Brian Dean on Anxiety Culture

david cameron David Cameron (the head of the Conservative Party here in the UK) is a ghoulish, possibly evil powerfreak. His new campaign is a stern-sounding warning about a pending social recession, a phenomenon that didn’t exist until he commissioned it from some spin doctor or other. It’s a dim little fiction he brainstormed in order to rekindle those 28 Days Later anxieties we had when we first heard about the global financial crisis. It’s natural to fear a ‘worst case scenario’ but they almost never happen. Fretting constantly about them is no way to live, so ignore Cameron’s shit-stirring and that of others like him.

Instead of barricading the door and stocking up on canned goods, try turning off the telly and reading fewer newspapers so that you don’t have to swallow this torrent of damaging crap any more. Be selective about the media you consume.

Brian Dean of The Guardian, Anxiety Culture and Media Hell writes in the pending Issue Three of New Escapologist. As a special social recession gift to you, here is the properly typeset article for free.

Issue Three of New Escapologist – the Practicalities Issue – will be released in February.

An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 9.

On a train to London, a friend confides that he’s become a “light-switcher-offer”. That is, he finds himself devoutly switching off the lights in unoccupied rooms. To me, this is not a big deal: I’ve always been a light-switcher-offer. My friend, however, worries that his new habit is somehow miserly, and he interestingly describes it as ‘sexless’.

That it is sexless, I think, can be refuted. I suggested on the train that switching off unnecessary lights (and conserving power generally) contributes to a smaller carbon footprint. Being in-vogue, small carbon footprints are sexy. Therefore, so is the act of switching off lights. My friend remained unconvinced. Read the rest of this entry »

Design recognition

We had the 36th best-looking website on the whole of the Internet yesterday according to design blog, CommandShift3. We only have a simple WordPress.com site but this clearly impressed someone.

Proper post coming soon.

Houdini ephemera

Harry Houdini’s letterhead appeared this week at the brilliant new Letterheady website.

Come to think of it, the equally wonderful Letters of Note recently posted a piece of correspondance from the man himself.

Tangential to our idiom of ‘New’ Escapology, of course, but everyone should love Houdini.

Oppression by technology?

Laptops and the Internet provide unparalleled opportunities for mobility. A beautifully designed cloud computing arrangement can be the Escapologist’s friend.

There is the concern, however, that most people don’t use technology in a way that ensures the greatest benefit. Gadgetophilia and over-dependency come at a high cost and the world could so easily become a bleeping, malfunctioning, information-heavy technomess.

There’s a page in this week’s New Scientist written by Yair Amichai-Hamburger that offers a rather brilliant articulation of the problem and some simple solutions. Allow me to point you at it.

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