The Icono-c/b-last

The English language has this thing for making things seem more important than they really are. ” Iconoclast ” for instance. Look up the definition in whatever dictionary you possess, but the essential thing revolves around the destruction of cherished religious institutions.

Yet no-one goes further – and takes the language of science to construct a word: ” Iconoblast “. The person who sets up or builds these structures. Martin Luther was both clast and blast and probably a hell of a lot of fun at a petting party, as well.

I refuse to destroy people’s faith in established religion. It is cute and colourful and very useful in getting them to give away their money. I support all established religions  – particularly those who collect weekly dues and are prepared to invest that money in Guild activities.

I would, however, like to be a successful iconoblast. If I could set up faithful religious worship of myself – open to all people of good, but dim, character – I could build up a real bank balance. If you look at the current religious societies you’ll see that they possess land, business assets, and treasuries that are rarely accessed and never depleted. I am not greedy – several millions squirrelled away in a secure Swiss bank would do me – and I am more than prepared to dispense salvation, approval, or any other nebulous benefit to get it. If you want to be forgiven, I forgive readily, and issue receipts.

Suppose your crime of sin is so bad – so heinous – so vile as to surpass the limits of human or divine comprehension. Yet you still want to be free of any blame. Let me introduce you the Ye Premium Service…

 

” It’s All A Mucking Fadhouse “

That feeling of exasperation when you are surrounded by people all trying to be cooler than each other – and the end result is the ambient temperature drops dramatically. And these desperate social actors live on drama…

I was always a conservative and repressed little fellow. Primary school and high school saw me dressed as my mother commanded and – to be honest – there was not a lot of sartorial splendour in rural Canada in the 1950’s. You could be well-dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans. The delightful thing for me is that this is still the case 70 years later.

You were also not encouraged to be either high, wide nor handsome in your opinions and speech. This may still be the case in Canada, though you are allowed to be scornful of the American President as long as he is not a Democrat or coloured. Hey, Canada has some standards, even if they are double…

But getting back to conservatism…it need not be a bad thing. It’s just a matter of context. No-one really wants an eye surgeon or dentist who is wild and cutting-edge radical – particularly when you’re their their patient. And few of us welcome return-to-the basics airline pilots who always fly at 500 ft. and stick their fingers out the window to see which way the wind is blowing. We reserve these things for their natural place.

Likewise we might well do with a politician who is not continuously at the barricades – particularly if they have no idea in which direction to throw their paving stone. A person who is not driven by popular shrieks from the mob is helpful. Even the shrieking radicals appreciate them, as they provide convenient targets for mindless abuse.

So calm down a little. You’ll still be able to subvert western civilisation and look kewl but you can do it at a less frenetic pace. And better dressed.

” Temperance, Temperance, Now… “

When you are angry and it’s cold, warmth is a pleasure. When you are similarly out of sorts and it’s hot, coolness is soothing. What shall you turn to when the temperature is pleasant, but you are still not?

Well, the candy bar makers would have you buy their sugar sticks and cheer yourself up that way. So would the BMW corporation. I’ve looked at the price of confectionary these days and you might as well pick out a colour for your Series 2 Coupe right now – you’ll be able to afford it far sooner…

Temperance in all things was prescribed by the ancient philosophers as a way of life. Or, I should say, by some of them. Others went to extremes of being either miserably pinched or wildly overstimulated…and in the end everyone ended up just as happy as each other.

” Temperance ” when seized upon by the 19th century social reformers and religious promoters seems to have been anything but. It basically meant no alcohol – in a moral crusade allied laughingly to a mohammedan’s jihad view of liquor. If it was George Orwell writing their lines they might have been ” Water good – booze bad “.

If you want to see the combined effects of water and morality, google up 19th century images of the WCTU ladies. Lips that touched liquor never touched theirs…and the reason is painfully obvious from the photos. Admittedly, photographers did not encourage their clients to smile in the days of the long exposure, but the WCTU ladies are something else entirely. I’ve seen things painted on the front of fighter planes that looked more welcoming…

Am I encouraging you to wild licence? To drunken orgies? To wasted days and wasted nights? If you are going to experience them anyway and do it feeling guilty, no. If you plan to take wild delight and bask in the warm glow, go right ahead.  Stay out of the car, don’t juggle chain saws, and avoid contracting marriage or any other social disease.

The Smile On Voltaire’s Face

For many years I’ve visited Melbourne – sometimes in the summer – sometimes in the winter. Sometimes for both seasons on one day ( plus the Apocalypse and Free Pizza Night. Melbourne weather is like that… ) I’ve often gone to visit a friend. He lives in the NGV on the second floor.

