Sunday, December 25, 2011
A quote from a 2009 interview with Daniel Tammet
"I did have a very restricted, regimented life," he says. "There was a kind of happiness there, a contentment, but it was a small happiness within very clear and delineated borders. I did eventually grow out of these, and part of that was due to the success of the book. I had to travel, meet journalists, give speeches and in that process I shed some of that remaining awkwardness, developed confidence and other skills. It was a very positive chance that I was given to open myself up to do that."
But Daniel Tammet did so many things and achieved so much in the years leading up to the 2006 publication of his first book! Can he really say that he led a very restricted life, presumably due to being autistic, when in 1999 he first competed in the World Memory Championships, and in the year 2000 attained a ranking of fourth in the world? Then in 2002 Tammet volunteered to be the subject of serious scientific study by researchers from three different universities, a study which was published in a major science journal. Sounds like a pretty exciting and interesting life, to be honest. And if Tammet was so restricted and content with his secluded, quiet life, why did he in the year 2001 approach a major PR company with the aim of becoming famous? That's a contradiction, if ever there was one! And before the writing of his first book Tammet, by his own account, travelled overseas to work as an ESL teacher a place where English was a second language, and at some point he started his own online teaching business, two achievements that showed an outgoing drive to succeed, which is in many ways admirable.
No, it's very clear that the impression that Tammet gave that his life before his first book hit the shelves was restricted and uneventful, and that he was at the time content with such a life, is complete rubbish. A reading of Tammet's first book alone would have cast doubt on that notion, and this is something that any journalist interviewing a writer promoting their second book should have done. But this is only the tip of the iceberg of events in Tammet's life that journalist Susan Mansfield never bothered to research or discover or report. Her 2009 article about Daniel Tammet which was published in The Scotsman was a sycophantic and sloppy piece of crap, but sadly also typical of the press and electronic media coverage of Tammet throughout his career. Shame, journalists, shame!
Mansfield, Susan (2009) Daniel Tammet interview: wide sky thinking. Scotsman. February 11th, 14th 2009.