Thursday, 13 February 2014

De Botton's Bouillon

What on earth are we to make of this? It purports to be Alain de Botton's riposte to that all-devouring media behemoth the Mail Online, and de Botton does indeed head the editorial board of The Philosophers' Mail. On one level, it mimics Mail Online rather brilliantly - the look and feel of that website, the salacious sidebar tales, the headline-heavy, picture-heavy, overstretched 'stories' - but it's nowhere near funny enough to be an Onion-style spoof. The comedy, such as it is, makes an uneasy fit with the serious content, such as that is. It isn't anywhere near clever enough to be a real 'alternative' or to offer a more genuinely insightful take on the news. In fact the philosophical content, inasmuch as it has any, is de Botton and water - and that makes an awful lot of water, a thin bouillon of tasteful truisms. The Philosophers' Mail is actually a project launched to support de B's latest book - The News: A User's Manual, described on de Botton's website as 'dazzling'. In the current Private Eye, Craig Brown spears it neatly with a piece called Tea: A User's Manual. If The Philosophers' Mail was half  as smart as Brown's piece, it would be worth keeping an eye on.


  1. Have you had a look at The Philsophers' Mail - ?

    I think it might be the worst thing ever on the internet.

  2. Oh yes that's a doozy - and I see today's lead links Francois Hollande and Kierkegaard. Dear god...

  3. In his piece in The Spectator this week Alain de B seems to be suggesting this is a serious attempt to educate the masses in language they understand.

    What a thumping great pillock he is.