François-Marie Arouet was in the word business long before me…and as it happens, will probably be there long after I am gone. That is the quality of his thinking and writing. I say ” is ” rather than ” was ” because so much of what he wrote and published is still current. Indeed a great deal of his admonishment to tolerance and sensible thinking is still for the future…

Quite what he would make of the current viral crisis, the world’s response to it, and the attitude of the plague’s authors, is open to speculation. I don’t think he would have been surprised at any of it – he seems to be a man who would have been hard to startle – and I suspect he would be more willing to forgive the perpetrators than the rest of us will eventually be. He faced bullies and malefactors himself.

But he’s safe now. He can reside in a bronze bust along Toorak Road and in the bookshops of the city. The rest of us still have to keep our distance and hope that the CSL will pump out a vaccine that won’t kill us. And try to be tolerant when the truth about what set it all off finally comes out.

I shall polish my toleration tools in anticipation.

 

” I Need Sex “

You what?

” I need sex. If I don’t get sex I will be a failure. I will be sick. I will be terrible…”

Hogwash. If you don’t get sex you won’t be any of those things. You’ll just be yourself with your clothes on and a good deal more spending money in your pocket. You’ll have time to do pleasant and fun things without worrying about consequences. You will be able to avoid any number of unpleasant outcomes – both physical and mental.

” But everyone else is having sex. ”

No they’re not. They might be telling you that, but a great many of them are lying. They are bragging about it in hopes of making themselves look interesting or sophisticated or exciting. They could do that by reading a book.

” But what if I’m missing out? ”

Here’s a textbook on venereal diseases. Find out what you’re missing…knock yourself out. You’ll love the chapter on herpes. It’ll stick in your mind, like the virus sticks everywhere else.

” But what if I fall in love? ”

So fall. Fall as hard and fast and wet and foolish as you want to. It has nothing whatever to do with sex, as the porn channels on the internet make perfectly clear. You can have a superb romance dressed in woollen longjohns and sensible shoes. You can do it in cold weather and look absolutely stunning against crashing sea waves.

” So sex is not as good as it is made out to be? I can do without it forever? ”

Nahh. Sex is alright. Dive right in when you find a chance. But don’t hang about the edge of real life just mooning and mooching – use your time to enjoy everything else. If it gets you, it’ll grab your crotch anyway, and if it doesn’t you can be happy doing other things.

 

 

” Don’t be Ashamed Of Your Urges. “

Some people are hard to startle. SAS sergeants, nuns, cess pool cleaners… They have seen more than you will ever been exposed to and are still sane. You would be silly to try the title of this essay on them, expecting them to jump. They would take it calmly and just punch you.

On the other hand, there are people who are ready to jump 10 feet in the air, turn left, and explode if you merely look at them and smile. While it’s a lot of fun to do so, it’s really tame sport – you are facing no challenge. Better to look for someone in the middle and exercise your talents on them. Here are a few suggestions:

a. Schoolteachers.

The masters, mistresses, heads, principals, or whatever of the education system might be thought of as hardened as our aforementioned SAS sergeant. After all, they face the enemy every day of their working lives. But you only have to ask them a question particularly attuned to their speciality to watch them wind up like an alarm clock. You may have to do a little research into whichever discipline they teach, but once you get there you’ll discover that there are pits of lava and landmines everywhere.

At a noisy cocktail party ask a mathematics teacher if they read the news article today that said a teacher in Adelaide has successfully squared a circle and proved it. Use the noise of the party to make your getaway, but be assured that your victim will be awake and at their desk at 4:00 AM trying to figure out how.

Or ask an English Lit teacher to justify Barnaby Rudge in the context of existential slavery reform. You can toast marshmallows on the resultant heat.

Or just mention that there was a parliamentary petition in Facebook to reduce teacher’s salaries to a sensible level and that you signed it…

b. Health professionals

You can torture a biochemist with anti-vax memes but this is tame game. You can annoy a dentist by challenging them to defend the practise of root canal therapy ( and there are some good pamphlets available likening it to poisoning wells…). You can freeze a physician by asking them to justify their practice’s rate of death and disfigurement over the last three years in light of recent discoveries. But the most fun of all comes when you find a marginal worker who massages spines or prepares dilute water drinks to cure broken legs. Then you don’t deride them – you praise them – and ask them to publicly declare their faith to all the people around them. Some will start to do so…

c. Sales persons

It doesn’t matter what they sell – they have been compelled to tout some dud of whatever object or service in which they deal at some time in the last three years. Ask them about it…and then challenge them to defend their decisions.

Cold sweat is a marketable commodity. Have a mop and a jar ready to collect stocks.

 

” Perth Is Boring “

We’ve all heard this one. You can substitute any other place name you like for ” Perth “. The effect would be the same; someone is unpleased with the place that they live…and wants something different.

