Be Kind To The Indian Scammer

I might not have written this a year ago, but this has been an unusual time for us all.

Much more for the Indian population than for the Australian one – and particularly for the people of Western Australia. Sealed away from most of the infection as we are, we can afford to be kind to those who are more exposed…as long as that sealed border exists.

The Indian call scammers are always going to be with us in some form or other. Amazon, Telstra, ATO, DHL…all these names have been used as ploys for scam calls. There will be many more as local business changes. The one constant in the calls seems to be the steam-room noise behind the caller’s voice, the South Asian accent, and the false name given. It is always vaguely European in nature but pronounced so quickly that you cannot be sure you heard it.

The calls dropped dramatically as the Covid 19 virus hit India and some form of quarantine or lockdown happened there. They have now started again, and I fielded my second one just recently. I was not angry at receiving it, nor did I treat the caller with derision. Their plight is bad enough without me adding scorn to it.

Perhaps they will get angry – if they can recover from the Chinese biological weapon that hit them. I suspect they were one of the main targets for this virus, and I cannot imagine that they do not feel the same way. I wonder what the travel time for an IRBM would be over the Himalayas?

It’s All A Conspiracy

And what a conspiracy. I’ve found leads to the New World Order, Old World Order, And Hungry Jack’s Lunchtime Bargain Order. The first two are unattractive but I am looking at the cheeseburger with interest.

Conspiracies are the flavour of the month, year, and possibly decade. We have them in all varieties and sizes – right-wing, left-wing, and the sticky bit in the middle as well. They are useful to pin blame, explain the inexplicable, and excuse our own failures.

I’ll amend that… the excuses are necessary for your failures. You are the reason we can’t have nice things. I suspected you all along but until I saw the ABC/CNN/FOX News/BBC/RT exposé on you and your kind I could not hate you precisely.

The internet is a wonderful resource. It can bring unease and accusation to us wherever we live and unlike the old business of printed books, it can be altered before our eyes. It has experts we never suspected and suspects we never thought of. If the devil or the mean girl in the sixth grade whispered in our ears it would not be half as effective as a cobbled-up construct hedged with advertisements for spinning tops and faux-leather luggage.

You must excuse me – I need to get back to the Karen and Sharon network and see which evil influence is dominating the world. No sense opposing the winner, eh?

What Would Genghis Do?

There must have been times when even the great Khan was stumped for an answer. When ordering the death of a city or the poisoning of a well just didn’t seem to satisfy the palate. Off days on the great grassy plain.

Well, GK, if that’s not being too familiar, we are still having those days now. We are living far away from your region and have fewer opportunities to swarm over civilisation and destroy it but we still long to make our small mark on the wall.

For most of us it comes down to what we can do at work, in school, or within the family circle. We are beset with laws forbidding pillage and murder. Wholesale destruction of cities  has become so complicated with zoning laws and metropolitan renewal schemes that it is left to the road building firms. The best most of us can do is post snide memes on social media.

Yet we still look to you for inspiration in the times of trouble. We think ” If it worked for Genghis Khan, it’ll work for me. ” and all we need is the boldness to put down the iPad, pick up a  butter knife, and go out and start slitting throats. If we could only inculcate this sense of irresponsibility in our youth…

Propriety For the Proprietor

Funny old language, English.

Everyone in the modern milleniverse seems to be for propriety…that sense of the right and proper thing to do, say, or think. Yet the same people are willing to attack the proprietors of anything; businesses, governments, learning institutions, whenever they do not get the cultural obedience or discount they demand.

Perhaps I am being harsh on Millenials. To be honest, I am not exactly certain who they are, nor are the names of Gen X, Y, or Z any more help. I have been told Baby Booming was bad, but as I benefitted greatly from the practice I am unwilling to condemn my parents…or me.

I’m also wondering if we can institute a system of impropriety for improprietors. It would use up all the language that otherwise is scorned and we might have a lot more fun doing it. I have the BGA, The BGA News Service, and ZOWIE magazine to help me get through the day and there is always recourse to liquor, if the price is right.

Perhaps we just need effective advertising slogans:

” Do the right thing – say the wrong words. ”

” Impolitical Correctness ”

I will ponder this some more in the coming days. I have an uneasy feeling that there are people living who I have not offended, and time is fleeting. I may have to become more efficient, or at least work on larger batches.

 

Creative Baiting

For Master Baiters.

