Fools At My Fingertips

I used to have to go out to get my folly. The pub, the club, the workplace. It involved putting on clean clothes and making sure I had a handkerchief. This routine meant I was presentable, but the daily run of life involved a lot of travelling – it was hard on the car.

Now that I’m retired I need not spend petrol or patience in the rush hours and I can keep the same gooey handkerchief until it cannot be refolded…but the disadvantage is that I do not see people. So I miss out on my share of the follies of mankind.

Thank goodness for the internet fake news, and Facebook. ( Oops, I may have stuttered there, listing Facebook and fake news as separate items. In all conscience, I do believe them to be the same thing. ) By subscribing to the Zukerberg Broadcasting Corporation’s view of the world I can have a screen full of nonsense any time of the day or night. Much of it implicates my friends, and all of it is food for very little thought. It is the sort of entertainment that suggests the need for an S-bend in the internet router.

Oddly enough, the other sites I visit on the internet are not like this – I patronise cartoonists, photography sites, car forums, and YouTube videos that have to do with scale model building. Some of this material is crudely done, but none of it is untrue. Very little of it is bigoted or puerile. And I am not required to befriend anyone to benefit from it – or risk their wrath if I turn away.

I have made a little list for myself of people on my Facebook friends list for whom I would mourn if they were run down by a Swiss Post bus in the mountains. It is not all the people on my friends page by any means and every so often another name is pencilled out. I am not de-friending any more, but I have paid $ 869 to install an ALTP* filter in the incoming line. It seems value for money.

*  Avoid Like The Plague

 

 

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The Royal Wedding

I’ve been watching the social media site Facebook for the last few days and noted a number of people saying that they are not interested in the Wedding of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle. They’ve taken time out of their day to do this, thus suggesting that they are, indeed, interested.

So they should be. It is a real event for the two young people and staged in such an open fashion as to enable all to see what is happening. There is enough drama of the good old-fashioned kind to satisfy all, and no-one need feel sad at the end of it.

Indeed, just the opposite. A cheerful union of two people from different countries, with the reasonable prospect of them having enough to eat, a place to live, a chance to do their jobs, and perhaps even have children. I cannot think of a better antidote for the sadness, the tragedy, and the politics of the world – and I would wish the same happiness for any of my Facebook friends who have seen it.

 

Feeling For The World Is Not the Same…

It is not the same as feeling with the world, nor is it the same as feeling at the world. Let me explain.

Note: It isn’t about feeling at all. Put feeling out of your mind – unless you want to feel. It is about how you live your own life in relation to everyone else.

A. If you feel for the world you act to please other people – but you act to please them in expectation of some reward. The reward might be income, plaudits, interest, trophies…all legitimate things, but all really a fee that you hope to earn with your feeling. ( It’s not about feeling unless you want to feel. )

The greatest danger to you is if you do not please the world and they do not reward you. You don’t get the job, you don’t win the prize, you don’t get a good review…the only thing that is left to you is guilt and despondency.

The second greatest danger is if you do win the approval, job, prize, love…if that occurs you are a bought body. They have you, and you cannot break free without condemning yourself to…guilt and despondency. You might as well feel bad early and get used to it.

B. If you feel with the world you are a marvel of sympathy. Everyone can demand this emotion of you and everyone will get it – until eventually you are ready to kill the next person you see. Extreme empathy is as dangerous as nerve gas or Lewisite, but without giving you that warm fuzzy feeling. Once you start to be compassionate for everything that comes onto your computer or television screen you will be marked as a mark. And it can mark you for life.

You will receive the most appallingly crass machine-made letters in the post asking for money for undefined orphans in ill-conceived places. The only thing that will really relate to you is your name and address, and you may have given this over in an entry to a supermarket contest. No amount of money will be refused but no amount of money is ever enough. You are connected by your own hand to a financial milking machine and until you throw off the suckers you will have extremely sore teats.

C. If you feel at  the world – defy it and dare it to do its worst – you can  sure that it will take notice of you and diligently fulfill that request.

The internet will be your court and the trolls will be your judge and jury. Anything you do will be laughed at ( unless you are a stand-up comedian ) and you will be mocked mercilessly. Memes will be drawn and written and shared – and they may not even be funny memes. You’ll have to wear it, because if you don’t…you’ll be pilloried as a bad sport. if you acquiesce you’ll be pilloried as a coward.

Try to get a pillory with a padded seat, as you’ll be there a long time. Get used to the sound of derisive laughter and the feel of squishy tomatoes hitting you in the head.

So. What to do?

Well, I was going to suggest that you feel your way along – being sympathetic to real people for real reasons…and not really caring if they can ever repay you. And that you still rage against things you feel are wrong – but don’t feel bad when your desire for change or justice or revenge or a dry pair of socks is not fulfilled. And that you feel for your wallet and   make sure that it is still there while feeling for the bin – and that’s where the dodgy charity letters can go.

But I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that. I’ll need to log into Feelbook and see what I’m supposed to feel.

PS: Also a good idea to feel around behind you for a good big rock, occasionally.

 

I Think Of You As A Good Person

But I’ve been wrong about these things before…

I try. I really do try. Every day I attempt to have a good opinion of the people I meet. Some days are successful days and some days are just…well…days. But the good news is I am prepared to reset the mechanism at midnight and re-consider your character in the morning.

