My New Enemies – Fresh From The Newspaper

Apparently I am the enemy of the young, and they are enemies of me – or so says the Atlantic Monthly. I am considered a minor detonation in the Baby Boom and guilty, thereby, of oppressing them mightily.

It seems as if by being 71 and owning my own home, I have condemned them to listless poverty and racial segregation. I’m not sure if I’m also responsible for Hitler or the Johnstown Flood, but I’m going to read the magazine avidly to see. And that may be the explanation for the article…

Newspapers write whatever they like. And what they like is for people to give them money. They are pleased to receive it from advertisers, subscribers, and people who buy the paper to wrap fish. It is much the same with magazines, though they are smaller than newspapers and the ink they use makes the fish taste funny. Still, they want you to read and look at the ads, and writing garbage is just as profitable as wrapping it.

On one hand I am pretty certain I have not excluded any of my neighbours from Singapore, India, Malaysia, or Watford Gap from settling in the neighbourhood…because they’re here and so am I. None of us that I can recall have burned crosses on the front lawn, though there have been a few suspect smells when someone has not paid attention to the pots on the stove. And first day of winter smells like a forest fire in the Okanagan as everyone in the street fires up their wood stoves.

On the other hand, the thought that I am causing pain and suffering to the millennial generation by denying them their rightful place in Mom’s basement playing a video game is a very appealing one. Just knowing that they are frustrated at not being able to get free stuff is enough to brighten the day. We don’t have much of a lawn now, but I’ll welcome the chance to yell at them to get off it.

 

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Plead The Fifth

Every time a US senate enquiry tried to pin mobsters and communists down about their activities in the 1950’s the parties being grilled recited a prepared statement that they respectfully declined to answer the question on grounds that it might tend to incriminate them*. The amendment is worth reading in total, but the small part they were using applies to testifying against yourself. ie don’t admit nuthin’, Salvatore. Make ’em prove it.

I respectfully suggest that whenever Facebook asks you any question at all – however innocent it may seem – that you take the Fifth. Any information you give about yourself – your history, your family, your likes and dislikes – can, may, and probably will be used, sold, traded, abused, and otherwise bandied about. You will do yourself no good whatsoever by responding to any of the questions, quizzes, games, or provocative statements.

This also applies to posts and shared memes put out by the trolls within your Facebook friends list. And we’ve all got ’em. Those of you who insist that all your friends are innocent may have two or three of mine, free…

*   A wonderful red flag, if red flag be needed, to alert the authorities that more investigation would be fruitful.

To Face Or Not To Face…

That is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to shut the thing down and avoid all contact for the obligatory 30-day period or to carry on and slog daily through targeted ads and random memes.

Shall I read everything that goes by and thereby risk viewing mere acquaintances as friends and real friends as mere idiots – based upon their Facebook habits?

Shall I be surgical about it – knifing out and completely expunging Facebook contacts who are a continuous source of annoyance – or shall I take the medicinal route and merely unfollow them. They’ll not be offended and I’ll not be annoyed…

Would I miss an important part of life by doing any of this? Was my life sad before Facebook…or is it sad now? Will it be sadder still, or recover some glee? Hard to say.

This is not because of recent hacking and similar shenanigans that have embarrassed the social platform. ( if anything could actually be said to embarrass an organisation with that much money ) but it is a result of the announcement that this electronic resident in my computer is going to start dealing in the crypto-currency business. That news is like an air attack warning klaxon would be to a U-boat crew – It makes me want to dive immediately and change course underwater.

I have committed myself to a hands-off month observing the thing during July. Then I’ll spend a further month with no contact at all – either Facebook or Instagram – and see what the psyche has to psay at the end of August.

I may sail on as before or I may clap the hatches shut and flood the tanks.

Marcel Was ‘Ere

In a previous post I declared that I was a friend of Art. And that I was a kindly and  nonjudgemental soul. That I would celebrate all I saw.

I lied.

You have only to place before me some of the most celebrated works of European artists to call forth from me the Canadian version of the Bronx cheer. It has bellowed forth through the art gallery of New South Wales and the NGV many times. This year Marcel Duchamp’s works evoked it. And it was not even because it was a paid exhibition – I’d have laughed it to scorn for free.

