I flew into London on Monday morning to discover that I'd become an adjective. The Financial Times' cheerful columnist Gideon Rachmanhas written about something called "keenian" gloom. Oh dear. It deepened my natural gloom (I smile once a month and haven't laughed since 1994). Here's Rachman on the way in which the Internet is viewed differently in the rich and the poor world:
At the conference I referred to at the beginning of this post (a Nokia-sponsored job in Finland), there seemed to me to be a big division of opinion between people from the rich world and from the developing world. Broadly, most of the people from poorer and less free places were very optimistic about the power of the internet. They saw it as empowering. There was talk of demonstrations organised over the internet and by text message in China; and of Kenyan farmers whose lives had been transformed by the use of mobile phones for the collection of market data and payments.
But people from Europe and the States were often more inclined to Keenian gloom. They talked about the spread of pornography, gambling, cults - and the destruction of the business models of the traditional media and with that the collapse of vital sources of authoritative information.
So why are rich countries gloomy about the Internet and the developing world more cheerful? One reason might be that rich countries have experienced the Internet whereas poor countries haven't. Give developing countries a few more years of the Internet and they'll experience all that porn and gambling. Then their sunny optimism will darken into Keenian gloom.
What's missing from Rachman's piece is linguistic balance. If gloom is Keenian, then what adjective should be shoved behind the word "optimism". Given that the focus of Rachman's piece is his affection for Jimmy Wales' loathsomely optimistic Wikipedia, I suggest that Walesian should be the antonym of Keenian.
Does that make your laugh or cry? Are you Keenian or Walesian?