Back Into The Black

No, I don’t mean we’re finally profitable – that’ll take a bit longer. I mean the upper margin of this weblog column page has been returned to the black border that it started with.

The recent same-sex plebiscite was occasion for it to be turned into a rainbow spectrum in support of the “yes” vote. It was a design decision put in by WordPress, presumably made by someone in their organisation who wished to call attention to the matter.

It will remain to be seen whether this returns when the time for the vote in Federal Parliament is nigh – and whether similar design decisions in support of other political matters will ever float around the pages. What colours do you put up for tariff barriers or bimetallism?

It would also be interesting to see if people who pay for their themes and pages ( I don’t ) found that they also had it added. Betcha they didn’t.

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Broadcast Live From Your House

When you watch the news about the US president Donald Trump – or click the Facebook side panel – or listen to your friends deride him based upon what they have read on the internet…have you ever stopped to consider what YOU might look like if you were subject to the minute scrutiny that attends him?

I ask this as I remember being afflicted with similar scrutiny when a child in school – I was the fat, new, frightened kid…and was fair game for all the bullies and smart arses in every school I attended. As my detractors wanted to belittle me, they watched every single thing I did and found fault. The simplest action was cause for howls of contempt. Nothing was private, sacred, or approved. President Trump seems to be in the same position vis-a-vis the people who supported the other side of politics – and lost – and who now want their revenge.

So let’s imagine you – if you’re a Trump detractor – going about your daily routine. Let’s see if the treatment works on you.

You get out of bed in time for breakfast: ” Lazy swine lolls in bed while others slave to prepare feast. ” Not sounding too good.

So you get up earlier next day : ” Can’t sleep. Guilty conscience. Snoops on cooks behind the scenes. ” Still not good publicity. And who is feeding these stories to the press?

Okay, this time you’ll please someone…you’ll do without breakfast: ” Too good to eat like a normal person. No pleasing some people. ” Well, what the actual…

And we haven’t even started on your bathroom routine, your clothes for the day, or whatever it is you’re going to be doing for a living – never mind your religion, family, or politics. These topics will be covered by your enemies and will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are evil incarnate, totally incompetent, and in collusion with the Russians, the French, the Tongans, and the firm that makes Cheezils. Every single action that you undertake, all day, all week, all year, will be wrong. The press and your detractors will be free to lie about you, to you, and because of you. No-one will hold them accountable.

Feeling the love yet? Feeling the burn yet? Feeling the bigotry and pettiness yet? Want to do something about it? Here’s what you do.

Nothing. Not a damn thing. Do not take the slightest notice of your detractors. Do not reward them with anger, or distress, or recognition. Take note of the fashionable meme that started up a few years ago: ” Keep calm and carry on. “. By all means use social media but do not use it to vent frustrations or angst. Be benign, vague, and cheerful. Send kitten videos. And do what you were going to do regardless.

Don’t be too sanguine about the results. You won’t reap any better opinion of yourself from the people who are determined to hate you; they have invested to much of their time in speech and writing to resile their position. Many of them hope for benefit from your opponents*. The best you can hope for is a better judgement of history.

* And if, in a few years, they present their intellectual bill to the other side of politics – and it is not paid – they have a ready-made supply of protest that they can direct to them.

 

 

 

Fixing Facebook Vs Fixating On Facebook

Well, the two week’s experiment is proceeding pretty well. I am avoiding Facebook for the better part of the day, and just dealing with it in a set period of time in the evening.

It is working out well, on the whole. I am less distracted when it comes to household tasks and can concentrate on my other writing and upon hobby matters.  And I have isolated the two things that most bother me about the social media giant:

a. The fact that people who I quite like to talk to in real life are menaces on the screen. I realise that people will always have different political, religious, moral , and cultural opinions that I may not agree with. I accept that – I know that some of my thoughts may make them quail.

But for the most part when we are face to face we do not trot these out…certainly we do not lambaste each other with them. The conventions of polite society seem to keep us in check.

Not so on the screen. Even though they are not anonymous – I can read who has posted something – my Facebook friends grab some of the most annoying and irksome posts from others and plaster them in my face. It does me no good to click the button stopping these – they are carried to me by the friend, rather than the Facebook service itself.

I am left with only three options; hide all from the friend, unfriend the friend, or grit my teeth and bear it.

b. The vortex of stupid click-bait posts that is any venture off the main page. I’ve learned to avoid any of them. Part of me admires the skill of the shill, but they are still demeaning.

As for the first section, part of me wants to collect a series of appalling memes and inflammatory pages and scatter them out onto the screen myself, with particular references and calls to individual people…but part of me knows that this is not funny – just bad manners. I prefer to be bad-mannered in person.

Heading Image: Lakanuki Atoll 1944

Trigger Issues

A new buzz phrase seems to be in the social media – ” trigger issue ” – which can cover anything that you decide it means – if you want to be angry about something you think up a series of triggers that will set you off. They need not be terrible things per se, because you can think up a story that makes anything into an opportunity to be angry – it is, after all, the way you want to be in the first place.

Ah, but are you doing it right? Are you sensitive enough…and seen to be sensitive enough by the cool crowd…to react quickly before the topic goes away? Perhaps it is time to advance to the next level: ” the set trigger issue “.

Set triggers have been around for centuries – they date far back into the muzzle-loading firearm days for hunting and target shooting. Any time the shooter needed to let the gun discharge with the lightest possible touch the set trigger was employed. They were not used in muskets or military firearms as these had to survive being cocked and carried in the rough and tumble of battle.

