Yesterday I read this letter on one of the Dear Ceefax pages.
"NM of County Durham (9/6) asks why today there are no great artists such as Constable, Tchaikovsky, Wordsworth etc.
"Simple. In their day talent was rewarded above mediocrity, whereas today the exact opposite is true. Why would anyone dedicate a lifetime to perfecting a skill if they can get £1m for not making their bed?"
Priceless. I suppose "£1m for not making their bed" must be a reference to Big Brother or some other reality TV programme.
I don't know if it's true that talent was rewarded more in the past than it is now, but certainly the American idea that anybody can become anything – a US President, a film star, a pop singer, a celebrity, a billionaire, a footballer, an artist, a bestselling writer – has infected our way of thinking – and I'm afraid there's no going back.