I wish to address my readership; friends, acquaintances, clients, and others who have been following my columns over the years. We have just survived a holiday period and entered into a new decade – the 2020’s – and I’d like to set matters straight at the beginning.
Firstly – if there is anyone who has been offended by anything I have written in the past decade – either here or in the commercial column I write – could they please contact me with details of the piece that caused the problem. Whatever it was – outrage, grief, melancholy, or a vague sense of unease – just give me a brief analysis of the thing.
It is very valuable to know when a raw point has been touched – a nerve pinched or a powder magazine exploded. It allows for repeated and accurate targeting and really efficient destruction. Rest assured that any information is kept in the strictest confidence until it has been on-sold and a receipt given. The BGA is nothing if not professional.
Likewise, there are going to be topics which the users of this column long to read about. We’re not going to provide the winners of the 3:40 from Kempton, obviously. But we may do so for a cut of the profits. And it will be just the same with other things – if you want to read about something, just let me know. Any information will be gratefully received. If there is any story you wish me to suppress, just see appendix A. for the price list. Silence is golden, but misleading statements and rumours can be had for silver and copper.
Finally, some politicians have been concerned that they have been represented in a bad light throughout the last decade – made to look foolish or criminal or tawdry. They feel that their reputations have been tarnished here in the column by the inference that they are vile.
Rest assured that is not the case – they are vile because of their behaviour and their reputations are non-existent. If anything, we’ve made them look better…refuting that old adage about not being able to polish a turd. You can indeed do it, but it’s still hard to find buyers…
Well, I got what I asked for this Christmas. A designer smarm bracelet.
It’s made of 100% recycled memes from the internet – political propaganda, passive-aggressive sneers and disguised bigotry. It’s got an adjustable catch and one size fits all.
Now I no longer need to be afraid that I won’t be able to sit with the cool kids at lunch. The smarm bracelet has something for every situation and all I need to do is turn it around on my wrist until the best snappy retort is uppermost and then wave it in front of my frenemies. If the brilliance of the charm doesn’t blind them, the jangling sound will deafen them. Either way I look like the winner.
And best of all, each meme is fastened with a clip that lets it come off. If it turns out that the fashionable opinion changes I can just get a new handful of buzz phrases and attach them. You can get the memes by subscribing to CNN and the ABC talk shows.
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?
- Truth. Where the “like ” is vague, the ” dislike ” is concrete.
- 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.
- 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…
For that matter, what do they do when they are finally clasted…as every icon eventually is. Milli Vanilli went down in flames after they only pretended to sing badly. Had they lip-synched to the ” Horst Wessel Lied ” it might have been a fair cop, but as it was, the outrage over their pop antics was a little silly. However, it was effective – they rarely perform on the stage anymore…
Currently we have no end of entertainment icons floating about. Some, who may have been connected to dodgy politicians or procurers, are paddling as fast as they can for the horizon in hopes that the furore will die down behind them before they are dragged back.
Some icons are up there in the limelight right now; virtuous, visible, and vociferous – still rising and trying for the crowning halo of television publicity. I suspect that many of them are hoping the negatives have been burnt, the files deleted, and the receipt books thrown into the harbour. Some, like Einstein, may become beloved memories. Some, Teller and Oppenheimer may not be so beloved. And some may not leave a memory at all.
That’s known as getting away with it.
* Practise her scowl.
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 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.
In the spirit of the pop-up quizzes that Facebook puts out on a regular basis, the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia is set to introduce a series of fun games that everyone can participate in. Are you ready? Got your thinking cap on?*
- What is your favourite food?
- What is your favourite colour?
- What is the log-in code to your bank account?
- How much money do you have?
- What is your security password ?
- When do you go on holiday?
- Where is the spare key for your house?
There. That wasn’t hard was it? And did you have fun?
We’ll be in touch…
* On yer arse…
Forget spirits. Forget vampires. Forget werewolves.
None of them are real. They’re just literary and cinematic devices to get money out of your pocket. But sit and quake with fear about the new haunting. For you will have brought it on yourself…as we all have.
You will have done it when you bought something from eBay. Or used Paypal. Or googled up an online store selling essential oils, crystals, and Krupp artillery fuses.You will have set in train a series of connections that will follow you forever – a ghost train, if you will. The advertisers who lurk in the fetid swamps of the internet will have risen in the miasma and infiltrated your life. They will now pop up everywhere.
You cannot exorcise them. You cannot buy them off. No sacrifice you make will banish them. They are going to pursue you long after the vengeful Furies have let you off the hook. They do not seek your brains, or your soul. They seek your money.
How can you get release? How can you find peace? What can save your sanity?
Just send $ 39.95 to this address in a plain, sealed envelope and the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia will send the envelope straight back to you. It will miraculously be empty, and you can fill it up again. And for a brief period, no-one will try to sell you fidget spinners or pictures of Justin Trudeau in costume. It will be like Heaven, except Heaven is harder to get into than the BGA.
You know it’s the right thing to do.