Let us now celebrate one of the best days of the year for democracy – a day when the downtrodden finally rose in arms and started to break the power that had always set its foot on their necks. Today is Bastille Day.
It was not a quick revolution nor a clean one – the real ones never are – but it was, by and large, a successful one. The old monarchy tried to return after the new upstart monarchy was defeated. Eventually both their powers petered out and people took more of their lives into their own hands.
They’ve been conquered since, and then liberated and have conquered in their turn, and are facing more of it – as all Europe does. But then Europe has always faced strife since before the Roman Empire – none of it is new.
I take comfort on Bastille Day in reading Tom Paine’s ” The Rights Of Man ” and am inspired by our Marianne in the liberty cap. It is a good day for cheese and wine and paté.
My recent trip to Melbourne saw me going through the Federation Square premises of the National Gallery Of Victoria with some trepidation. Previous visits were enlivened with rooms full of brightly coloured phalluses and vulvas – always a favourite with the art-lovers – and a full-scale fire alarm and evacuation on one visit. Plus some exhibits of real beauty. Fed Square is a grab bag…
This time was no different, though most of the exhibits were delightful. I am not a fussy connoisseur – give me a brightly coloured vulva and a bag of peanuts and I’m happy. So I welcomed these three pieces of comfortable furniture:
Nostalgic diners of the 70’s and 80’s will have them in a minute. They even evoke the remembrance of smell, though they had no odour themselves.
Call me a cynical citizen, but I reckon that these would be major sellers as lounge furniture if one could overcome the copyright laws.
Note that the Sausage McBiscuit is a North American product – probably closely allied to our Australian Sausage McMuffin.
Share propaganda. Share racist diatribes. Share bigotry. Share innuendo. Share abuse and bullying. Share political pressure.
Or don’t. Your choice.
The daily round of social media brings a waste-paper basket full of this sort of thing. People with a political, social, or religious opinion will batten upon something – a meme, a rant, a scurrilously defamatory article – and ” share ” it to others in their social circle. Some do it every day – some when a national event occurs. There is one common theme with all the posts; the poster wants to get way with their abuse – diatribe, bigotry, whine, or whatever – scot-free. They are merely ” sharing ” someone else’s concoction. If they are proved right you should have agreed with them and if they are proved wrong it was someone else’s fault.
Well, no. When you try to slap something unsavoury upon your friends, you are the last person to touch it, and the dung clings to you as much as it does to the disgusting object. Same thing with your social media posts. Those shitty fingers are at the ends of your own sleeves.
If you want to be honest with friends, you can still press them with political and social opinions, but you need to do it in your own words. You write, not share. If you write right, they’ll read. If you write shite, they won’t.
Take responsibility for your own material.
What odd creatures we are. We insist on seeing lumpy thighs on actors like Arnold Swartzenegger but reject them on Nicole Kidman. They are not dangerous to us, nor to their owners, but we insist on making a fuss.
Likewise many of the other bits of the body – and there are people who devote their entire lives to building up and breaking down the various muscles that puff up the external appearance of man or woman. If they succeed we laud them – if they do not we slate them. And yet none of their muscles are ever likely to affect us one way or the other.
The same doesn’t apply to actors’ or tycoons’ political opinions or endorsements. They can, indeed, make us unhappy when translated into election results or legislative efforts. We may be subject to them because of their notoriety. Even if we do not respect the famous, others do, and woe betide us if we are not with the program.
I am also starting to suspect actors’ role in sales promotions. World-wide fame is used to sell exercise machines that will soon be discarded on the verge for council collection. Likewise dietary supplements ( read by-products that cannot be sold by any other means…), golf balls, and religious affiliation. It may be just my skeptical nature, but has anyone stopped to consider that an actor’s stock in trade is simulation…and that is a very short distance from dissimulation.
Or betrays. Then it is known as a betrait…
We are all accustomed to internet posts that have an image of the author at the introduction. The facility with which an actual photo can be added to a social site is marvellous – but few people realise what they are either showing or seeing. Frequently the picture trips up both poster and viewer.
I use a construct – a picture taken of myself in the studio wearing my dad’s old khaki shirt ( 60+ years old and still going strong ) a freebie hat I got from Nikon – with their trademark struck out – a pair of binoculars, and a 1:18 scale plastic fighter plane. You are encouraged to think I am an admiral on an aircraft carrier. I particularly admire the resolute look on my face. I think it is most probably wind…
Other people use pictures that have been sliced from phone cameras or worse. They are lucky to be recognisable. A phone selfie in a bathroom making a duck face is a poor advertisement for a duck, let alone a person.
