Friday 23 March 2018

Classic establishment insider still playing at being a maverick

The academic socialism Michael D promotes will bore us for years, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

As he turned up at the Ark Cultural Centre for Children in Temple Bar last week for an official engagement as Irish President, Michael D Higgins wasn't even trying to win round the doubters who dismissed him during the election as some kind of silver-haired fuddy duddy, too old for the Aras, too out of touch for the 21st Century.

On the contrary, he went out of his way to embrace the image by urging Ireland's young people to throw away their PlayStations. "It is possible to form the impression," was how he put it, "that many of today's children no longer fully appreciate the joy of taking refuge in their own imaginations, preferring to spend their time on computer games, or watching digital television or playing with pre-programmed electronic toys."

Goodness, but that is one prissy, round-the-houses way of expressing yourself. "It is possible to form the impression," indeed. If you've got something to say, man, then say it, don't sneak up on it from a 90-degree angle, as if you're afraid the quarry might get away if you approach it directly. Though maybe that's the point. The target of his kindly avuncular disapproval would escape, because what he's saying isn't right.

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