June 16th, 2010

A Sunny Afternoon

Yesterday the sun came out- and stayed- so I sat in the yard and did a crossword puzzle and read Citizens.

There was a scruffy, little, fat bird hopping about in the bushes.  I think it must have been the dear baby the robins have been raising. It could fly in a raggedy sort of way, but still wanted its mum- to which end it kept going "peep, peep, peep".  Mum, of course, knew better than to answer while there was a scary human being around.

I'm halfway through Citizens. The way Schama tells it France was reforming itself hell for leather through the 1780s- and might have turned into a modern state a whole lot faster if the revolution hadn't intervened. We've reached the spring of 1789- and the weather has kicked in, with drought following a ruined harvest- and people are getting to be a little unreasonable. Rousseau- dead by this time- has a lot to answer for with his cult of feeling and authenticity. The enlightenment men- prepared to think their way through problems- are giving ground to a set of bleeding hearts who are looking for someone to blame.

Pay Walls

The pay walls have gone up at The Times and The Sunday Times. Goodbye guys, it was nice knowing you.

Of course Rupert Murdoch is entirely within his rights to charge for content, but I think he's miscalculating. He's an old bloke and he doesn't understand the Net. The old newspapers no longer have a monopoly on news and comment- and if they ask us to pay for what we've become accustomed to getting for free, we'll simply go elsewhere.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how things work out.