Some people are very good at what they do – embroidery, cooking, art, motor car maintenance. In the days of the medieval guilds they would have started as apprentices, become journeymen, and eventually progressed to being masters of their art or craft.

The art of angering people to mock them or to get them to support your political or religious view is known as baiting. The practitioners lay emotional or verbal traps for their opponents ( and most opponenetss are just supporters in waiting…) and try to make them fall into them. This can be as crude as name-calling or as sophisticated as an advertising agency campaign. Many effective baits are disguised as sensible statements that turn vicious at the end. Mein Kampf was full of this ploy.

” How would you feel if…” is one of the modern variations on the bait. It seeks to directly bypass thought and substitute emotion. There’s a good reason for this – thought is difficult to manipulate, but emotion is easy to steer. Once started, an emotional flood can wash away most thought, and once that has happened, the baiter can replace it with their opinion.

The Master Baiter will be careful not to go too far. Oh, I don’t mean too far in what they say – they might demand the destruction of the world in a sensible fashion with a straight face – but too far with the reaction of the victim. Once the target realises that they are not going to look good they may turn just away and deny the tormentor the pleasure. Or they may snap and attack the pest. This is the aim of many bullies who want to instigate a physical fight by taunts. But it can turn bad  – emotions sometimes steel the weakling far beyond what was expected, and the tables may be turned.

The safest course is to bite small, bite often, and bite a different part of the anatomy each time. No-one can scratch everywhere at once.

Sniper Nest

It is no longer necessary to tie yourself to a tree wearing a ghillie suit to be a professional sniper. Nor do you need to search out book depositories, grassy knolls, or water towers. You need not carry heavy firearms either – no more carefully swabbing barrels or weighing ammunition. You can shoot ’em dead from the comfort of your computer room.

We’re not talking about computer games as such – none of that video business like with an arcade game. This is actual assassination carried out on actual people. And the good thing is you won’t be punished for it, even if you are found culpable. You see, you shoot ’em in their reputation, not their rib cage.

The best practitioners of this skill have specific targets to deal with. Ex-husbands and ex-wives are the primary targets …as well as the primary shooters. They have either a long-standing grudge and animosity or a short-term goal in view; blackening the character of their former partner.

It can be done blatantly, with names, addresses, dates, and high-res pictures…but that does risk the lawyers battening upon it as defamation. More often it is done with memes, hints, and innuendo. As long as the sniper can hint to the observers know who the target is they count on formerly-mutual friends to convey the messages back. The disconnects that exist on the social media may  prevent the target from seeing the shots as they come and go, but someone can always send a screen copy to do the same thing.

The unfortunate part of this is the collateral damage – the people on social media who have to see the written fire fight and pretend to ignore it. Or  are lured to pour sympathy or scorn on one or other of the parties. In most cases people have enough traumas in their own lives without having to watch an artillery duel on their computer.

Modifying A Hoax – A Modest Proposal

The Facebook Hoax No. 135 has just surfaced again. You know, the one that tells you that you need to copy and paste something that looks like a legal document to prevent Facebook doing something. In this case it has been rigged to make you afraid that all your postings from the past -including pictures – will become the property of Facebook and that they can sell them off with no mercy.

Don’t be sad if you fell for it…people do fall for these sorts of thing. They come so close to our fears of either missing out or being targeted for lawsuit that we instinctively panic. The hoax – and hoax it is – then circulates further when the frightened individual cuts, pastes, posts, or does whatever other ritual the thing suggests. It is a good thing that the hoaxes do not involve hot soldering irons and ears or the emergency rooms would be full in a day.

Mind you, Weller would probably approve…and that’s where the BGA steps in. Note: the BGA frequently steps in it.

What we propose is that the maker of any product enter into a contract with us. ( pentacle, candles, dagger, etc. ) to promote their product. Whatever it is we analyse it and devise a way to tie it into the primitive portion of the reader’s brain. Then we craft a suitable meme or notice and start it out with our team of influenzers*. They insert it into their Facebook pages and direct it to the most gullible of their friends. From there it is transmitted for free  throughout the world, frightening people into buying and using the selected product.

It is not so much an advertising campaign as a form of social media terror. People will go faster if driven than lured and the faster they will go to the store with their wallet open, the better for the client. And remember that the BGA is ethical in this – we do not take a cut of the profits. Our fees are substantial, but one-time. In this we hold a higher moral position than the mafia.

