Among my instructions to my contemporaries, back in the ‘sixties, was to, “Grow up!” Gentle reader will observe that I had yet to follow this instruction, myself, and that my contemporaries were under the same chronological impairment. Now that I look back in time, I recall many of the sports and frolics of childhood that I enjoyed while ignoring my own diktat. Yet also I recall my irritation at the disobedience of friends. They would act strictly according with age, and without embarrassment.

Mr Ed West, a wise Substack pundit to whom I have become accustomed since a kind reader created a subscription for me, writes this morning about Teen Vogue. He does not mean this literally, however, for he is making a comparison to the website of the British Broadcasting Corporation, in its present state.

He deduces, reasonably from the evidence, that the website is under the control of twelve-year-olds.

Often, I mutter sotto voce, “Grow up!” to the media that is impinging on my consciousness, today. In my later youth, or early manhood, I myself became entrapped in the gearwork of the media, and realized while being processed through its toothed wheels that nothing really changes. It’s all a machine. (A machine is the actual device which assures that all products will be identical; that nothing will ever change.) But the media types of the nineteen seventies did at least pretend to be adults. This pretence would evaporate, however, in exciting situations. In the course of media evolution, or more precisely degeneration, “tabloid” journalism spread everywhere.

If the exponents of capitalism would make candid arguments, they might note the universality of this phenomenon. A “trend” in the marketplace sinks all boats and, contrary to the naïve argument of the economists, a quality product does not survive as a minority, even of one. The same rule applies to media as to the manufacture and sale of toothbrushes, which must all now be designed to include Disney cartoons, and have supersonic shapes. The people who design them are, presumably, twelve years old.

Fortunately, my old boar-bristle toothbrush was made in the days before injection moulding; and the BBC is possible to ignore, along with all the newspapers, even the once commendable Neue Zürcher Zeitung (now remodelled to be fashionably cool).

“Food, fuel, fodder,” will be needed, to which an Aberdeenshire hippie has added, “fibre, and farmaceuticals.” (He calls these the “Five Effs.”) The quality of each should be self-correcting, when our monocultures are all ground into forest farms and fishponds, in the economy of tomorrow. For there were always better things to do with a coppice than to make it into “news”; and electronic pixels shouldn’t be wasted, either.

For, who needs all these childish machines?