From time to time my spiders bring back strange things, most of the time involving people I haven’t heard of and/or were only vaguely aware of. So this time they brought back and item from Digital Spy, citing an interview in Metro with Alain de Botton, who appears to be an atheist who has penned some influential books. Inter alia:
Are you friends with Harry from One Direction?
That would be overegging it. I was introduced to him at a party. Neither of us had heard of each other. We had a nice chat. It was fun.
Did you have much in common?
My plan is to shut the Arts Council and get people such as Harry Styles to go on television and recommend to everyone they read Proust and Hegel, which would achieve more in five minutes than the Arts Council achieves year in, year out. David Beckham could do Aristotle and Plato. The cause of intellectual life in this country would be helped immeasurably. The problem we’ve got is the most famous people in the country tend to believe in things that aren’t particularly ambitious whereas the people who believe in really ambitious things are stuck away in an ivory tower and no one bothers listening to what they think. In an ideal world Harry Styles would be teaching his 10million Twitter followers a little more about Greek philosophy.
Then from Digital Spy we learn that Harry Styles actually took up the suggestion:
Socrates, born in Athens in the 5th century BCE, marks a watershed in Ancient Greek philosophy.—
Harry Styles (@Harry_Styles) February 13, 2013
… which, as Digital Spy notes, is cribbed directly from Wikipedia … we might cynically observe that a Diogenes might mark a watershed in a different sort of way (horrible puns abound!) … anyhoo, I think it would be more impressive if he tweeted something Plato put in Socrates’ mouth … in Greek.