The Loop: Fame grilled
Welcome to The Loop, the Magazine's letters column, including the best of your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.
What is it that makes people interested in fame? Earlier this week anthropologist Jamie Tehrani wrote in the Magazine that it starts with our ancestors imitating prestigious individuals on the basis that they have superior skills and knowledge, but ends up in wanting to wear the same pants as David Beckham.
That's the theory at least, and lots of readers seemed to recognise something of themselves. There was, though, some scepticism. On our Facebook page, Laura Catchpole takes exception to the premise. "Not all of us are daft enough to follow celebs slavishly. My only concern with actors/musicians I like is whether they are going to produce any more good work." Mark Cattell tweets: "OMG, like, do we have, like, maladapted brains, so like they evolved foolishly to follow the Kardashians?"
James Francis Hall writes on Facebook: "I enjoyed this article when I read it last night, and found it amusing that the BBC's main news story was about Chris 'who?' Brown doing something or other." (We doubt it was our main story, to be honest, James, but point taken.) Meanwhile Tanuj Shah writes: "Let us have an 'Ignore the Celebrity Day' annually."
George Osborne, the UK's chancellor of the exchequer, tweeted a picture of himself eating a burger this week. In case you missed it, it was big news. And it did rather highlight the rise of posh burgers - not least since some US chains are in the process of opening in the UK. As our article noted, "burgers are all things to all people".
Sarah Hapgood isn't too taken with the picture of the burger at the top of our story, saying: "I like a good burger, but the picture in this story makes it look like something out of a Quatermass film." Roger Ivan Hart says he thinks the picture "makes £10 burger look like instant heart attack".
NW appreciates the finer things in life though, in this case "a report for the masses to read with words like 'quotidian'." Josh Hall adds: "The thing I love most about the BBC is its prescience. It really gets on a story before anyone else." (We suspect the rise of the posh burger is something Josh has long known about and that his apparently complimentary comment might in fact be tinged with sarcasm.)
While talking about picture selection, though, Paul McMc responds to our piece on Ian Brady's claim to have used method acting: "Piece on feigning mental illness *not* using picture of Blackadder with pants on head and pencils up nose. C'mon BBC!"
Last weekend the fine gentleman of business broadcasting, Peter Day, told us of his 10-year promise not to recline his seat, after having been squished by a domino effect of reclined seats in front of him when he was wedged at the back of a plane in a non-recliner. John Bratby of Southampton sympathises: "I couldn't agree more. All I want from a premium economy seat is not more legroom, but simply the promise that the seat in front cannot be reclined (mine doesn't need to recline either, so it should be possible). Nothing worse than looking at someone else's scalp for 12 hours."
Peter wrote that one of the compensations for always having to fly economy (working for the BBC, after all), was that one could see out of the windows. It would also give one the opportunity to calculate the length of the runway, just like our More or Less colleagues did, having watched Fast & Furious 6. Their answer (spoiler alert) was that the runway in the film is 18.37 miles (29.6 km).
Adrian from Ontario writes: "Thank you for this thorough analysis. I think that not only engineers (like myself) but the general public has to be aware of all the physic, chemistry and mathematics laws that the films happily ignore."
Chris Rook from Auckland adds: "Presumably the rest of the movie stacks up just fine then?" While long time Monitorite Basil Long asserts his indignation: "Well thanks for spoiling the film for me! I believed it was a fly-on-the-wall account of real-life events!"
Yes, yes. Colin Hodgson of Ulverston has a deeper insight though: "Does this film give a clue as to how we can solve the capacity problem at Heathrow and Gatwick? Build a runway between the two, label it as a film set/theme park and sell tickets. The price dictates how far you can fly and who with. Simples!"
And now our weekly selection of your emails quoted verbatim.
This from David Sheppard in Romford:
"The Cambodian Tailorbird was hiding in plain sight, was it? My understanding of the word hiding is a bit different."
And someone only admitting to be "Demented of Moira" writes:
"Despite being a newshound I have never ever got full marks in the quiz of the week, and I routinely hog the middle band. I put it to you that nobody but nobody achieves seventh heaven. I suggest you outsource the quiz to one of our exam boards, otherwise you will have a nation of failures banging their heads in frustration."
We can't decide if John Bratby (again) is being delightfully playful in this email, mentioning, as he does, a subject which has over the years been very much discussed in these pages:
"This whole thing about saying 'SW19' instead of 'Wimbledon' is really becoming a very tired cliche, isn't it? Can the BBC have something like a swear-box, and make their journalists and commentators put a pound in each time they say 'SW19'? Proceeds to a homeless charity in that postcode, maybe?"
And a final utilitarian query from Terrence Lockyer of Johannesburg.
"There still appears to be no RSS feed for the new-look Magazine Monitor, or individual features. Will there ever be?"
The answer, for the Monitor at least, is still yes. But still not quite yet. Thanks for bearing with us.