I noted this while reading a mild debate about the erection of a public sculpture ( note: erection, not demolition…). An artist wants to sell a metal sculpture of a dinosaur to the state government – or the city council – and place it in the middle of our riverfront. Not a little sculpture , but a massive 90 metre one – and for a mere $ 1,000,000. Apparently it would draw the attention of visitors.

Frankly it should draw the attention of the taxation department, the ACCC,  and the Commissioners in Lunacy.

There are enough eye-sores in our landscape as it is – we do not need to erect more.

If people find Perth boring, it is because they are either easily bored or boring themselves. Demand for spectacle and entertainment was all very well when you could set gladiators to kill each other or lions to devour Christians. Look what great things it did for the Romans, and how well we think of them for it. You could as well demand relief of boredom by instituting the same measures as they do in Syria – artillery barrages and gas attacks. No-one bored then, eh?

Or you could address the problem of personal boredom by compelling people to undertake activities and studies that would fill their minds or develop their bodies. We did it in school and were busy instead of bored. Adults have all the world in front of them to develop and learn – boredom is laziness without even the excuse of fatigue.

 

My Readership Is Growing

Since I started promoting the Karen And Sharon Institute of Opinion my readership numbers are climbing.

720 prospective new clients every day. Mind you, remember the word ” prospective “. Not all of them will ultimately subscribe to internet social platforms, let alone my own. I must accept some failure rate with sombre resignation.

Still, with a new client every minute – as Mr. Barnum wisely said – I can be sure that whenever I wish to make the local population eat soap, refuse medicine, or break statues I have only to blare it out on Facebook. If necessary I can edit the responses of the readers so that my own point of view is paramount, or I can let their posts stand to mock them later. It is a matter of having the time available and/or dealing with a case of indigestion.

I pays to be careful what soap you swallow…

Honesty For Beginners

You’ll see a lot of use of the word ” honesty ” in the next few months. This is a lead-up to an American presidential election, a wind-down from a Chinese virus, and a cut -back on the availability of money. In the first two cases, do not expect it in any actual form – for the last cited – the money business – people will be surprisingly candid.

The election is probably going to be contested by failures – windbags of Washington who would say and do anything to gain or retain power. They both command, or are commanded by, armies of minions, minders, and puppeteers. These people would assassinate their candidate in a heartbeat if they thought they could get away with it, but the politicians know how to protect themselves against this sort of thing. So it will be a fair and open contest for the grossly blundered votes of America. Do I have a preferred candidate? I do not…I am fully occupied in writing out curses upon both their houses. I have faith that eventually the USA will have a decent President – some day – but from whence I cannot say.

The Chinese virus is with us now, has been with us for longer than they’ll admit, and will stay for longer than we care to speculate. We’ll get denials, stonewalling, accusations, and bullying tactics to try and maximise its effect upon the West while exonerating the East. Eventually the currently careless portions of the world will get smart or dead and it will peter out. There may even be a vaccine preventative one day, but that’s little consolation for the millions it will kill now. We’ll get no honesty from the Communist Party Of China but we may find out the truth through other agencies.

The business downturn and money drought is evident now and will be increasingly so as time goes on – you’ll be able to see it in black and white…or red and white…figures. The wise people will become more frugal and less demanding and probably live pretty well. Those who locked themselves into expensive lives will find that the locks can be opened and they can be thrust out.

There will also be some honesty in race relations now that there has been a flare-up of US rioting at the start of the summer. The reality that the races dislike each other has been self-evident for some period of time -roughly the last 400 years – but up till now popular culture has avoided admitting it. Whether it will ever be altered is to be seen – but there’ll be a period of intense agitation for the rest of the year. Here in Australia we’ll get our own copycat version of it.

This weblog column will not be a popular or good thing to read, but I’m not selling feels – I’m selling honesty. I expect to be yelled at for it.

The WordPress Gang

That joke works on several levels.

If you didn’t get it, here’s a tankard of ale and don’t forget to look into the bottom and see what’s down there… pick it up and peer at it…God Bless The King, and stand up straight, you horrible little man…

The WordPress organisation is a marvellous thing. I wish to praise them unreservedly. Before their activity commenced I would have been stifled. Silenced. Prevented from publishing every stray thought that enters my head and leaves by my fingertips. You would have never known how clever I think myself, and neither would I.

As it is, I can launch these guided missives every day at no cost. Few will see them, fewer care – but the very act of putting the ideas down on the screen does good. In these viral lockdown times, more good than you would think.

I live in a bubble of self. You may do too, and I do not judge you for it. But we need to contact other bubbles. In some case we can pop and merge – in others just bounce off each other. No matter which…as long as we can say our piece, state our case, tell our truth…we can stay sane. Others who read what we write may be pitched over the brink of madness, but you get that with most hobbies.