A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that Christopher Hitchens would be crowned the world's top public intellectual in the tri-annual online Prospect Magazine poll. As usual, I was wrong. The current front-runner is Fethullah Gulen, a modernizing Islamic cleric barely known outside his native Turkey. As I reveal in today's Independent, the obscure Gulen has built up an unnaturally large (10x) lead over his nearest challenger. Such is the wisdom of the digital crowd. Or so it appears, anyway.
I'm actually all in favor of enlightened liberal cleric like Fethullah Gulen who is obviously doing a heroic job bridging the giant gulf between Islamic and Christian worlds. My problem, however, is with Gulen's less enlightened followers who, no less obviously, have obviously been busy rigging the Prospect poll. It's just one more irrefutable example of how anonymous online democracy doesn't work.
Speaking of Islamic controversies, I was in Copenhagen last week, the epicenter of the 2005 Danish newspaper controversy over cartoon representations of the Prophet Mohammed. I flew in to do an interview on the popular Danish public tv show Den 11.time. Great city, great interview, great public broadcasting system, great open sandwiches.
And speaking of interviews, read my chat with WPP boss Martin Sorrell for my Independent column earlier this week. Then wearing my less objective interviewee hat, listen to a wide ranging conversation I had with Interactive TV Today's Tracy Swedlow.