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Following on from my Paula Yates post, I practiced what I preached and did something a bit different this weekend – a Guardian Masterclass. 

A Christmas present from LSH, on Saturday morning he was having his usual pre-event effervescent melt down, whilst I felt miserable in my lack of outward enthusiasm. Inwardly, I was considering whether this was because of some childhood trauma-type reaction, but then had a ‘lightbulb’ moment when I realised that I was looking forward to the event but that I just hadn’t formed any preconceptions about it. I metaphorically patted myself on the back as I thought that I was being very open minded!

Not a very significant thought in itself, but then my thinking process mind mapped out to an article in Elle Magazine (February 2014). In particular, to the review that Alain de Botton had written. Along with other authors, the idea was that he wrote an introduction to a spoof biography, about himself. He titled it: A Clever Stupid Person.

I know very little about Alain apart from he is wise, well respected and connected to the School of Life. (A founding member – duh!) This is a slice of what he wrote:

Though known for writing books that sound calm and philosophical, readers will be surprised and fascinated to learn just how turbulent – and at points, completely insane – Alain do Botton really  is. What emerges from this book is that the author was attracted to philosophy, not because he is philosophical, but because he desperately wants to be, but doesn’t manage to be very often. As his wife pithily puts it at one point in the book: ‘What if your readers could see you now?’

The wifey quote did make me smile, so I’ve left that in. Obviously, I wasn’t as well researched as I (marginally) am now.

So, reality is that I do have preconceptions, along with the rest of the human race, I presume. These may not be the same as others, but preconception is on the ‘this is me’ list (as well as on yours?).

Giving this blog a permanent connection to the last week, the media has been filling its boots with the death of Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street. I don’t watch it anymore; I did when she first appeared in the street.

I have studied the recent coverage with more than a passing thought to the controversy and furore, all those years ago, on the revelation that Hayley was ‘a’ transsexual - now de-objectified (I know that’s not a word but I want to add to the indication of how vicious the masses have been) to transgender.

Sixteen years, to the week later, and the character has been venerated and grieved for, in an incredible wave of warmth and affection, from the same opinionated masses.

How many of those have changed their view since making their ignorant preconception nearly one and a half decades ago? If only those erroneous preconceptions were confined to within the soap bubble . 

 Thank you to Charlotte de Botton for the perficpic and Alain de Botton and Elle for the perficquote

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