Another tangled web

This only matters because it involves Time magazine’s person of the year.

A few days ago, Greta Thunberg posted this:

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 07.01.01

Now, overcrowded trains are a fact of life around the world. In many countries, including Britain, China and Germany ~ where population density makes rail a cheap and efficient mode of transport ~ supply can, very often, fail to keep up with demand and sitting one the floor, with one’s luggage, is not a rare occurrence.

It’s a good picture of an environmentally conscious young person going home from the failed COP25 Conference.

But it as staged.

As Deutsche Bahn, the hyper-efficient German rail company pointed out, Ms Thunberg actually enjoyed the comfort of a first-class seat:

Ms Thunberg explained that her trains from Basel (Switzerland) to Göttingen, in central Germany, between Frankfurt and Hannover, were very crowded and she said, correctly, that this is a good thing because it means that rail transport is in high demand, compared to less efficient (in carbon footprint terms) passenger cars or short-haul aircraft.

But her explanation didn’t help much, perhaps because it was the second public-relations “hit” she had taken in as many days. She was forced to retract an ill-considered  comment about putting world leaders “up against the wall.” She explained that away, too …

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 07.22.55

… blaming Swenglish for the poor choice of words. But I think her audience got the message. Sometimes we say one is up against the wall when one has no place to go, but the more common use is that when we put someone up against the wall we plan to kill them:

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I believe that’s the message most people got from Ms Tunberg’s remark and I suspect that, despite her denials, that’s the message she intended to send.

POY.main_Like it or not, Greta Thunberg is now a major celebrity and millions of people will believe what she says and some will act accordingly. She needs some good advice from people who might actually care about her and her cause … above all, she needs better media management. She’s still a schoolgirl, for heaven’s sake, she should not be expected to understand all the nuances of media manipulation and of human reactions. She needs some coaching, some media management support and, above all, some education … which she can only get in a classroom. When was she last in school? I understand “sabbatical years” for university professors ~ but not for 16-year-old high school students.

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