Friday, September 13, 2002

Ahh, normal service has returned to Blogger after a week of indecipherable errors preventing me from posting. So anyway, some things happened. First of all, I finally moved to Reading. The flat is excellently low-tech. The phone line isn't working and the portable TV only receives three channels - BBC1, ITV and Channel 5. Clearly there's not much call for bourgeois intellectualism in central Berkshire.

Secondly, I had a letter from my tutor informing me that I can no longer flame him as his home PC has been stolen. Poor old tutor, trying to mark his students' essays on the impact of new communications technologies on modern society, only to have his own modest brush with modernity - an AOL account he set up in July - cruelly truncated by the selfish actions of a naughty burglar. Anyway, the essay went off to him in the end, although once again he will probably refuse to mark my febrile rantings about and the RIP Act. Even Pyra got a mention in this one. Instant recipe for a fail.

Thirdly, it was the anniversary of September 11th, an occasion marked by the distribution to millions of employees of hyperbolic, mawkish and jingoistic e-mails emanating from American corporate CEOs. At our place we got off lightly, with a tastefully understated exhortation to remember our eight colleagues who died, but others displayed positively Spielbergian levels of schmaltz. Top prize goes to Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox Corp., whose opening parry reads "The events of last September 11 are forever etched on our minds and seared on our hearts," and continues in this vein for fully four paragraphs, ending with a vow that Bin Laden and co will never force any Xerox office to shut down. You go, Xerox Corp! Not to be outdone, John Mack "The Knife", CEO of Credit Suisse First Boston, implored his troops never to forget the "spirit and sacrifice" of a colleague who lost his life in the attack. Sacrifice, eh? In whose name?

If you have a mawkish company 9-11 e-mail to "share", paste it into the Shout Out and we'll have a contest. No disrespect meant, just a good old British sense of stiff upper lip.

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