Experience Is No Substitute For Righteousness!

And don’t you forget it, Grandad. Don’t try that old business about having seen it all before just because you did actually see it all before. If I didn’t think of it after watching YouTube, it doesn’t count.

And don’t try rolling your eyes at me, old man. None of that senior sarcasm or you’ll be sent to your room with no supper. Wait? What do you mean it’s your food? Just because you’ve paid for it and cooked it and served it at your own table doesn’t mean you have a right to enjoy it if I disapprove. There are principles involved and the main one is I am young and right and you are old and wrong. And I am the judge of it all…I’ve got the internet.

And in a few years I’ll be able to vote and drink beer and smoke cigarettes and get the dole and post angry memes on social media whenever I want to. I got rights.

” You’re Behind The Times “

Wait. Does that mean I’m not up to date with the current memes and buzz words? Or that I’m actually responsible for the world’s political and economic mess?  Make yourself clear.

It’s certainly true to say that I look with fondness upon the manners and mores of previous generations. And in some cases that goes a long way back. I’m not going to say I support slavery or witch burning, but I do like the idea of following the basic structure of Georgian England…as long as I can be upper or middle class. I should make a decent gentleman… if I could get the wool.

As far as being party to the latest on-trend socially-influenced electronic micro-meme, I must regretfully decline. I have seen the things that the social media put up as hip, hep, and high fashion and I really want none of them. So little actually resonates with life and good manners. I don’t deny social media writers the right to be crass, stupid, and ridiculous, but I refuse to reward them with praise for it. Be foul, but be prepared to be called out.

I’ve tried living in the past before – wearing the clothing of long-dead periods and sometimes even practicing the manners of the past. Most of it didn’t succeed – but there was always a core of good behaviour that was timeless. Stick to that and every age, as well as every culture, is open to you.

Note: As far as being guilty of whatever new social crime you would like to invent, I not only refuse to plead, but I refuse to even consider you to be an accuser, let alone judge. Do yourself a favour and don’t attract my attention. You wouldn’t like me when I am kind…

The Grass Is Greener…

And the days are longer and the people are better and the government is kinder and…

If you live in Australia or North America you will probably have noticed that life is always lived better in places that you are far away from. I most cases these are European places, and tend to be the parts of Europe where you will probably never go. The culture is richer, the people are better, and the political system is far grander than on your own benighted patch of ground.

This is no new phenomenon – it has been the constant message from any number of media presenters for decades. At one time the more desirable places were the Greek islands or tiny towns in Tuscany. Now they seem to be Iceland or Finland or Sweden. Really, they could be anywhere that you’re not likely to have actually visited…because then you might begin to suspect that it is a load of hooey.

Oh, I’m not saying these places are not wonderful for their residents, but the superiority that they are credited with in 2020 doesn’t seem consistent with what they were in 1920, 1940, or later. Had they been such paradises of human delight, the tens of thousands of European emigrants that sailed to Australasia and North America would have stayed home in the first place.

The attempt to sell a culture with propaganda is one thing…the attempt to sell a cultural cringe is another. It was tried in Australia in the 40’s and 50’s and didn’t fly.

By all means tell us of the wonderful traditions of the scandahoovians but try not to invent too many of them as you go along.

Playing The Game For Dislikes

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the other electronic three-card monte games have one thing in common*. They reward you with the ” likes” of other subscribers. As you are human, you grow to desire more of these likes…and you put more of yourself out there to gain them.

Sometimes you succeed – and there are a number of websites and blogs that teach you just what to write to stimulate the flow.  And ou can pay people to boost your likes.

I think this is a little like paying people to twiddle your knobs. You get the knobs twiddled but that’s your joy – theirs is the money you part with. It’s a trade-off to get off. Just don’t expect a receipt that will satisfy the Tax Office…

I propose to start an instruction course  – through the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia, of course  – to help social media users get a more valuable feedback – the ” dis” like. I don’t know if there’s a special symbol that the readers press to indicate this, but there are plenty of the little emoji signs that can serve. We want to get a healthy stream of disapproval started.

I’m sure there is a need for it – else why would we see such a fuss about the American presidency or the latest popular cult figure. There is a deep wellspring of complaint in most people on the computer and we can tap into that. But what do we, as  social writers, get from this?

  1. Truth. Where the “like ” is vague, the ” dislike ” is concrete.
  2. Information. The advertisers of the social media scene are adept at flying target sleeves and seeing who fires at them. We can do the same with our posts. The respondent who screams bloody murder tells us where their sensitivities lie, and we can make use of that.
  3. Echoes. Everything we post, the Great Ghostly Algorithm marks down and sometimes connects to others’ writings. Most often these are just as bad as our own but sometimes you get lucky and find a good writer. Then you can pinch their work.

