A friend of mine is of the view that the movement of history is unstoppable and will continue to drive us towards enlightenment and progress. I think that on the whole I share that optimism, and I agree that each generation is likely to experience a life that is at least somewhat better than that of the last one; but then again, maybe that’s a comfortable western liberal speaking: in some parts of the world the march of progress is at best tentative.
In any case, you don’t have to go very far to experience, from time to time, the obstinate durability of backward stupidity and crudity. Just this week we have learnt about some morons working for accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers in Ireland, all males, who apparently passed around an email with photos and names of new female recruits and the suggestion that they should be ranked in terms of their desirability. The email was distributed widely in the firm, and then ‘went viral’ and was circulated outside it as well, leading of course to the inevitability of its finding its way into the media. So not only were these guys wholly inappropriate in their email discussion, they were also just incredibly stupid (though maybe there is a connection between these two aspects).
It is amazing that educated and well paid people should behave in this manner, and apparently not encounter any opposition within the firm where the email was so widely read. PwC will need to do more than just find the culprits (which they are now attempting to do), they must also take a serious look at their corporate culture.