The Majority World

Another entry about language – this time regarding another phrase which has been troubling me for some time: “The Third World”.

I have travelled extensively in countries which would usually be categorised under that term, and have always suffered from a dissonance between what I could see around me and the received wisdom of what these places “ought” to be like. True, many people live in great poverty and there are indeed slums in many cities. However, things are changing so fast that I feel that the term “Third” no longer reflects the nature of these places…

I was reminded recently by a former college lecturer of mine of a talk that I gave to students in which I described my experience of working in Bollywood in 1998. I showed some pictures of Mumbai to them and asked where in the world they thought the picture was taken. Noone said India – indeed it looked more like Manhattan than Mumbai. I warned them that this misconception was all too common, and that they would be surprised by what was happening in places like Mumbai.

And so, when I went to a conference in Oxford recently, I was heartened to find that other people were thinking along similar lines: my friends Bob and Ashton quietly told me that they had settled on using the phrase “Majority World” to describe these places. I instantly warmed to the phrase, recognised that it has none of the implicit hierarchy that “First”, “Second” and “Third” World imply.

So then, from now on I’ll use “Majority World” to describe those places formerly known as the Third World.

Update: Appropedia has an article stub about this term now — you can help describe it here

Slash or stroke?

I’ve been struggling with my techobabble of late… getting bothered by the angry and violent tone of many of the terms I use daily in relation to computing: “abort”, “execute”, “kill” and so on. Most common of all is “slash”, as in bbc dot co dot uk slash news, and I’ve decided to try and use the perfectly good description “stroke” instead. It just sounds much less aggressive. bbc dot co dot uk stroke news… mmm… stroke that news…

Football’s Leaving Home revamp

Kick Off of The Ball 2002
Kick Off of The Ball 2002

I am so near to completing the hour-long cut of the Football’s Leaving Home movie that I can almost see it done… after two years of plugging away at the thing, I’m about ready to do something else. If only editing weren’t so compulsive…

Anyway, in the meantime, I’ve given the Football’s Leaving Home site a makeover and upgraded it’s blog from Greymatter to MovableType in readiness for the 2006 project kicking off. Which, given that we’re almost at half-time between World Cups, should happen pretty soon.

Bath Literature Festival goes live

Another day, another website… another happy client. The Bath Literature Festival website has recently gone live. Check it out – they have some really interesting events happening in March. Interesting if you like literature, I should add.

Next step: create the Bath Music Festival site. I’m becoming more and more enamoured with the PHP/MySQL combination. Not as much immediate interaction as technologies such as Flash, Director, and so on, but damn, it’s effective in making websites more than just brochures. Gotta love it.

CLAN First Birthday

So then, dear CLANsters, happy birthday!

Bristol Wireless Logo
Bristol Wireless Logo

From where I’m sitting, the CLAN looks very much like the rock’n’roll of wifi. Richard, you’ve gone and done a wonderful thing… a DIY WIFI LAN that belongs to its contributors.

And yesterday, a significant step forward for the LAN: The Chelsea is now a node! Pints and surfing! Warchalking on the pavement outside! Bringalongalaptop! It’s going to be an exciting summer of free radio…

The implications of this project send me into conceptual tilt-a-whirls and loop-de-loops – Richard, nomadic soul that he is, prefers to live his thoughts, while I can only think them.

Consciousness Change v. Regime Change

My friend Piers Gibbon is showing his superb documentary “Jungle Trip” and talking about his experiences at the LSE on March 13th. The event is called “Make Ayahuasca Not War” and it’s free to attend. If you have an interest in ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology or South American shamanism then this is a talk you won’t want to miss.

Click here for further information

I recommend checking out Piers’ new website (ok, ok – I admit it – partly because I wrote the XHTML and CGI code that drives it) to find out more about shamanistic stuff. He is steadily building a very useful resource with links and stories to relevant material.

He is someone with a unique perspective on these matters – thirty days alone in the jungle with nothing but an ingested insect (regurgitated by his shaman mentor) and a pile of ayahuasca for company are qualifications good enough for me.