You never know who your friends are…but you can make sure of your enemies.

*  Actually they have a lot in common and I suspect that includes the owners and the scam advertisement writers. Wanna invest in a bitcoin top that spins forever on tea-tree oil in a Queensland time-share? I could know a bloke…

 

The Grammar Fascist

We’ve all seen the memes that berate people by calling them ” Grammar Nazis “. Presumably there are also ” Grammar Fascists ” and ” Grammar Communists “. Possibly ” Grammar Democrats ” and ” Grammar Monarchists ” as well. I accept them all – the class of mankind that really makes my skin crawl are the ” Grammar Anarchists “. The people who deliberately fracture the language to show off their cleverness.

Or perhaps that should be ‘ there clevrnes ‘. Or was Cleverness where they based the submarines? Must look that up.

Any sentence that you read…or have read out to you by the magistrate…should be easy and merciful. No pained expressions – no miserable contractions – no jargon or acronymical garbage. The CEO of the AIIGRIMAS was adamant about this, as was Stuart Goddard; if anyone had a right to the attitude, it was Stuart.

I’ve just finished washing the taste of a Facebook post out of my mind and wondered if I should ask for three previous convictions to be taken into account. The post was from a very sweet and kindly person who was trying to grapple with ‘their’ and ‘there’. Unsuccessfully, as it happened, though I am grateful that the message did not have to involve the contraction of ‘they are’…I fear it might have been infinitely worse.

If anyone corrects it, I’ll bet they’ll be accused of being overbearing. Yet, a person matured in the use of the English language should know how to use the three words correctly.

” Does it matter? ” I hear you say.

” Yes, it does. “, you hear me reply. We live in our language – wear it as a garment, if you will. There is no need to cut holes in it an then display them. We can clean what we say and mend what we write. Our communication need not be drab or uniform – it can certainly be colourful – but it must be well-tailored to what we need to say.

Privileged Misinformation

Also known as the luxury lie. The sort of news that you get when you pay a premium and can demand to be told what you want to hear.  Sound good? Well you’ve come to the right people. Pull up an overstuffed chesterfield and light up a sofa…or is it the other way round? No matter – if you’ve got money you can smoke any sort of furniture you like.

Of course the opposite does apply if you wish cheap out and just follow the broadcast news or use the free app on your tablet. In that case we select the lies and bias and you get what we give you. Don’t worry – it will be fast paced and there will be bright colours. You can be outraged and seduced at the same time…frequently by the same news. You will not have to spend a lot of time thinking about issues as we will provide the opinion we wish you to espouse. All you have to do is stay ready to erupt into the street demanding whatever we tell you to want.

The middle-of-the-road news consumer may be left out a little in the division of the media. The old-fashioned newspaper and magazine are becoming harder to sell and harder to buy. The articles contain less thought and more emotion than before and frequently it’s somewhat delayed. The really fresh stupidity has already flitted through the mobile phone and tablet networks.

Note: putting aside the fake news and disastrous internet social groups is also an option but one taken by very few. You can tell who has gone that route by observing their street verge. if they’ve put all the televisions, computers, and internet devices out there for council collection it’s a sign that they would prefer happy to woke. If it’s not even council collection week you’re dealing with a hard core old-school thinker.

 

Thanksgiving Outrage In Britain, Europe, and Australasia

Facebook commenters all around the world are gearing up to be outraged at people in the United States this coming November 28th as the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Special scorn memes are being written for use whenever the poster’s attention score drops.

Of course there will be lots of them that target the American President for calumny, but that is pretty well a constant throughout the year. There will be any number of sneering and pious ones that mention pilgrims and the native tribes, but funnily enough the pilgrims will be the only ones held up to ridicule. The day will draw fire from the religiously-inclined as well as the opposite camp. One thing you can be sure of – if it is American, it’s going to be judged wrong…

Yet.

Yet Canada – that other North American plot of land – also celebrated a Thanksgiving day on October 14th. And no-one raised a peep about it – perhaps the crafty Canucks sneaked it in while people were looking the other way or were preparing to be culturally outraged about Halloween and Trick Or Treat… maybe people were just sympathetic to Canada for suffering another Trudeau Election and decided to give them a bye this time.

I’m thankful all the time – I go to sleep in warm bed and wake up each morning. I eat and drink my fill. I read whatever I like and build toy airplanes every day. The only part of this that makes me nervous is the thought that Facebook commentators will batten upon me and become outraged. I can’t decide whether I should pay more attention to them…or less.