Sunday, January 06, 2008

Risk Management

Like several other people I am very pleased to discover, originally via Mr Paine, the return of Theo Spark in a new blog guise. Not only is it as much of a visual delight as its predecessor, but his much hat-tipped publicising of a very funny presentation on the dangers of blogging was a valuable reminder to go and pay a long overdue visit to the TED website.

I have to admit that for me, Yossi Vardi's warnings of blogging biohazards was pipped at the post by this, from Gever Tulley, on 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do:

I just wish the live audience had been full of UK health and safety fruitcakes, so I could have enjoyed the the thuds of them hitting the floor as they collapsed and the sounds of their heads exploding.

I'm not sure about the idea of giving kids pocket knives but I know I did all of the others and, as much as it may beyond the capability of the killjoy brigade to understand, playing with fire did not make me into an arsonist, driving my dad's car a little in an empty car park didn't make me into a joy rider, and so on and so forth. As for dismantling obsolete domestic appliances, it did actually help create an interest in engineering, even if it was ultimately bacterial genomes that I learned to pull apart at university rather than old TV sets.

The only trouble we got in to from any of these activities was when my friends and I burned a dozen copies of one of our school books. In my defence, I should say this was long before I had any knowledge of the negative connotations of book burning and as an English set-book I still feel that Steinbeck's 'The Pearl' is a rare exception that more than merits such treatment.

Usually when you hear children asked why they get involved in various kinds anti-social behaviour or crime, the word 'bored' appears more often than any appeal about poverty or 'social exclusion'. If I'd grown up in the risk-averse, antiseptic kind of environment the government and a hundred and one self-important campaign groups seem to think is best world for kids I know I'd have been bloody bored too.

No comments: