Who amongst us has not enjoyed strapping explosives to the rails of the local transport system, leading the detonating wires back to a hillside, and then calmly turning the handle just as the 5:32 Express roared over the viaduct. For myself, I like nothing more than this and a warm dinner to follow – cooked if possible over the flames of the sleeping carriages.
Of course you can only do this sort of thing a half-dozen times before you get something of a reputation. That, and you run out of viaducts. You need to do something different for a thrill. This is where writing vicious little pieces for the internet comes in handy. You may choose social media memes and posts, savage websites, or…and this is the one I like…a daily web column.
You can be as cheerful bright, kindly, vitriolic, cynical, or vague as you like. You are without an editor, but are honour-bound to perform that function before you publish. And as editor/publisher you can as readily bin your material as you can broadcast it. Therein lies the salvation of the sanity.
I regularly write what you don’t read. It is sometimes maudlin, sometimes horrific. Sometimes very funny. The pieces that make their way to the billboard are good, but the tatters in the bin can sometimes be better. They are never discarded for being boring – rather they are suppressed for being hurtful. Oddly enough, I do consider the emotions of others and spare them if it can be decently done.
It was not always so. I have published and been damned before and felt bad for it. No-one died from my wit but no happiness sprang from it, either. So now I make it a habit to write scathingly salty criticisms and biting little essays and send them to the trash. I can vent steam without scalding the thin-skinned.
One vital precaution: I always empty the electronic trash and make sure no-one paws through it. In the old days of crumpled paper letters left unattended, neglect of this simple precaution cost me dearly. I’ve learned.
Or were you just subject to an unexpected attack of honesty?
I note you shared a piece of cheap political propaganda that used an image recalling Hitler to express your dislike for Donald Trump. It was not your artwork, but you seized upon it to shrill your opinion nevertheless.
I’m afraid it was…how shall we say…blatant. There was little subtlety in it. It was crass. it was cheap. It was propaganda done on the OGPU/ NSDAP model. It was unworthy of you. And of me.
I have no particular regard for Mr. Trump. Or Mr Xi. Or either of the Mr. Trudeaus. But I do have regard for my social media connection. I wish it to be intelligent and cheerful – the reflection of the social connection that one might find at a decent cocktail party. Not the howling swill-swirl of a propaganda meeting.
You’ve a month to spend your spleen and come back clean. I’ll look again in 30 days. If you appear to be the same you may walk off the property permanently.
When someone wants to mock you, to offend you, and to try to pressure you into an angry response, they will very often make a number of foolish errors. How you respond to these can make all the difference.
a. Direct insult in a private place is best answered by either direct insult or genuine laughter. it’s not often that you are overcome with the second, but when it comes, let it flow. The look of horror on the face of the other person is priceless.
b. Direct insult in a public place is best answered with a dog whip across the face of the miscreant ( throw the contaminated thing away afterwards ) or again by genuine laughter. Or you can maintain a stony and complete silence and ignore the ranter – they will try harder and eventually exile themselves from any public approval.
c. Facebook insult is harmless, and can be treated with witticism and lighthearted banter. This may charm the insulter and convert them to a genuine friend. When you next meet you have a chance to dog-whip them.
e. Extraordinary efforts to mock or offend – performances that go beyond the mere side-comment – should be treated as theatre. Applaud them between movements. Encourage others to join you. Sing along with the chorus. Ask for a CD. Shout ” Encore “.
You do not need to make your detractor look foolish in the eyes of other people – all you need to do is make them look foolish in their own eyes. Then close the scene on that note and they will gnaw their own hearts out ever after.
f. Some mockery is deserved. If you perceive it to be, acknowledge it to be so, thank to perpetrator publicly, and offer to shake their hand. 95% of them will refuse, and then will appear to be ill-mannered brutes. This scenario actually raises you in the eyes of the spectators.
g. Some mockery is beneath contempt. Racialism, religious attack, sectarianism…all come into this category. Also any reference to physical distresses or financial circumstances. Just ignore it as you would the sound of someone flaying themselves with their own set of steak knives.
Have you ever stopped to think of the company who supplied the South African Police Service with leather szambok whips during the time of apartheit?
