How amateur filmmaker proves women have better hi-tech focus
This week we read the story of the Irish amateur filmmaker whose trip of a lifetime to Vegas has resulted in one of the most watched YouTube videos in the world. Evan Griffin gave his dad Joseph his GoPro movie camera to capture every golden moment of his holiday, and Joseph took full advantage of the 'idiot proof' camera, recording hours of his visits to world famous landmarks and the Vegas Strip.
It was only when he got home and proudly showed his work to his son that it became clear Joseph had filmed his entire trip in selfie mode. It was the longest 'face to camera' monologue the world of travel journalism had ever been privy too.
Evan was as sympathetic as most sons would surely have been. He made a short montage of the footage, comprised entirely of his dad's animated face as he rather poetically describes the unseen panoramic vistas in front of him.
He uploaded it to YouTube, explaining he'd given Joseph a GoPro but 'my dad, being my dad, and a culchie, didn't know which way to point the f***** thing.' So far five million people have watched the film.
The story went viral, with many questioning whether such a prolonged period of dunderheadedness could really be believed. Perhaps it was a hilarious dad hoax. But in my house, the tale was met with grave, comprehending nods.
We know a dad who has done a very similar thing, and our reaction was as forgiving as Evan Griffin's. A close-up picture of said dad staring confusedly into a camera phone demanding 'How do you take a photo with this thing?' was recently immortalised in the form of a large memorial picture mug, which is always the first choice when a visitor comes for coffee.
To be fair, my husband has always accepted - some might say revelled in - his technological ineptness. He seems to regard it as proof that he has not, like the rest of us, allowed his pure Luddite soul to be sullied by an evil Capitalist trick to take all our money and spy on us at the same time.
Not all men are as relaxed about their inability to master modern advancements. I used to work with John Peel, whose legendary propensity for putting records on at the wrong speed, or sliding up the wrong studio microphone, made him even more cherished by his legion of devotees.
John hated making mistakes though, and got very cross when he did. He didn't like the idea of himself, once so hip, so utterly happening, as doddery or out of touch.
I myself am a bit of a device junkie, a so-called early adopter.
This was once regarded as a male trait - James Bond was the icon of the gadget scene, the ultimate conquerer of 'stuff.'
Coincidentally, I met the team behind the techno/gizmo magazine Stuff this week, and they told me a growing awareness that women were equally as interested and capable of mastering technology (fancy that!) led to Stuff's recent, successful, decision to get rid of the half-naked ladies who used to sprawl across their front cover and make their publication gender neutral.
I'm amazed it's taken them so long. Since electric machines freed women from the slavish drudge of the wash basin and the mangle, we've kept a keen eye on technological leaps.
That association, between liberation, and increasingly these days, creativity (for us and our kids), has many women like me fascinated by the prospect of adventures in the unknown future which might await us.
This is our world now, and if we're feeling generous, we'll try to be patient with the dads trying to catch up, too.
Emoji ‘word’ no laughing matter
The Oxford Dictionary has always been clever at grabbing headlines through its annual ‘word of the year’ announcement and this year is a PR corker.
They’ve gone for... not a word at all, but an emoji of a face crying tears of joy. It certainly reflects current trends in ‘language’, but one which I cannot salute.
I enjoy new words, but hate the idea of expressing myself through phrases or pictures someone else originated. I reject all slogan T-shirts/posters/home decor on the same grounds.
Using pre-written, mass-marketed phrases to describe how you feel or what you believe in is admitting an unimaginative, inarticulate defeat. Lol.
Barring refugees is a victory for IS
One of the most tragic indirect results of the Paris attacks has been a turning of backs on those seeking refuge in Europe and America.
Talk of terrorists using ‘migrant passage’ to enter the West has led to calls for us all to close our doors on the people who have already had their lives destroyed by IS, and hoped they had one last chance for a liveable life in a fairer, better society.
Donald Trump led a chorus of boos against Obama this week for the President’s audacious aim to welcome more refugees into America.
We must not let this culture of ignorance and hate grow. It would mean absolute victory for IS.