By her own admission, Jenny Odell’s book isn’t saying anything new, but the terms of reference are bang up to date for a new generation inured to personal branding, social monoculture, and the reification of the self: “It is within a blasted landscape of neoliberal determinism that this book seeks hidden springs of ambiguity and inefficiency.” What she goes on to prescribe as the solution to the multiple distractions competing for our mental energy approximates the concept, familiar in many Eastern religious practices, of being “in the zone”, or its more recent iteration of “flow”.
It’s not just Christmas bells you have to listen out for at this time of year – it’s alarm bells. For the smiling man – or woman – at your front door may not be Santa Claus. The Scottish Government has been asked by Dr Alastair Allan, a rural MSP, what measures it can take to better enhance the consumer protection for vulnerable people facing aggressive sales at the doorstep.
Should political parties be permitted to produce election material that resembles a local newspaper? That question has been thrown to the fore in this current general election after it has emerged that all three of the main parties attempting to win the December 12 poll have been producing partisan free-sheets that appear to ape or at least resemble existing local publications. Has the time now come, the newspaper industry is asking, for such practices to be banned completely, especially when an election is underway?