Capturing the zeitgeist

The always-excellent cartoonist Matt sums things up very nicely in today’s Daily Telegraph with this front-page cartoon.

In such a British tongue-in-cheek way, it captures the zeitgeist surrounding two highly topical and opinion-provoking events that have dominated the mainstream media during the past week.

One is pretty serious, the other looks as if it is but really, it isn’t.

The serious story is the one surrounding ex-Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Sir Fred Goodwin. It’s been making headlines every day and prompting ever-stronger critical words from the Prime Minister and other senior figures over Goodwin’s £650,000 annual pension – a situation that has prompted widespread expressions of disgust that the man who presided over a bank that spectacularly failed, and which is a prime recipient of financial aid from the government, walks away from his failure with a legally- and contractually-binding pension pot that looks like a reward for that failure. Goodwin insists that he will not give up a penny of his pension rights.

Does this man have no shame? Apparently not.

The second reference in Matt’s cartoon is to Ryanair and to reports this week that the Irish budget airline is considering installing new coin-operated doors on its aircraft toilets.

Naturally it’s led to some inevitable if not particularly witty headlines like “Spend a pound to spend a penny” and leading to other articles about the “bog-standard airline” being “flush with cash.”

Whether the story is true or not or simply CEO Michael O’Leary making it up, as a Ryanair PR disarmingly describes it – and if you watch O’Leary in this BBC News interview (UK only), I reckon that taking the piss is exactly what he’s doing – I don’t think I’d be surprised at anything from Ryanair considering the behaviour of some employees in this week’s other news about the airline and ‘idiot bloggers’.

At least with stories like these, we get a sense that the world is generally ok if this is the type of news dominating the headlines.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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