Allons, Enfants!

Let us now celebrate one of the best days of the year for democracy – a day when the downtrodden finally rose in arms and started to break the power that had always set its foot on their necks. Today is Bastille Day.

It was not a quick revolution nor a clean one – the real ones never are – but it was, by and large, a successful one. The old monarchy tried to return after the new upstart monarchy was defeated. Eventually both their powers petered out and people took more of their lives into their own hands.

They’ve been conquered since, and then liberated and have conquered in their turn, and are facing  more of it  – as all Europe does. But then Europe has always faced strife since before the Roman Empire – none of it is new.

I take comfort on Bastille Day in reading  Tom Paine’s ” The Rights Of Man ” and am inspired by our Marianne in the liberty cap. It is a good day for cheese and wine and paté.

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The Screech Of The We’re-Idiot

The Irish used to fear the screech of the banshee. So did the landing crews of the HMCS BONAVENTURE, but that was a slightly different matter. The wailing and unearthly sounds in both cases portended doom and disaster, but in the case of the Canadian aircraft carrier it was their jet squadrons landing back aboard…

Now we have a new fear to chill us in the night – the we’re-idiot who uses Facebook as a sounding board for their political and religious opinions. You may not hear them, but you see them, and the sight of yet another Anti-Trump rant or Millenial Moan is enough to drop the social temperature a good ten degrees.

We’re -idiot? Derived from the expression ” We’re outraged “.

It will only get worse – though I’m happy to say that the very worst of it will echo overseas. The American election will occupy the net for months and while our local were-idiots will foam and snarl, it will be as nothing to the exchanges in the USA. We’ll get the occasional echo here as the locals try to develop adequate outrage, but by and large it will be small stuff directed at a Prime Minister who is made of beige in a parliament that is painted taupe. We lack really savage causes, even though we do have some pretty classic savages.

The best we seem to be able to do lately is to foam about a football player who is a fundamentalist. Many of us do not care for his opinion nor for his attempts to collect sympathiser’s money, but then many of us do not care for the witch-hunt that has prompted this, either. We would be happy if he, his detractors, and his supporters were to take their money and their memes and go away. We will not pursue them.

 

I Apologise To All Whom the Guild Has Failed To Offend

It has been a busy season and some stations on the social railway have remained necessarily unattended. People have had to embarrass or insult themselves in the absence of trained staff members. The mental porters have not be available to help with the psychological baggage and passengers have had to lump it themselves.

With such a busy world – and so many people wanting to be angry and offended – the job of the Backstabbers Guild of Australia might be thought to be idyllic. A victim at every turn – treachery by the carton – coups to be struck all day. This is the case, of course, but we in the BGA  have to plead the limits of inhumanity. We can do only so much to worsen your lives. You really must learn to make yourselves miserable when we are not available.

Let us take simple case of a person – say an ordinary man or woman who is a pillar of the community – and ask whether we really need to exercise the full fury of the Guild on them – with attendant expenses and time needed. Would it not be better in 58.3% of cases to enable them to make fools of themselves, and save our efforts for the exceptional? I think it would be.

To this end we will be sending out BGA Paks to a wide range of households in Australia this coming winter. Each Pak will contain banana peels, metal caltrops spikes, mercaptan oil in breakable containers, and a handy guide to public embarrassment that will enable the recipients to produce their own regrettable incidents. As an added incentive to use the kits the Guild will include three free Golden Tickets per 1000 kits that entitle the lucky winners to nominate someone to be publicly humiliated, with the full compendium of Guild fiendishness.

It looks like a good winter.

Let Me Tell You…

a. What is wrong with you.

I know what it is, because it is the same thing wrong with me.

b. ANYTHING.

I have a Facebook account and so do you. I can post either the most outrageously false material or provable scientific truths and it’ll pop through on your screen just the same.

c. Everything. About my life, my lunch, and my love affairs. All the little intimate details that I dare not breathe for fear of scandal. I’ll just post them on social media.

You don’t want to know? But, Darling, you don’t understand. This is me I’m writing about…

d. Nothing.

e. Something to your advantage.

This is the classic phrase used in 18th century advertisements in the broadsheets when wicked lawyers wish to find victims for their plots. I know, because I have read novels written in that period. The advantage generally concerns a legacy or a mansion somewhere in the mist.

f. A story.

Once upon a time there was this columnist who reviewed social media every day. One of his late friends was a doctor in a VD clinic and he reviewed social connections every day too – long before the internet existed – and from a different angle. He had the advantage that they issued free rubber gloves.