There’s Marcel’s pisser, of course…

And the edifying sight of a bus-load of earnest French  high school students worshipping it.

I was taken with the red wooden box in which Marcel established a portable gallery of his works, and with the revolving discs that made optical illusions when placed on a gramophone…and by the portable chess set he carried.

But I cannot bring the same sense of admiration – other than the sort of regard in which I hold P.T. Barnum – for the bicycle wheel, the ball of twine, or the urinal. He said that they were art and got people to agree with him – but people can agree on folly as readily as they can on wisdom.

Facebook’s Community Standards

Or Hold The Stainless Banner High…*

I’ve been scolded by Facebook for posting a story in my column that deals with scale model building – a story in 8 or more parts. It’s the history of the Royal Ruritanian Army Air Force and Facebook thinks it is spam. And says that it contravenes Facebook community standards.

I have to admit, it doesn’t contain:

a. Sneering memes about an American President or Australian Prime Minister.

b. Thoughts and prayers.

c. Sneering references to thoughts and prayers.

d. Cat videos.

e. Advertisements that have been paid for by businesses based upon my browser history.

f. Games that seek to find out people’s preferences so that the information can be sold to advertisers.

So, yes, my columns do not conform to Facebook community standards. If they did I should be deeply ashamed.

I wonder if Facebook is ever deeply ashamed…?

*   I was listening to the old Civil War song of this name…but I can’t be sure if the lyrics mentioned ” stainless ” or ” brainless “… which would explain a great deal about the current problem.

 

 

 

” Guide To Australian Social Interaction “

Or, ” How To Slag, Sledge, And Slur Like A Professional “.

If you are of a delicate constitution, stop reading now, go make a pot of camomile tea, and light an incense candle. If you’re a hardier sort, welcome to the column. Your Australian host will be with you shortly – they’re just whetting the knife at present.

Overseas visitors to Australia are very often treated with deference, kindness, and polite language. We’re cruel that way. It is our method of seeming to conform to standards of gentlemanly or ladylike behaviour while trampling you underfoot. The fact that you never know it makes it even better.

I have seen someone treated this way – indeed I was tempted to be join in and be polite myself, and it is only my better nature that drew forth a vile curse from my lips. The occasion was one that saw a number of Australians and New Zealanders meet and greet in their normal style. Bastards and buggers and shitheads were everywhere, and pleased to be so called. Sheep shagging was mentioned and a person from Queensland was advised on where the pineapple could be inserted and in what orientation.

And in the midst was a person who was not liked at all. It was not that he was not respectable, or rich, or glorious, or famous…he was indeed all these things…it was because he knew it and had mentioned it publicly on a previous occasion. So he was given respectful, formal, lawful greetings whenever anyone had occsion to speak to him. He was ” Mr. So and So “, and ” Sir “, and any number of similar insults. The thing started small but eventually everyone was engaging him in conversation in a similar formal vein – then turning to someone else and calling them an ” Old Bastard “. If he knew what was happening, he never said, but I suspect he did, as he left in a short period of time.

And was never seen in the same company again.

 

Kindly Point That Meme In Another Direction.

Thank you.

Please do not think that I am unsympathetic to your cause. I’m sure your cause may have true aspects and fine points – I daresay that you can press it with wit and sophistication. And Lord knows, we need goodness, wit, and vitamins every day.

The problem is you are serving up horse manure, and I have long since lost a taste for it.

I would have welcomed your spiel in my 2o’s. I would have agreed readily, nodded vigorously, and subscribed generously. If you were young and attractive I would have gone through hoops to impress you in the hope that you would press yourself to me. Here. And here. And here again…

I have now arrived at the point of time when pressing is optional and it actually is the thought that counts. And if you can’t manage to keep yours in order I am not interested.

If you ask me to believe the unbelievable I shall politely refuse. If you ask me to support the insupportable the answer will be the same. If you wish me to deny the evidence of my own eyes, ears, or other senses, you can launch yourself off a steam catapult and fly away. Keep it up and I won’t rig the arrester wires for your return…