When Mayor of London Boris Johnson decided to stage a Q&A on Twitter yesterday, he must have known that few of the queries would be about the microeconomics of bin collection. I was delighted to have one of my own posers identified as one of the more left-field.
But it’s so easy to take the piss with a keyboard. As pointing and laughing and shopping and banking and flirting and everything else migrates online, it’s far more heartwarming to find the real world flexing its muscles. First, author Andrew Kessler has opened a bricks-and-mortar bookshop in New York City, selling just one title – his own book about the 2008 Phoenix Mars mission. Obviously it’s a publicity stunt – a deception in which I’ve just implicated myself – but it still serves as an impudent yah-boo to Amazon and e-readers and everything else that threatens the world of paper and foxing and remainders and mildew and tachiyomi.
And then there’s the indignity meted out to Fang Binxing, the man who designed the so-called Great Firewall, that restricts what Chinese netizens can see. A virus or a concerted spamming or some other digital inconvenience might have been the obvious tactic, but no: someone threw shoes and an egg at him. It’s Ai Weiwei meets Noël Godin, and quite right too.