some people to question their own prejudice.

Yemen’s Opposition Urge Confirmation Saleh No Longer In Charge

In media on June 8, 2011 at 11:25 am

In a telephone interview from Sana’a today with Bloomberg news, a representative from the Yemeni main opposition party Joint Meeting Parties, Al-Mutawakkil, stated that the party will give Vice President Abadurabo Mansur Hadi several days to “resove this issue” and confirm that he has assumed the duties of the recuperating President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saleh is currently recovering in hospital after sustaining serious injuries caused after a bomb was planted inside his compound last week (initial reports attributing the injuries sustained to a rocket attack on the President’s palace have since been discredited). The injuries are reported to be more serious than originally thought –  Saleh is receiving treatment for burns covering 40 per cent of his body, and one anonymous official has stated that Saleh is suffering from bleeding inside his skull.

The Joint Meeting Party are seeking  for Hadi to make his leadership as acting president official so as to avoid a continuation of Saleh’s rule. This comes after a recent escalation of violence in Yemen following Saleh’s refusal to sign the Gulf Corporation Council plan in which he was offered immunity from prosecution if he agreed to step down from the presidency within 30 days, and to hand over power to Hadi.

Over 37 Syrian Protestors Killed

In media on March 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm

 

(Reuters) – The main hospital in the southern Syrian city of Deraa has received the bodies of at least 37 protesters who were killed in a confrontation with security forces, a hospital official said Thursday.

Security forces opened fire on hundreds of youths at the northern entrance to Deraa Wednesday afternoon, according to witnesses, in a dramatic escalation of nearly a week of protests in which at least 44 civilians have been killed since Friday.

Germany’s Immigrants “Learn to get along”?!

In media on February 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm

 

CNN’s Diana Magnay correctly highlights the problem of  alienation faced by  the “180 different nationalities who call Berlin their home”. Germany’s poorly implemented immigration policies have created a ghettoised culture in Berlin, in which non-Germans can become almost totally isolated from German society. And, yes, this is particularly relevant for Turkish immigrants; probably more a consequence of the Turkish population constituting the largest, non-German ethnic group (totalling 2.1% of the 9% of immigrants living in Germany), than of any cultural aversion to integrating into German society per se.

The charming and enthusiastic English language learners in Magnay’s report are not wholly reflective of the type of students you might expect to find in one of the “government mandated English language classes”. As every ESL teacher knows, the job seekers or Arbeitsamt courses, tend to be treated by language trainers with a combination of fear and dread – they are generally attended by large groups of lower level language learners and student motivation is pretty low. Classes are usually heavily oversubscribed and offloaded onto inexperienced teachers, and students sit in the classroom for 8hrs a day, every day. If you’re just starting out with English, that’s pretty brutal. Certainly, policies on the structure and implementation of these courses needs to be revised, otherwise Germany risks alienating people like Yookie and Tomek, the young immigrants who very much want to learn languages, and to become fully integrated into German society.

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2011/02/22/ilist.magnay.germany.integration.cnn

Lara Logan and Assaults on Female Journalists

In media, Uncategorized on February 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm

CBS correspondent Lara Logan was released from hospital yesterday  following a “brutal” assault in Tahir Square after Hosni Mubarak’s resignation last Friday.

Logan was covering the celebrations in Egypt for a “60 Minutes” story when she and her crew were surrounded by a dangerous mob of 200 men. In the chaos, she became separated from her crew, when she was surrounded, beaten and sexually assaulted.

The attack lasted about 20 minutes, after which a group of women and up to 20 Egyptian soldiers managed to rescue her.

CBS News’s Katie Couric reports that Logan is “recovering well”, and Logan has told friends that the attack in Egypt “will not destroy her”.

One week prior to the attack, the South-African born  chief foreign affairs correspondent and her crew were detained overnight and interrogated while entering Cairo. Logan described being marched at gunpoint through the streets of Cairo back to her hotel as ” a very frightening experience and one which was repeated throughout the day”.

In a statement on Thursday night, she told Esquire magazine “We were detained by the Egyptian army. Arrested, detained and interrogated.” She described being kept in stress positions throughout the night and denied medical treatment after her and her crew were accused of being “Israeli agents.”

‘We were accused of being more than journalists, very frightening suggestions were being made. Suggestions that really could be very dangerous for us,’ she said.

Harassment of women on the streets is a major issue in Egyptian society, although measures to curb the problem are often met with resistance from officials. Suzanne Mubarak once suggested that the problem was manipulated by the media to portray Egypt in a  damming light.

Official figures of attacks on women published in The Guardian today would appear to contradict this:

A survey by the independent Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights in 2008, however, revealed that 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign women had been exposed to some form of sexual harassment, including groping, verbal abuse, stalking and indecent exposure.

Comments on the Lara Logan assault have sparked controversy in the US after certain journalists attempted to downplay or make light of the incident. NYU fellow Nir Rosen posted insensitive remarks on Twitter, saying that Logan “had to outdo Anderson [Cooper]….She was probably groped like thousands of other women….It would have been funny if it happened to Anderson, too.” Rosen has since apologised and was forced to resign from his fellowship.

Right-wing blogger Debbie Schlussel has been condemned for blaming Logan for bring the attack upon herself, stating that she should have expected Muslim “animals” to treat her this way.

“How fitting that Lara Logan was ‘liberated’ by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over…the ‘liberation.’…Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Praise Allah!” blogged Schlussel.

Schlussel’s comments have been met with a surge of protest online by those who fear the Logan assault could be twisted by the right wing into a story of Arab misogyny.

An article in the 2007 Colombia Journalism Review suggests that many female foreign correspondents do not report incidents of sexual abuse, for fear of being prevented from being given future assignments.

