Thursday 29 May 2014

It's not what you say, it's where you say it

I had just arrived at my office this morning when I ran into one of my colleagues.  “Hello, David,” she said.   “I’ve just been reading about you in the Daily Mail.”

My heart stopped for a moment.  I may not have that much to be ashamed of, but still – you never quite know.

What I had failed to expect was the way that speaking in public at the Hay Festival can make what you say unexpectedly interesting to the newspapers.

I had, after all, been plugging away at my book Broke: How to Survive the Middle Class Crisis for some time, certainly since the publication of a cheaper edition in January.  There was quite a lot of coverage at the time.  The Mail even reviewed it twice.

So I was unprepared for the interest this morning, and not just in the Mail – which published the usual rather windswept picture of me – but also in the Telegraph and the Independent.  It was gratifying to see them taking my argument seriously, but mildly annoying that they didn't mention that there is a book, or that the book is not as bleak as their headlines imply.  There is a way out, and I've suggested that there may be more than one...

Since getting home this evening, I see that the Huffington Post has also covered the story, and in a little more breadth.

I've also had a chance to look at some of the comments below the Telegraph article, many of which are supportive - I'm not the only one to see the trends - but one of which says that, because I used the term'proletariat', I must be a Marxist, and therefore... etc etc.

The whole experience is a little strange - nice that my thesis is getting some coverage, but strange that something I said on the BBC originally back in March last year, and which passed most of the media by in January when the new edition came out, should get such wide coverage now just because I said it at the Hay Festival.

Strange, but perhaps less of a surprise, that it is the frightening aspect of the message of the book - and not the hopeful, hopefully exhilarating bit - that gets all the attention.

Because there is hope.  That's why I wrote the book.

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