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.
Or will it be ” War And Peace “?
You have to decide when you enter a keyboard dogfight whether you want to fight it down to the deck until you all run out of ammunition and are reduced to ramming each other, or whether you just want to make a quick firing pass, zoom up, and fly away.
The first approach – what I like to call the Zeke – is for those who wish to become legends in their own lunchtime. Heros who do not care whether their reputations, bank balances, or underwear are shredded in the fight. People who sacrifice themselves whenever they can – possibly for the pleasure of being hurt. There’s probably a PhD somewhere in there but you’d have to write footnotes to get it.
The indefatigable keyboard fighter never gives up, even when they have passed from being questionable to being wrong – and then gone on to being ludicrous and irrelevant. They cannot quit, as quitting would involve them in the suspicion that they were fools and have been suckered into an intellectual Lufberry Circus by smarter thinkers. They generally die in a blaze of inglorious prose against some hillside.
A second fighting style is know as the Thunderbolt. The writer knows that they have one chance only to drop on their opponent with overwhelming force, let ’em have the whole nine yards, and then use the moment of stunned and horrified silence to zoom away and disappear. It is not a case of cowardice – just judicious use of advantage and tactics. Dodging and weaving whilst making the escape is also not a bad idea. They never have to return to fight that opponent again.
A third approach is to enter unobtrusively, throttle back whilst close to the victim, drop a delayed-action meme, and then slide over the horizon before the thing goes up. Make no mistake – no-one will be in any doubt who dropped it. You will get credit, if only in curses.
Well, if you have decided not to get physical in your search for a fight, why not pull up the laptop and start being obnoxious. The worst you’ll get is unfriended and you might very well be able to ruin someone’s whole week from the comfort of Mum’s basement.
Note: Mum’s Basement is a cliché. The best work is done from a warm den, surrounded by cups of coffee and plates of chocolate biscuits. It helps to have a pin board up on one wall with lists of victims .
Are you right? Not political Right – I mean are you correct – at least as often as you are wrong? Would you like to improve the score? To be right more and more often? To finally be right all the time? The internet will be your playground, then, and if you are good at what you do, it can become a killing ground. Literally, if recent news reports are to be believed.
Find a group of people who will read your work. Pick a topic that will arouse them. Choose whether to be righteous or cynical in your posts, but do not switch between the two settings – this will just confuse your audience.* Rouse them to passion with whatever you write, and then note which ones rouse easily. These are your go-to readers when you need a quick fix of righteous indignation or virtue. Don’t be ashamed of this – we all need a shot of caffeine, alcohol, or praise every now and then.
Play on your simpler readers as much as you like – they’ll generally respond predictably and you can keep them going with a very small maintenance dose of smarmy memes. They may not be humourous people in themselves, but they can recognise humour in others and condemn it. Remember that you can always wave a flag, poppy, or cross and get a healthy shout of approval.
Then try for the harder targets – the readers who are more intelligent and/or sophisticated. They will need more careful cozening and subtler stimuli. Do not expect them to boil and explode as easily as the base layer, but you’ll be surprised how rewarding it is when they finally do go off. Then you can chide them for lack of self-control.
* And confused readers are likely to switch off and go to the refrigerator.
Is there a bloodpit pub, tavern, or hotel in your town? Pretty well certain to be one – every settlement has the place that you really don’t want to go to.
Well, go. Go on a Saturday night about 10:30 when the greasy food and stale beer have soaked well into the regulars, the football game has just wound down, and the drunks are looking for a fight. If you are identifiable as any particular social class, colour, or race, choose a place that is packed with people who are not the same as you.
Go in and find a fight about to start. Two yahoos – or stock brokers – weaving and cursing and squaring up to each other. Leap between them and command them to stop. Tell them that you are disappointed in them and that order them to behave themselves. Call them bad names to get their attention.
Do you like grapes? Because they are in season right now and the hospital will let us bring them into the wards when we come visit you.
You may wish to review the situation while you lie there in the bed. Why did you go into that pub ( aside from the fact that I told you to…)? If you were looking for a quiet drink , why did you pick the bloodpit? Every town has a bottle shop and you could have sat at home and drank without getting punched.
Did you want to be a missionary? A martyr to save the souls of the delinquent? Well, most of the delinquents will never be saved and certainly not on Saturday night.
Or did you want to find a fight you could win…and picked the wrong one? Were you planning to be the bully of the schoolyard and found out that you were not? Is the condition of your eye and your teeth a just reward for your own aggressive desires? What the hell did you go to the bloodpit for?
