Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Quiet time for Oliver James

Morning all. You won't hear too much from me today: 3 90 minutes sessions with new students in a row will keep me from the keyboard and interweb for quite some time, thankfully.

Anyone watch Newsnight last night? It included the unedifying sight of media psychologist Oliver James - supported by Jeremy Paxman - berating a young academic. In particular, James repeatedly implied that she was a liar. Given that the subject was whether or not children required incredibly intensive parenting in the toddler years to avoid ruination as an adult, I found myself wondering what Mr. James's parents had done to him: I've rarely seen such intemperate rudeness on television. There was also a distinct air of ageing macho lions about it too. No matter how calmly she tried to make her reasonable points, she was interrupted by these bullies.

I have no idea whether Oliver James's ideas are good or not: all I saw was a choleric, ranting playground bully.

I blame the parents.

Here's a rather more balmy 'Oliver James'.


litlove said...

Gah! That is so annoying. This over-idealisation of attachment parenting is a dangerous thing. Kids need love and security, but the very last thing they need is a mother hovering over them, investing all her emotions and hopes in a small being because she's not allowed to fulfill them for herself. The whole attachment thing was dreamed up by John Bowlby looking at children completely deprivated of their mother - war ophans and evacuees. Plus, he was the last of the generation to have nannies, and little contact with a real live mother. NOT the same thing as the obsession modern mothers are supposed to have with their babies.

Ok, I'll take a few deep breaths now...!

Anonymous said...

In the little that I saw of Newsnight i felt that Oliver James was a true academic in discussion with a mismatched lightweight who could not back up her argument and completely missed his point (neatly sidestepped by Paxo & BBC) that capitalist society is in a bit of a mess with the haves winning out big time and the plebs are totally stuffed !!. Oliver was clearly passionate and wound up though - I'll give you that.

The Plashing Vole said...

I didn't really get a sense of what James was arguing, because he was so angrily abusive of the other woman. I didn't feel she was out of her depth, but that she wasn't prepared to (and for) that kind of discourse. It didn't help that they were from different disciplines and read different things.

If James's argument was as you summarise it, I'm with him, but I think a lot of people will have seen an angry bully shouting a woman down.

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog whilst googling 'oliver james psychologist rude' after hearing a radio program where the aforementioned individual was so repeatedly rude to Esther Rantzen he lost all credibility. Esther Rantzen's crime? she hadn't liked his book choice and had the cheek to tell him so. From this point on he tried to embarrass and intimidate her by asking her questions such as whether she liked sex or not. He came across as a misogynist and a bully.