Thinking about Malthus’ birthday yesterday, I suddenly remembered the strangest conference speech experience I’ve so far undergone.
We were in Boston and the year was 1998 – the bicentenary of the first publication of Malthus’ Essay on Population. It was decided that we would hold the Annual General Meeting of Whatever the Hell Society It Was that I had to join just to give a paper at its meeting concurrently with the banquet, to be immediately followed by the main plenary conference lecture.
It was December and it was Boston and it was very very cold. Our venue was some soulless conference centre that was partitioned and rented out. The two of us were jet-lagged and giggly. But not so jetlagged and giggly to consider the paradox of stuffing your face with food while listening to a lecture on Malthus. But this paradox had not occurred to the conference…
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