"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Monday, 3 August 2009

Blogging and the Real World

I see that the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has attacked young Facebook users for letting the site cripple their social skills and stop them forming meaningful relationships. I can see a glimmer of truth in this and I know that many thoughtful people (eg Susan Greenfield) are worried about the impact of computers and internet use on our brains and personalities and much else. But the debate always seems to polarise between Luddites and Panglossian geeks, the latter regarding any reservation about internet use as a kind of blasphemy or letting the side down. I simply don't know but I am struck by the high proportion of my literary friends who are active users and bloggers.

Vincent Nichols is famous in my family for having stopped my three-year-old self in a Liverpool street when a nut fell off my yellow tricycle and effected an emergency repair. It is thus hard for me to criticise him, but another schoolfriend who lived next door to him when they were kids tells me that he thinks Nichols will be the next English Pope. If ambition were all that were required I am sure it's in the bag.


Ms Baroque said...

Well, I think his remarks probably come from the same school as your epigraph above, you know... you simply can;t be doing one thing while you are busy doing another.

And I can see it. For the kids, it blurs boundaries and even blurs the boundaries of interaction/non-interaction. Hence both talking & texting, say, in cafe. I was trying to tell my daughter off yesterday and she thought she could be facebook chatting at the same time!

Love "Panglossian geeks."

Stephen Mitchelmore said...

He's one to talk! Catholicism cripples social skills. Has the Archibish or any of his buddies got a girlfriend yet?

Nicholas Murray said...

Wasn't there some press tittle-tattle about a nun? Actually, my beef with Vince is that he denied that there was any serious problem of physical maltreatment of boys at the Christian Brothers school in Liverpool he and I (a little later) attended. Saintly people should follow whatever commandment it is and tell the truth. Too many old boys (John Birt, Laurie Taylor, Roger McGough – ah what a roll-call of Titans) have confirmed that all was not well at that school in the 1960s for anyone to pretend it didn't happen.