In her otherwise excellent and disturbing long read (Get out of my country: how the west fell for a manufactured rage, (27 August), Suketu Mehta includes “the Springer newspapers in Germany” in the list of those “feeding their readers a daily diet of xenophobia”. But the Sun, Express and Mail make the German tabloids look like the Daily Worker. Bild, the largest circulation (Springer) tabloid had huge headlines, about the refugees, saying “Wir Helfen” (We’re helping) and “#Refugeeswelcome”. The tabloids here in general are far less anything-phobic than their UK equivalents.
• The study claiming that optimists live longer than pessimists (G2, 28 August) does not explain why this is so. I wonder whether they’ve got cause and effect the wrong way round. Perhaps people who have good longevity prospects – because they are healthy, wealthy and have good genes – are more optimistic about life than those with a closer horizon.
• The Mad magazine cartoon (‘How was your vacation? I don’t know – I haven’t had my photos developed yet‘), quoted in a letter (24 August), mirrors an incident I witnessed in 1966 on the Acropolis. American lady: “Hey honey, come over here and take a look at this.” Husband: “You take a picture, I’ll look at it back home.”
• With due respect to Jackie Howes (Letters, 28 August), there are positives to being premenstrual – I remember saying to my manager, “Shall we synchronise our PMS and have a reign of terror?”
• Seen on a food delivery van (Letters, 26 August) in the car park of Navigation Road train station: “No pies are left in this vehicle overnight.” And on the M6 in Cumbria: “Sub-surface laser surveying. Non-groundbreaking technology.”
Emeritus professor of transport psychology, Timperley, Cheshire
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