Heather Blake, of Reporters Without Borders, said that the incident should not be used to prevent female correspondents from going out into the field.

“Female journalists have distinct voices to male journalists and it is vital that those very different concerns and outlooks continue to be heard,” she argued. “The attack on Lara Logan highlights the fact that there needs to be gender-specific protection and training of journalists.  The Guardian

See: Walk Free! Stop Sexual Harassment in Egypt and Apology to Lara Logan

Learning to Love The Big Society…

In media on February 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm

David’s Cameron’s ‘big society’ plan should be making the British public go weak at the knees. The Prime Minister’s “mission” to encourage civic engagement through schemes for social improvement – empowering local communities, forging collaborative ventures, and insisting that power in public services be decentralised-  seems sound enough in theory.  However, his agenda has been much maligned by both the right and the left. Why are we so opposed to the “Big Society”?

The fact is, Cameron’s pet project is just too vague for many people to allow for the possibility of any substantive changes arising from his plan to fix our “broken society”.  The government’s budget cuts have already forced tough decisions on local authorities who are having to cut back on funding to charities, and the potential closure of dozens of local libraries across London, in areas such as Brent, Lambeth and Ealing are a casualty of said cuts. Is it any wonder we’re sceptical of such Big Ideas? The creation of the Big Society bank sounds great, but again it will cost.

If we’re cynical, it’s not because we don’t like the potential of “social recovery as well as an economic recovery” which Cameron’s “absolute passion” promises. It’s maybe more because we’re the wife of a philandering husband who brings us flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s, and promises year after year “never again, baby”. So, we take him back because it’s Valentine’s Day in the hope that this year he will behave differently, and keep his promise.

Generation Y: Are YOU part of the problem?

In media, stuff on February 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm

This morning I received a link on Facebook to a video from my cousin. He appended a tagline to this which innocently enquired “Are you part of the problem, or the solution?”. Ordinarily, I tend to avoid guilt-inducing documentaries about saving the planet, which tend to have a thinly disguised anti-corporate, anti-government, anti-Capitalist agenda. I’ve been to University, bought copies of the Socialist Worker from the ageing vendor picketing outside, attended meetings on Marxist-feminism, and ultimately concluded this isn’t the solution. At least, this isn’t the solution for me.

I have spent too long trying to fight for my survival, just to stay afloat and make enough money to make ends meet, to waste my time and pay undue attention to a bunch of overpriviledged, private school educated Graphic Design students pontificate on  9/11 conspiracy theories, or the ills of modern society.

But, today was a special day. This was a day in which I woke up feeling a little less cynicism, and a little more hope. An attitude which may have as much to do with a recent change in my personal circumstances as it does with current political events (my boyfriends’s new job moving us from a dire state of packet noodle malnourishment and avoiding the landlord, to that of gorging on Waitrose oysters and Beaujolais, and planning a holiday in Madeira – Happy Valentine’s Day indeed!).

The fact is, I always knew what I wanted; a big family; a nice house, preferably in South Kensington or surrounding area; a husband, who respects and loves me; job satisfaction; a high salary; above all, I always hungered after money and power. So, watching the documentary I suddenly felt a pang of guilt. I’m guilty of succumbing to that terrible addiction the majority of 21st century Westerners so often fall prey to: wanting more. I began to panic, attempting to rationalise my thoughts – surely, this is an adaptive trait? A drive to succeed, a burning ambition to work harder, do better, make more money, and to get better qualified,  gives me energy. It prevents me from looking around me in desperation at the tragic state of modern society, and from falling into a pit of despair at the realisation of my own shortcomings and failures. This is what gets me up in the morning. Why feel guilty about it?

Eating a packet of Oreos while reading an article on CNN Money about Conan O’Brien, I started to wonder why Gen-Xers such as Conan, or Jon Stewart or Obama – all men in their late 40s, have the ability to inspire and motivate Gen-Yers, such as myself.  Yesterday, I came across a blog by an MBA student which discussed leadership theories that match different generational categories to different personality types. For example, the Golden Generation of pre WW2 would tend to show a obedience to authority, in contrast to the Baby Boomers of the Vietnam era who consequently display a dislike and mistrust towards authority. While I find these categories could be a little reductive, and question the utility and validity of applying them to generations wholesale (it seems like a nice little project for a bored University Sociology professor, and if executed poorly could be considered just one step up from making astrological predictions based on  peoples sun signs), I do have to admit that some of the qualities outlined for the Gen-Yers are applicable to me.  I am indeed a globally selfish person – when I consider volunteering I think about whether having experience at the RSC would look better on my CV than Theatre Peckham, even if they do desperately need the extra help. Call me a bad person if you want, but it just seems like smart business to me.

I’m afraid I can’t concur with the opinion that Gen-Xers are a bunch or disaffected and angry 40 somethings. After all, people’s attitudes reflect not only their social environment, but also their own age and the depth of their own personal experience. I hope that by the time I reach my mid-40s I’m not paralysed by disappointment in my government, or jaded and embittered by lost youth, lost love, missed chances, and that I have the strength and power to fight for what I believe in and to encourage others to do the same. While the world is filled with inspirational figures like Obama, Assange, Jon Stewart, and yes,Conan O’Brien, who challenge peoples perceptions and encourage young people to question paralysing and stultifying systems of power, I will embrace Generation X. These are the spokesmen who inspire me to believe that I can be a part of building a better future for the next generation, and that working to revolutionise systems of power is not merely the purview of the naive, or the rich, or the young. This is really happening now. Through unity and power people have the power to shape their own destiny, and the destiny of our world. And that’s real change, no matter how old the messenger is.