The set trigger was a two-part thing. You cocked the flintlock, then pulled the rear, curved trigger until it clicked. Then the front, straight trigger would fire off at the very slightest touch. If you lost your chance to fire you had to take the cock down off of full to half-cock and discharge the tension on the trigger.

The aspiring social warrior or fame-hunter can also use this technique. They think of an issue about which they have practiced a politically correct response, then analyse it for a key word that might be uttered in normal conversation. They attach this to the set trigger and pull it until it clicks. Then anyone even breathing it…or even something that sounds like it…can get the full roar of a discharge.

It’s very effective in giving the Facebook shooter an advantage – being the first-in frequently dominates any social exchange. And the advantage over discharging a real muzzle-loading rifle is that you don’t need to be accurate or even to hit the target. And you don’t have to wash the barrel out with hot soapy water afterwards.

Remember: You don’t have to be right to be righteous.

The Drones – Part Four – The Right To Self Defence

Pshaw!

What right? You hardly have it if you are attacked by robbers or murderers – if the cops can punish you for protecting yourself in your own home, how do you hope to establish a right to do it when pestered by someone flying a drone?

Still, if there are no legal means to protect yourself from surveillance, intrusion, and harm that at least clarifies the situation somewhat, what? What?

a. The drone has to start from somewhere, and the programs that control a lot of their flight have provisions to return the thing to the point where it took off from. Whether this is done by memory or GPS I don’t know, but I have seen it in operation and I know it is not dependant upon a lot of light. The drone can pitch off and return in semi-darkness.

There are lights on the drones that are put there to aid the flyer orientate themselves – if they are turned on they can also help the drone-hunter to follow the aircraft back to base. In most cases this will be very close to the pilot flying it.

b. Attacking people is illegal. To do it legally you need to be a member of the Police Service or the armed forces in receipt of a legitimate order through the proper chain of command. Most people will not be in this situation.

Attacking drones is also illegal, but on a lower scale of offence. If you are going to baseball bat something, bat the drone. It’s still wrong, but it’ll play better in front of the magistrate.

c. Attacking the drone while it is in the air over your property is also probably illegal – ( Hell, everything is illegal in Australia ) – but particularly illegal if you discharge a firearm at it. Resist the temptation to loose off with the 12 gauge.

You may reflect, however, that ancient and medieval people shot fowls out of the air by various means long before gunpowder was invented. There are illustrations in textbooks of the methods which they adopted – and in many cases they were quite quiet affairs. I should avoid crossbows for legal reasons.

Side note: the Swiss or French police seem to be training birds of prey to attack drones to protect sensitive installations. They are, of course, free within their own countries to do as they see fit.

d. The drone flies on a radio signal from the controller. Interfere with this signal and the drone reverts to that return-to-base mode.

e. Drone flyers who use them to spy do so for a number of reasons, but the chief one is that they are smartarses. This character trait invariably means that they are also going to give themselves away by bragging locally or by posting their feats on the internet… Capitalise upon this flaw – make careful enquiries and keep diligent watch. You will eventually find them.

Smartarses also offend repeatedly – because it boosts their ego to bully and menace. If you’ve been pestered once, prepare for the next incursion in whatever way you feel best, knowing that your vigilance will be rewarded.

f. Drones do not fly forever. Their propellers break and their batteries lose capacity and their radio systems go out of tune. This will remove some of them from the scene quickly, and the cost of replacement will mean that they do not return. The expensive ones will require repair too, and here is where you enter the system. Make contact with the repair facility and pay for the names and addresses of their clients. Pay well – information is valuable.

 

What Do You Do When You Don’t Have Statues To Remove?

Why, you remove names! Names of people you don’t like. And you make censorship sound virtuous!

Our localities saw fights between whites and blacks in the nineteenth century – for the most part the whites won. Now the blacks want the names of the regions where these fights occurred to be changed so that the settlers are vilified and forgotten.

They have a problem: there aren’t many equestrian statues of the settlers in question to haul away. No-one bothered to cast them back then and the only thing remaining is a few gravestones and the map names of outlying townships and electoral areas. This must be a frustrating setback to the politically ambitious and the racially virtuous.

No matter – local activists have demanded that the names be expunged and replaced by what they tell us are aboriginal names. History will be smudged over, re-written, or outright traduced…and it likely will be with the blessing of local academics and political opportunists. They would howl at the same thing bring done to European or Middle Eastern history, but they are delighted to be able to do it here.

I’m afraid I have a sad prediction to make – the very people who have cried loudest in the past about spiritual matters and sacred sites will likely take to the graves of the settlers in our local cemetaries with spades. I hope the cops are ready for it, and I hope the shire councils can stand the cost of replacement headstones. Otherwise we all stand a chance of being expunged at the convenience of activists.

The Australian League Of Virtuousness

As Right Evil Bastard of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia, I take great pleasure in announcing the formation of the newest of our branches; The Australian League Of Virtuousness.

The League, as a division of The Guild, will be responsible for promoting goodness instead of badness – virtue instead of vice – and justice instead of tyranny. This will take place on alternate fortnights or on occasions when The Guild is absent for holidays.

Of course, revenue generated by the League will revert to The Guild and be distributed accordingly. As it is expected that the customers for this new service will be in a proportion of 1:5 – as per the Barnum ratio – there may be a considerable time before excess profits are available to return to The League. But we have hopes that light will prevail over darkness eventually at a rate higher than C.P.I.

Aspirants to the League will be required to demonstrate their committment to social justice, temperance, and anything else that can attract dollars or attention. At this point of time we do not plan to practice any religious ceremonies beyond passing the plate.

Please note that virtuousness is not connected with virtuosity. Virtuosity plays on the violin – we play on the nerves.