I was browsing in an Oxford bookshop when I noticed a display of Made Simple books – German Made Simple, Chemistry Made Simple, and so on. A friend of mine, a distinguished Oxford philosopher, was standing beside the bookstand, leafing through the Philosophy Made Simple volume. Seizing the chance of a jape, I crept up behind him and murmured into his ear, ‘That’s a bit difficult for you, isn’t it?’ He swung round in alarm, and my first thought was that he had undergone cosmetic surgery. Then I realised that it was not my friend at all. It was a complete stranger. Muttering a hasty apology, I scampered out of the store. Somewhere in the world there is a man who believes people in Oxford are so odiously elitist that they jeer openly at total strangers seeking to improve their minds.