The eighteenth-century polymath Thomas Young was the last person to have read all the books published in his lifetime. That means that he would've read all the Shakespeare and all the Greek and Roman classics and all the theology and all the philosophy and all the science. But the same man today, a man who had read all the books published today, would've had to've read all Dan Brown's novels, two volumes of Chris Moyles' autobiography, The World According to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson II by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson III by Jeremy Clarkson... his mind would be awash with bad metaphors and unsustainable, reactionary opinion; one long anecdote about the time that Comedy Dave put a pound coin in the urinal. In short, the man who had read everything published today would be more stupid than a man who had read nothing. That's not a good state of affairs.
Basically, what's happened is, somewhere along the line, as a society, we confused the notion of home with the possibility of an investment opportunity. What kind of creature wants to live in an investment opportunity? Only man. The fox has his den, the bee has his hive, the stoat has a a stoat hole. But only man, ladies and gentlemen, the worst animal of all, chooses to make his nest in an investment opportunity. Mmm, snuggle down in the lovely credit. All warm in the mortgage payment.
Mmm! But home is not the same thing as an investment opportunity. Home is a basic requirement of life, like food.
When a hamster hides hamster food in his hamster cheeks, he doesn't keep it there in the hope that it will rise in value. And when a squirrel hides a nut, he's not trying to play the acorn market. And having eaten the nut, he doesn't keep the shell in the hope of setting up a lucrative sideline making tiny hats for elves. And when a dog buries a bone, he doesn't keep that bone buried until the point where it's reached its maximum market value. He digs it up when he's hungry.
And if estate agents were dogs burying bones, not only would they leave those bones buried until they'd reached their maximum market value, but they'd run around starting rumours about imminent increases in the price of bones in the hope of driving up the market, and they'd invite loads of boneless dogs to all view the bone at the same time in the hope of giving the impression there was a massive demand for bones. And they would photograph the bone in such a way as to make it look much more juicy than it really was, airbrushing out the maggots and cropping the rotten meat.
And the cover of Vodafone's Digital Parenting is a picture of three lovely-looking little kids, about eight years old, all sat in a line on a sofa, where they're all absorbed by handheld devices and computers and screens, and they're not interacting in any meaningful human way. And all through Digital Parenting are all these disguised advertorials about "edu-taining" software that you absolutely need to buy. Vodafone's Digital Parenting. It's like the fox's guide to chicken security.