I’ll bet it was done to a government contract and may well have been let out to competitive tender. The quality of the whips would have been specified and samples tested to make sure they could cause the correct amount of pain. The number of black people whips delivered would have been correct before the Police authorised payment. Further down the track there would have been correct payment made to the South African Taxation Department on the profits of the contract. A thoroughly ethical transaction.
Now why don’t we see advertisements on the net today for this company and their products? I’ll bet they are still in use in South Africa and there must be many people in Australia who would welcome one in their workplace right now; schoolteachers and office managers, for instance. If they could be assured that these whips were ethically sourced it would make everything okay.
Gotta go, but keep thinking about this when next you see an advertiser use the bait of ” ethically sourced ” for some foodstuff or cosmetic they wish to sell. Remember that ethics can be a cracking thing…
Congratulations. You read that headline and had the courage to continue down the page. You’re like the expendable guy in the horror movie who goes into the dark kitchen as the music starts…
Leaving the cake aside until tea time, have you noticed how many of your social media contacts want you to approve and vote for political leaders they love? And how they want you to disapprove of and refrain from voting for the ones they hate? And how they have decided that every single day is election day in your computer?
Isn’t it all getting to be a spare crack in your ass? Don’t you want some relief from them pressuring you? Well you can do something about it, and now is the time to start.
a. Make enquiries to find out which electorate your Facebook friend is in. Then ask them which polling station they normally go to, and at what time of the day.
b. On Election Day turn up at their house and offer to accompany them to that polling station. Or wait there for them.
c. When they approach the station start talking loudly to them about the candidate you wish them to vote for. If they become angry offer to buy their vote. Do this in the hearing of the returning officer.
d. When they go into the little cardboard booth, elbow them aside, snatch the tiny pencil from them and vote above the line…for their candidate. If you’re loud enough and fast enough you can get that paper into the box before the returning scrutineers descend upon you.
e. Tell the cops that your friend made you change your vote.
You’ll go in front of a magistrate and pay a fine, of course, but you will have had value for money. After your Facebook friend de-friends you, tell all your shared friends that you really are the best of pals in real life. And that you are going to go to every election together.
I noted a refrigerated van in the forecourt of my local grocery shop had a sign painted on the side:
” Family Owned Business ”
The sign went on further to tell us to buy our meats from the owners because…because… they were related to each other. It’s not the only time I’ve seen this appeal to the customers using the familial dodge. Well, lemme tell you something folks…
Jesse and Frank James ran a family business, and didn’t the railroads know it.
So did the Borgias. Care to stay for dinner?
The fact that the employees of a business are related by blood, spit, snot, or shit does not guarantee that the products of that firm are good. In fact it raises a number of mouth-drying questions:
a. If the goods produced are crook, who has the courage to go to Uncle Reg or Daddy Bob and complain – or to peach on other family members?
b. If the result is a coverup and the whole thing is a sell, who has the courage to take it elsewhere?
c. Who deals with the shops and how many times does money change hands, and in which direction?
d. Who’s knifing whom in the family to be the next ruler? That’ll tell you whether the goods are going to be the same as they were. When they plan to do it will tell you when the prices are going to rise.
It shows the degree of time that different states feel that someone might influenced by the amount of uncertainty ( adjusted for the Reichsholz factor in the northern hemisphere ) by present trends. No data was available from Swaziland so a tonally biased exterpolation was used.
If you are concerned by this graph contact your state office of anxiety and ask to speak to a trained alienist. Callers from Roswell, New Mexico will be charged only for a local call.
And there we have the current state of play in the media game. If you came in during the last quarter you’ll have seen that there has been a rise in the number of people throwing old pizza boxes into the trash. As this has not resulted in a sufficient rise in the sales of newspapers*, sterner measures will be imposed. The bar graphs may have to be shut and reopened with plexiglass shields between the X and Y axes.
* We mean the sales of newspapers to the public for a coupla bucks…not the sales of the things to other newspaper proprietors. That never stops.
Heading Image: Nothing to do with viruses. Just the Iranian navy firing at an excursion steamer.