Don’t you love it when a stranger stops you in the street, sneers at you, and then sternly forbids you to complain about it? I know I relish the experience. It’s like having a Moscow militiaman shake you down for money – that feeling of helplessness is so refreshing.
Don’t despair – if you have been walking the streets of Perth, or Melbourne, or Manangatang* and no-one does this to you – and if you can’t afford to fly to Moscow for the experience – you need go no further than the screen of your computer. You can be dominated for free on Facebook.
This came to me as I read through the womanifesto of an overseas activist who posts things on Facebook and then sets out the rules for you to read them. You are not allowed to dislike what she writes. You are not allowed to write back things that she dislikes. You are not allowed to disagree with her. I have a vague suspicion that you are not allowed to agree with her, either, but that goes into darker psychological rooms than I care to enter – I’ve seen those teenage movies where they go into haunted houses and I know what’s going to happen when the soundtrack goes ” Wheep Wheep “.
It is not just this one lady. I can see warning notices posted by men as well, setting out the barbed wire entanglements of their opinions – they block most approaches to debate or disagreement with warnings that you will be mauled or broken on their righteousness, and then leave little gaps that tempt you. They train machine guns of prepared outrage on these gaps. This is known in technical terms as “Killing Argument Zones”.
Well, there are two ways of defeating barbed wire sophist entanglements – three if you include the poor sappers and their Bangonabout Torpedos. The most direct way is to send the Armoured Righteousness Corps in. A frontal assault by these heavily protected bastions of dogma is pretty near unstoppable and they have no trouble sweeping over the wire. The Corps used to have two types of tanks – Male and Female. The chassis were the same but they differed in weaponry; the Male used the cannon of Emplaced Opinion while the Female had the Deus Ex Machine guns ready to catch any stragglers who bolted. Nowadays they have merged the designs into one squat lumbering unit that seeks out the enemy with state-of-the-art electronics and then is extremely unpleasant at cocktail parties.
The other traditional way to defeat wire entanglements…and in a couple of months we expect the local service provider will change that to optical fibre entanglements…is barrages of heavy irony from a safe distance. Modern communications mean that this can be done from hidden emplacements, though many of us prefer to fire over open sights. Large calibre humour is hard to defend against, particularly when the person inviting the fight has made their position plainly visible. It is all to easy to unleash a storm of sarcasm on them and wait for the inevitable explosion as their magazine goes up. Sometimes it is not a magazine – just a blog. And sometimes the explosion is rewarding – with others it is just a small “pop” and they subside into a crater.
You must excuse me at this stage of the game. I still need to finish the wiring of the Mine of Information. If I don’t get it finished we’ll miss the jump-off time. Toodle pip.
- Yes, Virginia, there is a Manangatang…