Piers Benn

Conundrums and Controversies

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Blog debut

Welcome to my blog debut. I shall try to be aware of the dangers of rambling, or posting just for the sake of it. My purpose will largely be to comment on topical issues, books or articles I have read or interesting things I have noticed. But stating what I shall be writing about is rather like stating ‘areas of future development’ on an appraisal form; you have a vague idea of what you are meant to be saying and you know that this will not relate much to reality. You know that this doesn’t really matter, but also that stating plain facts in a modest way will not advance anything. So here goes.

Here’s an initial thought. For some reason, I have just been watching the episodes of ‘The Office’. The set bears a disturbing resemblance to where I worked between 2000 and 2006. David Brent does no discernible work and is a hopeless, self-deluded loser. That is why he is (at least moderately) funny. But there’s a strange, touching twist at the end: after all his empty boasting of playing the field with women, actually meets a woman he could be happy with. His loser-dom may yet find redemption. But does this take away from the comedy, or add a needed touch of compassion? And when comedy is cruel – which it sometimes is – is that an objection we should take seriously?