I've never read any of Diamond's books but, of course, I've heard of Guns, Germs, and Steel, which has a really solid reputation. Diamond's got a new book out called Collapse and so he's out touring the world as his fame allows and is in Australia as part of the Sydney Writers Festival, promoting it. I went along to his lecture out of curiosity and got a fair bit out of it, even though I thought that the audience who had already read Collapse got nothing more than a synopsis of the book. Still, it was interesting, and Diamond is clearly a professional lecturer, in part no doubt to his position at some College somewhere in the States. Something about the blazer he wears and the comb over he supports made me think of some place with prestige, but I certainly don't know, and ultimately don't care. (For what it's worth, I've found, in my limited University/college experience, that the less prestige a place has, the more open and interesting its subjects and lecturers are. But that's just my experience, and certainly not one to use as a guideline.)
Still, like I said, he was good value, but the most interesting part for me was when the question time came up and Diamond made the point of saying that he would give preference to young members of the audience who wanted to ask questions. He started off at the age of twenty, then upped it to twenty five, and made a comment about how it was they who would inherit the world and implement the changes, which was a nice sentiment, but looking around the lecture hall, one that would not perhaps reach the people Diamond wanted. It wasn't that there weren't people under twenty five there, only that they were minority, for whatever reason I couldn't begin to speculate outside broad generalisations.
I got to thinking about the youth audience after that, however. I'm not sure if it's Diamond's goal to have his book in youth culture, but I wondered a bit on how he would go about that, and because I'm naturally a self absorbed kind of author I wondered how I could go and get a book into that kind of demographic and ultimately didn't get far with...
I just used the word demographic. Fuck me.