*  So named because we spread internet hoaxes like a debilitating virus. You’re soaking in one now.

Ethical Mortar Bombing

If you put a little effort into thinking, you can make any human action or emotion ethical. If you’re prepared to dress up you can make it ethnical.

I often do this when I want to drive my enemies before me and hear the lamentations of their women. I’ll qualify that – I don’t actually enjoy hearing women lamenting. They do it with a professional vigour that I find wearing. In a lot of cases I let the women drive themselves and me and the enemies just sit around drinking.

Your ethics are what define you – and I have met any number of people who defy definition. Just as you think you know what they think, they read another Facebook post and go off on a tangent. Then you either follow them, at the risk of seeming to agree with them, or oppose them, at the risk of being right. Both pathways are fraught with dishonour.

I have endeavoured for years to free myself from ethical thinking or behaviour. Rather than take a hard stand on any moral issue I have waited in the wings until the debate was finished and the winner declared before declaring my support for them. Even then I have reserved some disclaimers in case they fall out of favour. It was a little hard to wriggle out of Watergate but I managed in the end when Carter took office. You could get out of anything with Jimmy Carter at the helm.

Am I firmly committed to the path of righteousness and truth right now? In as far as the keepers of that path are prepared to play me, I am. I do not demand money; sex, drugs and rock and roll are acceptable substitutes. I can also be bought for scale model plastic kits.

Ask me later and I’ll give you a list of the ones I haven’t got.

 

Honest Behaviour – Whatever That Might Be

Have you ever been guilty of honest behaviour? Don’t be afraid to admit to it here…no-one is listening to us. Regard this as a confessional but with better seating.

I’ll be frank – I’ve been honest before. I’ve been kind. I’ve done the right thing…and worse. I’ve refused to believe and applaud unproven propaganda even though it was really what I wanted all along. It’s sort of like forcing your mind to take a cold shower instead of a warm bubble bath.

Of course I’ve been punished for it – no good deed ever escapes that, as Wilde wrote. But the price was not that high and I had a discount coupon anyway. And fortunately the incident passed over with little notice.

I’m afraid, however, that it may not be the last time – I doubt I can keep myself from it in the future. The discipline to keep on being mean to every one is a very hard one – you need infinite vigilance and a really good nail on a stick. And your concentration just slacks off in good weather.

If I were associated with the late General De Gaulle or Jane Fonda or Clive Palmer the task would be so much easier.

Ah well, I must stop blathering on. Back to the grind. I have several noses and a whirling stone and no time to waste…

 

Varnish Or Tarnish – A BGA Guide To The Reputation

Your reputation is the opinions or beliefs about you that other people hold.

These are not concrete things, unless you are the head of Holcim. They are someone else’s assessment of you, and can be coloured, changed, influenced, or bought. A wise Guild member knows how to manipulate a reputation from both ends – clean and dirty.

If you have a spotless reputation amongst the respectable people of the town – if you have never been detected in any questionable activity or associated with any unfortunate outcome…congratulations. You have a valuable trading asset. You can spin this carefully to generate a steady income, and if you are not greedy, the lustre of it will only increase as time goes by. Everyone loves a winner, even when he tramples them into the dirt.

If your reputation is spotty – or rather if it is markedly different amongst separate groups of people – you need to step more carefully. You are past the point of being the stainless banner that can float on high. But you can still be Old Glory to selected people. If the people who you wish to respect you are important or rich or good looking, do all you can to preserve their good opinion.

If you are admired by the demimonde or worse, you can also benefit, but remember that they do not have as many assets that you can acquire. Keep their friendship only insofar as they can do good for you – once they prove to be worthless, inform on them to the police. If you can derive no reward even from this, introduce them to noted religious and cultural figures and retire discreetly. You never know when they’ll prove amusing.

If you have what could only be described as a rotten reputation – if no-one has a good word for you, no matter how low they themselves are on the social ladder, rejoice. From here on in you can do no wrong.

Of course, all you do is wrong – that’s what reputation and opinion trade upon; judging you guilty for every word that you utter and every silence you hold. I mean you can do no new wrong. So there is no need to judge yourself at all.

Do what you like. If it is horrible, it is only what was expected. If it is charming, kindly, and good, you are also deeply wrong…but your critics can take no notice of it for fear of having to backtrack. You can make someone happy and the critics will feel worse than before.

It’s worth being nice, just to spite ’em.