The Yes! show

Yesterday’s Observer column

Philip Toynbee famously observed that if you dropped an atom bomb on Twickenham during the Varsity match, the prospects for fascism in Britain would be set back by two generations. An analogous thought struck me watching coverage of the D6 ‘All Things Digital’ conference last week. A neutron bomb would have wiped out the entire high commands of the US technology and media industries – while usefully leaving the premises intact.

D6 was this year’s version of the annual media-tech gabfest organised by Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal’s veteran technology commentator, and his partner in sentimentality, Kara Swisher. The event took place at the Four Seasons Aviara Resort just outside San Diego, where attendees enjoy ‘casual elegance in a breathtaking location accented by wildlife and wildflowers’ for a conference fee just a tad short of the GNP of Rwanda.

Mossberg and Swisher engulf their guests in bonhomie and respectful obeisance…