Never mind. Now you can plot revenge upon your assailants. You have enemies that you can be mean to – and your stitches will act as justification in your own mind for any act of nastiness you care to think up. You are good – they are bad. Simple as that, eh?
Tomorrow – carrying this attitude over to the internet.
All my life I have lived in the centre of a whirlpool of fear – fear of bullying, fear of failure, fear of social ostracism, fear of girls, fear of debt, etc. Add to that fear of Soviets and savages and spiders. It’s amazing I made it out of the house some days – it was probably worry about Russians with tarantulas under the bed that got me out of the place.
Well, that was then, this is now. I was young, and then middle-aged, and now I’m not. The fear of business failure was cured by failing – and then living comfortably – and the spider phobia went early in the piece when I started swatting redbacks with my thong. These days being socially ostracized is positively relaxing and debt is expected of us anyway. Girls are still frightening, but I am taking them in small doses and the nervousness is wearing off…
I still get to worry about random attacks of intruders or the collapse of bodily health, but even here the terror is not as great as it might be. There are sensible precautions one can take, and at this age there are a number of dangerous and dreadful options as well that are quite attractive.
The great thing is that you finally realise that no-one knows what is going on, or how to do it, or what they look like, or where it’s at. We all thought so when we were young and quaked or preened with the thought. None of us appreciated what we had half as much as what we thought we wanted – and it is only the fortune of time that’s brought experiences and objects to us to show whether they were worth desiring or dreading. In most cases, nothing was.
But now we oldies have a pretty clear vision of exactly what we don’t give a shit about. The delicate and gentle amongst us – and I include myself in this group – do not go shouting our disdain about to harry others. We merely do not attend, even when we are there. We may have bad ears but we can listen to internal music, and without Apple products either.
Don’t believe me? Look at the ol’ folks on the bus or train. They are the ones enjoying looking out the window or laughing at you as you bend over your mobile phone. You may have no idea where you are and what you look like, but they do.
a. Invest in a scanner, computer, and printer. Scan your local currency and print the resulting files with the printer. Glue the front and back of the bills together. Scrunch up the result.
When you try to pass this counterfeit money do not be surprised if you are detained by the police and jailed for the crime. Or get away with it for years. It all depends on the people you shop with.
b. Sell people courses in how to sell courses.
This is the ” daisy chain ” theory of economic success. If you do not understand what a daisy chain is, you are a better person than I.
c. Threaten to expose people’s seamy history unless they give you money.
If they actually do have a seamy past, this is called blackmail and like ( a. ) above, will eventually lead to jail time. If they don’t, you just make one up and publish it anyway. This is known as investigative journalism and earns big bucks from tabloids.
d. Sell a food. Well, actually just sell the idea of a food. What you are selling need not actually be edible or nutritious or even safe. Let’s face it, you can serve nuclear waste dipped in weed killer to the right market – my local kebab shop does a big trade Friday night.
But if you are selling on-line you need something that can be shipped without leaking. Dried food powder is a good choice, and you can dry and shred gerbil droppings on a very economical basis. Then all you need is a slogan and a website.
e. Become mystical. Mystics can sell things for $ 39.95 like crystals, books, and healing incantations. Why people fall for this is a mystery, but as long as they are willing to act as cash cows, you just keep pulling the teats.
We’re constantly being bombarded by Facebook data-grabs of various kinds – asking our favourite colour, condiment, or calibre of rifle bullet. If we fall for them, our preferences are shunted off to the advertisers who have paid the social platform for the information. Then we are bombarded with advertisement pointed to what they think are our interests.
Frankly, I think that Zuks…
But there is one particular hootchy kooch that puzzles me – the one that asks me to think up a food name that doesn’t end in Q or a dog’s name that is the same in a mirror. Even if I can come up with something that fits the criteria, what use can they make of it?
Are the stupid ones designed to find people who can be sold cryptocurrency? Are the impossible ones a recruiting drive for Bletchley Park? Or do they just put this filler in when the kitten or Trump posts are running low?
I long to send out a few myself:
” Write an entire Polish novel without using a vowel.”
” Find the Good Guys in Syria ”
” Where, in Mississippi, can you legally shove a pickle? ”
From the answers I will compile a list of people who are incautious. This characteristic is valuable because they are the type of person who will invest in bulk-buy cosmetics or time-share holidays in Queensland. In some cases they can be induced to buy waterfront property in Townsville…though to be fair that is generally everywhere in Townsville some years.
They can be induced to enter a dark kitchen alone when the soundtrack makes that Wheep Wheep noise.
They can also be induced to stand for Parliament on an independent basis. Hey, there’s a good living in taking their deposits…