Thursday, January 03, 2008

Oliver James is a very interesting man

I was reading the Guardian today whilst waiting for the bus after dropping the car off for a service (its going to hurt my bank account- oh dear!). The first comment piece was by this bloke Oliver James who was ranting about the epidemic of something called "Affluenza". I'd heard the term before and had an idea that it was some tree-hugging way of slamming over consumption- which it is- but I'd always imagined that the people who came up with this rather trite affliction were tree-hugging hippies themselves, banging on about how we should all be happy living in mud huts, etc. I.E. the archetypal sandal wearing twats who give right wing capitalist fundamentalist twats massive political ammunition. However Oliver James piece- although it was a bit whiny and generalist- was actually well referenced and stacked with dark statistics. Intrigued, I followed a link to his website,, where you can view a video of the man himself talking about his research on the prevalence of defined mental illness amongst Westernised nations. More specifically, he states that levels of this illness are twice as high in English speaking "selfish capitalist" nations than they are in continental European states.

I watched Oliver James' video with growing interest. He seemed to be advancing many controversial opinions with which I agreed and raised incredibly salient points with regard to the human condition. My problem with him is that he is a terrible public speaker- he 'umms' and ahhhs' incessantly. He wanders from one subject to the next without real purpose. He doesn’t end sentences. Its incredibly frustrating to hear someone as fascinating as this chap obviously is make such a meal out of an opportunity to make a profound statement. In fact, Oliver James is exactly the sort of person who I would never want to appear in public on my behalf if I were in politics because of his inability to make a point clearly and concisely. The ignorant public would laugh at him and switch over to David Cameron’s polished visage talking fluently about green issues and the need to make a difference. Its such a shame that politics in this country is like that because Oliver James is quite clearly an incredibly intellectual chap with a string of brilliant texts in print. He certainly isn’t afraid of making bold assertions about why popular cultural trends are detrimental to our societal well being, however he does not explain clearly why this should be the case.

I’m going to read one of his books to see if that’s any clearer. If it isn’t, I’m going to have to declare him- against my gut instinct- a cockweasel.


Incidentally that warmongering fuckwit, Oliver Kamm, posted a response to Oliver James' piece. I gave him appropriate treatment in the comments.

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