From conversations with him many years ago I gathered that his opinion of the social behaviours he was called upon to peer at were much the same as the Facebook posts I read. They seemed, sometimes, to ooze…and not with life, either…

g. Goodbye. And a good day to you. I shall have one, in as far as it is in my power to make it for myself. You may choose to do likewise. It will only require a cheerful thought that rewards you or an evil one that succeeds undetected. I shall go cut fuses now…

Facebook’s Community Standards

Or Hold The Stainless Banner High…*

I’ve been scolded by Facebook for posting a story in my column that deals with scale model building – a story in 8 or more parts. It’s the history of the Royal Ruritanian Army Air Force and Facebook thinks it is spam. And says that it contravenes Facebook community standards.

I have to admit, it doesn’t contain:

a. Sneering memes about an American President or Australian Prime Minister.

b. Thoughts and prayers.

c. Sneering references to thoughts and prayers.

d. Cat videos.

e. Advertisements that have been paid for by businesses based upon my browser history.

f. Games that seek to find out people’s preferences so that the information can be sold to advertisers.

So, yes, my columns do not conform to Facebook community standards. If they did I should be deeply ashamed.

I wonder if Facebook is ever deeply ashamed…?

*   I was listening to the old Civil War song of this name…but I can’t be sure if the lyrics mentioned ” stainless ” or ” brainless “… which would explain a great deal about the current problem.

 

 

 

The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia Annual General Meetings

My forthcoming trip to Melbourne and Sydney will be enlivened this year -and I hope in every subsequent year – by the opportunity to conduct the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia Annual General Meetings in each city. I am preparing my address for each location.

The Guild was founded in Melbourne several decades ago and has flourished – so much so that backstabbers can be found in every state of Australia. The Perth AGM has languished for several years  but this will also be re-instituted. Given the boredom and despair – not to mention the red-hot anger and viciousness – that an AGM can generate for any society, the BGA ones are memorable.

I am planning, as Right Evil Bastard, to award medals of dishonour to several people. My chemist has assured me that the pins on the medals are tipped with curare. He was unable to obtain suitable amounts of ricin or polonium but fortunately he has a cousin from Brazil. I always think the organic poisons are the best for the environment, in any case.

In both Sydney and Melbourne I have authorised agents to book tables – a pizza restaurant is the traditional venue – and allowed them the freedom to round up the usual suspects. I am happy to say I expect the worst. If it is to be a German restaurant that would be wurst.

Will there be sadness? Will there be fear and horror? Will there be treachery and madness? Look at our name – it says it all.

Care for an invitation?

Do You Have To Take Your Own Paper Bag To A Sex Shop?

It’s been years since I visited a sex shop. The people who run our local one banned me from the premises after The Incident. I can understand their anger to a certain extent but those things should really have a warning on them if they are flammable.

As retail times have changed, and we are not allowed to get free plastic bags from our grocery stores ( Though we are allowed to pay for as many as we like…) I was wondering if this virtuous concern for the environment ( Supported by extensive memes conducted by the Facebook and Instagram Institute of Science …) extended to other retail trades. For instance:

a. Are we still allowed to take dubious goods out of the sex shop wrapped in discreet bags or are we going to be required to stride out of the place juggling whatever it is that has taken our fancy?

b. Are we going to be allowed to purchase anything that is wrapped in any sort of plastic? Are we going to have to take away rice in handfuls or yoghurt wrapped in newspaper.

c. Is petrol – that damaging and harmful chemical – going to be allowed?

d. Do we need to return old clothing to be permitted to buy new stuff? And if our clothing is not sufficiently worn-out, will we be sent home with a scolding?

e. If animals like cats and dogs are not naturally vegetarians or vegans and are harmed by trying to confine them to these human diets, will we establish a new range of animal-cruelty laws designed to ensure that Towser gets a bone or Tiddles gets some tuna? Or will we require the pet owners to turn Towser and Tiddles in to the Department of Diet for re-education. And if they prove recalcitrant  ( And I have a cat who could recalcitrant for Australia…) will they be liquidated by the state?

f. As most chemicals contain chemicals, can the practice of teaching chemistry in schools be banned. Is it not possible to go back to good old fire, air, water, and phlogistan?

In case you are afraid that people will not stan for this sort of ignorance, may I point to Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Rajastan, etc. They’ll stan for anything, apart from bacon.

g. As we are being told that we must consume less while producing more – and that our way of life depends simultaneously on cutting trade with China while buying more of their goods and selling them more of ours – is it possible that we are in the hands of economic as well as social and scientific idiots? Is this not yet another argument for replacing them with seers, wizards, and shamans?

h. Can we blame it on Trump and Scott Morrison? Okay, can we blame it on Brexit? Aw, come on, we have to blame it on someone and if you blame it on someone who is not white you are called a racist…