John Naughton is the Professor of Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University. He’s also a journalist and is clever with words. Today on his blog, reflecting on fitness fanatics, he writes,
…the only exercise I get comes from jumping to conclusions.
(… which reminds me of Tom Stoppard’s brilliant play, Jumpers.) He goes on to relate an amusing anecdote about Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor. (You should know, if you don’t already, that Rory Bremner is a UK satirical mimic, and Clare Short is a former Cabinet Minister): ‘Campbell was obsessed with his body and was forever running marathons etc. According to [Clare] 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”.’
The anecdote may reflect something of Blair and Campbell’s perspective on the activity of contemplation, in contrast to impulsive action; contemplatives probably tend not to be fitness fanatics. I imagine Gordon Brown, for example, to be more of the introverted, contemplative type. Mind you, Bryan Appleyard, writing in the Sunday Times yesterday, thinks little of personality tests – and he himself seems quite a wise owl.