This means that in many cases you will have a chance to do better – to appear kinder and more intelligent and more honest than on previous occasions. And each time you do, it will raise you in my estimation. You may reach a plateau – like a level in a video game – that means each thing you do is going to earn you extra psychic points. This is wonderful, and eventually you may get to the point where you turn into a princess or a prince and the golden moneybags start to appear on the screen.

Conversely, every time you foist something on me via Facebook that has been supplied by the latest fake news source, you drop down a notch. Please be aware: there are only so many notches before we reach rock bottom.

In case this sounds really arrogant…well it is. It’s part of the mechanism that I employ to navigate through the world. So far I have hit remarkably few rocks and shoals and I’m willing to attribute this to the personal cynicism about which you are reading. As long as I keep it inside, it is not going to do you any more harm than you deserve. If you behave as a lady or a gentleman should, you will be treated as such.

And we will have a successful day.

Note: Unfortunately this sort of philosophy requires me to be a good person as well. It is annoying, but there you are. You can’t make omelettes without breaking expensive kitchen utensils.

 

Throwing Up On Facebook

I have friends who throw up on Facebook. It is possible that they also throw up on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram – users of social media often have multiple receptacles available to them. This is a great convenience – they might not be at home or near a work computer when something overcomes them.

Of course, no one has ever solved the age-old mystery of where the tomatoes and sweet corn come from ( I didn’t eat either of those – I only had 14 pints of ale…) but that is rarely a problem on social media. The really peculiar thing is where people get the stuff they do ” share “…

Oh, wait. I may have given you the wrong impression. I wasn’t talking about emesis. I was talking about the racist, nationalist, sexist, and political material that is posted daily. The half thought half-thought-through that nevertheless  appears repeatedly. Talk about things coming up again…

I’d normally just step round the stuff if it was on the footpath in front of the kebab shop. As it is I can make it go away with two clicks of the computer mouse…and I am starting to realise that I can do that a lot these days. Suggested posts that are thinly veilled information fishing exercises are one thing that go out immediately. I know nothing and tell less.

Then the Trump posts. None of the people I know  who throw up anti-Trump memes have any connection to the United States, to the Presidency, or to Mr. Trump. Their shared memes and snarky comments are irrelevant. Gone.

Then the vagaries. I am bad at guessing games and worse when the games are psychological. I cannot imagine what some of the posters are on about – the only clear message that comes through is that there is no clear message. I can get that by turning the radio dial a quarter inch to the left off-station.

I do pause at cats and dogs. They can stay, as can hot rod cars and panda bears. I do also study semi-official posts that ask me to look out for a missing person – though I do wish that when a person is found that someone will also notify us of that.

And I am a sucker for domino races or improbable collections of mechanical operations that eventually turn on a popcorn maker. The engineering students with nothing to do for three days are always good for a laugh.

So Who Knew, Zealand…

I have just been looking at Facebook and apparently there is a problem occurring within the cartographic world – New Zealand is being left off world maps. And some people who live in New Zealand are distressed about it. This is all very wrong.

The people in New Zealand should be overjoyed. Being left off the world map is wonderful. If they play their cards right they can be left off any number of world charts – the ones that enroll them in bogus UN-ternational organisations for a start. The ones that seek to tell them how to live their lives in their own country for another. The ones that look for natural resources to exploit. The ones that want charity money to distribute amongst the tinpot* rulers of the world.

Exclusion from these lists is like a dream come true. What a blessed relief.

God send that they are able to opt out of the Commonwealth, the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Anti-Hegemonist World Socialistic People’s Church of the Kims, and any other grasping, seething, load of horseshit that comes along. They have already been politically snippy to America, and we look forward  to them turning their tiny little sights on us next. They’ll close the consulates and evacuate the Kiwis from NSW. Possibly on canoes.

For my NZ readers – some of whom are friends –  do not take this badly. I do not wish to drive you weeping to the shore and throw you into the sea. You are wonderful people and as long as you keep your cans of Toheroa soup to yourselves you are welcome to stay. If you want to can something, can the haka.

*  I nearly wrote shithole, but apparently that is subject to copyright.

The Experiments – Part Four – Final

The heading image placed on this last experimental page is a conventional representation of a one of the flags of the Confederate States of America in the 1860’s. Recently it has become the centrepiece in a storm of controversy in the United States and has been used in a number of deplorable political and criminal acts, as well as for theatrical presentations.

It was also an extremely small part of an image on a weblog column dealing with die-cast toy cars – fuzzy and pixellated though it was, I suspect it triggered a mechanism in Facebook that blanked the image. I determined to see how that mechanism operated. The previous three posts on this column ( go back and read them ) detail the experimental means I employed to see if the thing could be set off again.

If we don’t see an image up there on Facebook today – or if it’s a generalized image of my studio card – we’ll know the trigger mechanism is the entire, coloured, detailed pattern. Every other combination has been ignored. If you do see the flag pattern, then the whole episode was just a flash in the social media pan.

The flag pattern won’t be shown again – not for political or moral reasons – but because it is just not relevant to life and thought here in Australia. And that may be a hard thing for anyone in North America to accept…that this is another part of the world with people who lead other lives. The distresses that the North Americans encounter or engender within their own borders are theirs to deal with amongst themselves. To put it succinctly – it’s none of my business.

Readers can be as proud or as ashamed – as busy or as idle – as high or as low as they wish. No need to howl at me with either rage or approval – my opinion on North American matters is not relevant. The only thing you might care to do is to share some thoughts:

If you can’t see an 1860’s flag on the top of a Facebook post…what other things are you not permitted to see? What price constitutional amendments or bills of rights ? Who decides the let and hindrance of your life?