One person I’ve noticed, an internet troll, uses a quasi-mysterious selfie with roiling edges and the expression of a dyspeptic llama. It’s ugly, but damned accurate. He cannot be accused of deceptive trading.
As opposed to these travesties, some people use genuinely beautiful images as their trademarks. It’s a wise move, and even if they do not match up to the image in real life, the picture is so much more with us that we remember it instead of them. It’s a mistake to steal someone else’s beauty, but if you can pay for at least one good shot of yourself, it’s money well spent.
The no-image introduction, or the cartoon character presented in lieu, are as telling as any real image. The person does not wish to give anything away – either of themselves or of their time. Whatever they write is not backed up with any veracity of personal presence – and can generally be flicked over instantly. You can brand yourself well or badly and get the attention of the populace, but when you are a faceless opinion you lose most of your credibility. Even if all you post is a picture of the either end of your alimentary canal, you are making a genuine contact.
I must show you my collection of orifices some time.
If you were looking for an internet columnist who will write mean things about people, I’m your man. I’m available 24 hours a day to bang out copy telling the world how dreadful your enemies are – no target goes unscathed. I charge reasonable prices for scandalous writing, and I have an ABN number so you can get a tax deduction.
Except today – this is the one day of the year when I write nice things about people – and today it is about Yamina, the Samba dancer.
She was kind enough yesterday to buy me a ticket to the movies during the Festival Of French Cinema and accompany me to the show. As a French teacher, she could get a lot more from the film than I, but fortunately there were very good subtitles. And as it was a show about music and dance, the soundtrack and visuals spoke for themselves.
Totally not what I thought it was going to be. The title was Le Grand Bal, and I expected opera or theatre costuming, sweeping staircases, and Offenbach. As it turned out, it was a doco on one of the festivals of folk music and dance held in the central part of France in the summer. She had been to many of these in similar circumstances and this was the connection. Apparently it was a very accurate as well as charming film.
I found it fascinating seeing people dressed as ordinary tourists but doing extraordinary things – dancing for 7 days and 8 nights while taking workshop lessons and getting 2 hours of sleep in the interim. Performing intricate art for their own enjoyment. Acting as an impromptu corps du ballet – perfectly controlled, and all to folk instruments. Amazing.
After the show another member of the audience recognised her and rushed over to find out if this sort of dancing ball would ever be held here in Perth.
Note: it is very much of advantage to have an experienced French wine-drinker looking at the wine list in a restaurant when you want something good to drink.
But Terrible? Why have I written Terrible? Easy…
I teased her that I was going to write a column with this title, so I know she is now going to read the column assiduously. I am not ashamed to get my readers by subterfuge and sneaky tricks…Of course there is nothing at all terrible about her – quite the contrary – but now she’s reading.
Mwa Ha ha ha …
I always used to take my nose for granted until I started to think about it. Consider:
a. Most people in the ancient world did not know what their nose looked like. They were poor and could not afford mirrors of any kind. If they lived in dry places that did not even have pools of water to look into. The only thing they ever saw of the organ was a blob on either side of their eyesight when they looked cross-eyed. Short-nosed people probably missed out on that.
b. This did not stop them from picking the thing pretty efficiently. The finger has a self-guidance system for the nostril.
c. You just tried that, didn’t you?
d. The nose smells everything until it hits on something that is so pungent that it cancels all sensation for a period. This might be natural naphtha emissions, rotten fish, or one of the Trudeaus. Cold weather in Canada right now, so a lot of the citizens are safe, eh?
e. You can find out things with your nose, and not all of them need to be where the drains are up. You can locate flowers, fresh rain, and a new car.
f. You can express emotion with your nose – disapproval with a sniff, contempt with a raised nose, etc. Some people can imagine sexiness in a twitchy nose, but then if they are reduced to getting their rocks off with that they might as well look at armpits or boils.
h. You can poke your nose into other people’s business pretty effectively these days and if you are a multi-billionaire media controller you make it sound as if you are doing something of public value. After you’ve snuffled around long enough you can sell the information you get for more billions. Eventually you’ll go to jail, but the more billions you have the longer away this can be.
i. Fill out this internet form, play this game, tell me all your details. I ‘ll scratch my nose while you do.