Get knotted

Strange letter in the Financial Times from Google’s Global Privacy Counsel, one Peter Fleischer, attacking the male tie.

It constricts circulation to the brain. And it acts as decorative camouflage for the business suit, designed to shield the middle-aged male physique, with its shrinking shoulders and protruding paunch, from feeling sufficiently self-conscious to hit the gym.

Men should lose their “business attire” and wear T-shirts to work. Wouldn’t you like to know whether your business partners are fit? Why should you trust a man in business if he abuses his own body? And heaven knows what waves of creativity might be unleashed, when men are freed from conformist garb.

If there’s a scale for measuring tosh then this is off the chart. I hate wearing a tie but I’ve also lost count of the number of ultra-fit half-wits I’ve seen ruining perfectly good businesses. And some of the cleverest people I know have never knowingly been to a gym in their lives. In my own case, the only exercise I get comes from jumping to conclusions.

Speaking of fitness fanatics ruining things, by the way, Clare Short (the former Cabinet minister) said something interesting about Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spinmeister. Campbell was obsessed with his body and was forever running marathons etc. According to Short, what riled Campbell most about Rory Bremner’s satirical renditions of the Blair-Campbell relationship was the fact that the actor chosen to play him was — in his words — “a fat bastard”.

Thanks to Nick Carr for spotting this luxuriant piece of arrant nonsense.