On the national civic* day – 26th of January – we had become accustomed in the past few years to being bombarded by ambitious politicians, academics, and advertisers for their various purposes. In many cases this was driven by lust for power and money. At least when the CWA and local kindergarten were involved.
Then there was a spate of excoriating those with European background for not being Australian enough. Or for being British. Every sin and misery for the past two hundred -odd years was seeded home to the Dreadful British and compensation demanded. Compensation, guilt, and obeisance. If you couldn’t manage the guilt and obeisance, at least cough up the money…the lawyers had sent in their bill.
Arrived late? Not British? Never had a hand in oppressing anyone? No matter. As long as you had money they’d let you on the tumbril.
This year it seemed to be different. Very few ambitious local councillors fronted the television cameras weeping. Few calls for the scrapping of the day emerged, and those that were repeated came from the established disestablishment. Most people seemed set to do their citizenship ceremonies, watch the fireworks, get drunk and sunburned, and let it go at that.
My local hobby club even garnered an award from the city of Bayswater for not being as dangerous as they might have been. I shall share in the honours as long as there is cake and coffee involved.
* The national military day is later in the year and it will have it’s own set of special detractors – though oddly enough there will be many of the same names bitching about the past then as do now.
Enshrine that name in your memory. Bookmark him on your computer. Read his quotes. One of which is:
” Never miss a chance to shut up. ”
I need to read this every day – early. I had a recent experience of being in the company of someone who should have done so too. It was a good lesson to watch from a distance. Out of hearing is a very good distance…
But enough of this. I wish to propose a paraphrase to Will’s advice – if his shade will let me. Consider ” Never miss a chance to be excluded “. Actually, if Will had said it it would probably have been ” Never miss a chance to be ignored “. A little different feeling, but just as good.
Being excluded is a wonderful thing. It posits there being something or someone that doesn’t want you, and that means they don’t want you for a reason. Now there’s a story behind that reason – all of a sudden you have a mystery to enquire into.
Of course some things are not a mystery – a black person applying to join the local chapter of the KKK doesn’t have to wonder too much why they send his application form back with a curt rejection. That same man applying to join a London club and receiving a rejection – probably phrased in more gentlemanly terms – does indeed have a mystery and might be able to set an enquiry afoot. And then all hell may break loose.
Being excluded from a social circle is also an intriguing thing, and generally rewards investigation. Be careful what you look for, however, and who and what you ask, because there’s a danger that some fool might reconsider and invite you in. Then you’re sunk.
On a romantic note, who knows how many people have been rendered happy during their later years by rejection of an early suit and exclusion from someone’s home? They sometimes find out much later when they see what the former loved one has become. Then they will be wise if they follow Mr. Roger’s original advice.
In short, when someone tells you to go away because you are not wanted, take the opportunity to leg it. The world is wide and there are plenty of other things to do.
Are you bored? Is the pace of daily life getting you down? Has all the Zip gone out of your Zipcode? Well do what trend-setting modern royalty do – hyphenate your name!
You don’t even have to actually be connected to a royal family – or a noble one – or any family whatsoever. In fact, if you have barred your door to all your relatives, hyphenating your name can be a fun way of sniping at them from cover.
Heretofore the hyphenated name was used by European nobility to notify their peasants that two groups of overlords were combining by marriage and that revolution was a bad idea because now there were two lots of armed guards on call. It worked well, and social media influencers ( aka priests and scribes ) were paid to insist that this gave greater dignity and legitimacy to the ruling classes.
It became such a sign of status that lower-born types also decided to adopt it. In Great Britain it became somewhat of a rage in the Victorian era as newly-rich landowners and ironmasters lumped together whatever surnames they had been given to make new imperial ones. The advent of Wilhelmine Germany and the realisation by the British ruling monarchy that that was, indeed, their circus and those were, indeed, their monkeys, led to the Anglicisation of Battenburg to Mountbatten and the brigading of the thing to the location of one of the castles – Windsor. Largely a public relations move, it was probably unnecessary as the British could have been counted on to die for the Manchester Board of trade or the London Stock Exchange just as well.
But what of today? If you have a reasonably presentable name like Smith and have contracted marriage or a social disease with a person named Jones you may apply to a magistrate to have it changed to a joint Smith-Jones….though the beak will probably smile at your folly. Don’t smile back. If you have a perfectly reasonable Indian name like Bhattacharyya and fall in love with a Finkleberg you can also brigade up the two but expect a louder guffaw from the magistrate. And from everyone else. Humans can be like that.
So ask yourself….
Will your new surname be a help to you in life? If you expect it will gain you admission to the Old Boy network if you are not one…no. The Old Boys and Old Girls know their own and guard the compound gates zealously.
Will it look well on a book cover? ” Tales Of Death And Bloodletting For The Shut-in ” will sell well in Japan but you need a local author’s name as part of it – consider marrying a Japanese person.
Will you be forever leaning over a clerk’s counter correcting their spelling of it? Wladislxvch Wczyzchchev-Prmzelyic led a life of hell when he moved to the Dutch East Indies…
Finally, think through your amours carefully before the first button is undone. If your surname is Getts and hers is Tuft, you would do well to shake hands now and part before morning.
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…
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.
I have no idea why I do these things…except I am too old for playing truant to march to parliament house to see if I can get my picture on the news broadcast. Were I younger I would be at the barricades…selling half-bricks…
Anyway, I looked up ” noble ” in the computer’s internal dictionary. It divided the information into two parts:
a. A member of an aristocratic system of government.
b. A good or superior form of anything – a tree, a person, a metal…
I think I’m reading a crock. As far as I can tell, the nobles and royalty everywhere are no different from the common herd of sinners, except in having more opportunity to practice abominations and a get-out-of-trouble bloodline that they can flash at the police when they get caught. Nobility would seem to be anything but good and superior.
Yet, we are stuck with them. The worship of the King, Emperor, Sheik, Sultan, or whomever is carefully taught and rigorously enforced by the people in whose interest s it is to be obeyed. Solemn oaths of fealty are demanded, even when the people to whom loyalty is to be given are vile. I’m stuck with one oath myself, contracted for in 1970 when I became and Australian citizen. The ” Heirs and Assigns ” clause and so on.
I am going to get as much advice as I can about the effect of the Australia Act of 1989 and whether it legally absolves me of having to be obedient to the coming king, his sleazeball brother, or any of the other choices that are on the platter. I don’t mind being loyal, faithful, and law-abiding to a mythical construct, but let it be a figurehead rather than some other portion of the body…
I have a friend who forges many things. And unlike the ordinary common trickster, he uses an actual forge. I think that this should attract a stronger penalty in the law – after all he is using up bottled gas and charcoal and other valuable resources to do this forging. Also making a great deal of noise.
I also know other friends who utter things. In some cases they utter them all day long, and would probably be capable of doing so under wet cement. I cannot understand why they are not taken up by the police and jailed.
For myself, the only false document that I have ever seen resulted in beer. Coors beer, as it happened, and that would probably be considered a crime in itself – at least against the taste buds.
I have gone undetected and unpunished until now. I have no need of suspect documents to buy beer at the local Liquor Barons shop as the man there knows me. He would probably peer suspiciously if I bought expensive things, but as long as he is prepared to sell vin ordinaire for $ 5 a bottle I am safe. Connoisseurs and foreigners may quail at $ 5 plonk but Australian vineyards are not that bad.
This whole topic has arisen with news reports that a number of the members of the British Royal family may not be all they seem. There is a suspicion that at least one of them has been substituted for Paul McCartney and that many of the pound notes that Her Majesty has been passing down the local Tesco’s have been hand-drawn selfies…