Class Antagonism

New phrase to you?

It was to me until a chance posting on Facebook introduced it . I suspect the cartoon that used the words was written closer to Pyongyang than Seoul, but it’s hard to tell these days. The person who ” shared ” the post may well be in the know. I’m frightened to ask in case I get a dialectic up my nose.

It looks as though the dear old communist ideology is still being pressed upon the masses, though other dear old ideologies are frowned upon. And the brainwash departments are still very much in business. It’s gone a bit past the poster columns and agitprop trains but they know that they still have a wide audience for ” virtuous socialism ” amongst the disaffected. I’ll bet the campuses are still packed with the true believers who are ready to shout down anyone else.

Are there nests of right wingers in opposition to the red end of the spectrum? I have noted the occasional one on Facebook, but not to the same extent. Are there secret societies? Are the beer halls still putsching?

Perhaps it’s time to start pushing the buttons; hide, unfollow, defriend, spam alert, etc. I can get all the scolding I want from physical friends and identifiable family – no need to import it from strangers.

 

It’s All A Conspiracy

And what a conspiracy. I’ve found leads to the New World Order, Old World Order, And Hungry Jack’s Lunchtime Bargain Order. The first two are unattractive but I am looking at the cheeseburger with interest.

Conspiracies are the flavour of the month, year, and possibly decade. We have them in all varieties and sizes – right-wing, left-wing, and the sticky bit in the middle as well. They are useful to pin blame, explain the inexplicable, and excuse our own failures.

I’ll amend that… the excuses are necessary for your failures. You are the reason we can’t have nice things. I suspected you all along but until I saw the ABC/CNN/FOX News/BBC/RT exposé on you and your kind I could not hate you precisely.

The internet is a wonderful resource. It can bring unease and accusation to us wherever we live and unlike the old business of printed books, it can be altered before our eyes. It has experts we never suspected and suspects we never thought of. If the devil or the mean girl in the sixth grade whispered in our ears it would not be half as effective as a cobbled-up construct hedged with advertisements for spinning tops and faux-leather luggage.

You must excuse me – I need to get back to the Karen and Sharon network and see which evil influence is dominating the world. No sense opposing the winner, eh?

Propriety For the Proprietor

Funny old language, English.

Everyone in the modern milleniverse seems to be for propriety…that sense of the right and proper thing to do, say, or think. Yet the same people are willing to attack the proprietors of anything; businesses, governments, learning institutions, whenever they do not get the cultural obedience or discount they demand.

Perhaps I am being harsh on Millenials. To be honest, I am not exactly certain who they are, nor are the names of Gen X, Y, or Z any more help. I have been told Baby Booming was bad, but as I benefitted greatly from the practice I am unwilling to condemn my parents…or me.

I’m also wondering if we can institute a system of impropriety for improprietors. It would use up all the language that otherwise is scorned and we might have a lot more fun doing it. I have the BGA, The BGA News Service, and ZOWIE magazine to help me get through the day and there is always recourse to liquor, if the price is right.

Perhaps we just need effective advertising slogans:

” Do the right thing – say the wrong words. ”

” Impolitical Correctness ”

I will ponder this some more in the coming days. I have an uneasy feeling that there are people living who I have not offended, and time is fleeting. I may have to become more efficient, or at least work on larger batches.

 

Creative Baiting

For Master Baiters.

Some people are very good at what they do – embroidery, cooking, art, motor car maintenance. In the days of the medieval guilds they would have started as apprentices, become journeymen, and eventually progressed to being masters of their art or craft.

The art of angering people to mock them or to get them to support your political or religious view is known as baiting. The practitioners lay emotional or verbal traps for their opponents ( and most opponenetss are just supporters in waiting…) and try to make them fall into them. This can be as crude as name-calling or as sophisticated as an advertising agency campaign. Many effective baits are disguised as sensible statements that turn vicious at the end. Mein Kampf was full of this ploy.

” How would you feel if…” is one of the modern variations on the bait. It seeks to directly bypass thought and substitute emotion. There’s a good reason for this – thought is difficult to manipulate, but emotion is easy to steer. Once started, an emotional flood can wash away most thought, and once that has happened, the baiter can replace it with their opinion.

The Master Baiter will be careful not to go too far. Oh, I don’t mean too far in what they say – they might demand the destruction of the world in a sensible fashion with a straight face – but too far with the reaction of the victim. Once the target realises that they are not going to look good they may turn just away and deny the tormentor the pleasure. Or they may snap and attack the pest. This is the aim of many bullies who want to instigate a physical fight by taunts. But it can turn bad  – emotions sometimes steel the weakling far beyond what was expected, and the tables may be turned.

The safest course is to bite small, bite often, and bite a different part of the anatomy each time. No-one can scratch everywhere at once.

Sniper Nest

It is no longer necessary to tie yourself to a tree wearing a ghillie suit to be a professional sniper. Nor do you need to search out book depositories, grassy knolls, or water towers. You need not carry heavy firearms either – no more carefully swabbing barrels or weighing ammunition. You can shoot ’em dead from the comfort of your computer room.

We’re not talking about computer games as such – none of that video business like with an arcade game. This is actual assassination carried out on actual people. And the good thing is you won’t be punished for it, even if you are found culpable. You see, you shoot ’em in their reputation, not their rib cage.

The best practitioners of this skill have specific targets to deal with. Ex-husbands and ex-wives are the primary targets …as well as the primary shooters. They have either a long-standing grudge and animosity or a short-term goal in view; blackening the character of their former partner.

It can be done blatantly, with names, addresses, dates, and high-res pictures…but that does risk the lawyers battening upon it as defamation. More often it is done with memes, hints, and innuendo. As long as the sniper can hint to the observers know who the target is they count on formerly-mutual friends to convey the messages back. The disconnects that exist on the social media may  prevent the target from seeing the shots as they come and go, but someone can always send a screen copy to do the same thing.

The unfortunate part of this is the collateral damage – the people on social media who have to see the written fire fight and pretend to ignore it. Or  are lured to pour sympathy or scorn on one or other of the parties. In most cases people have enough traumas in their own lives without having to watch an artillery duel on their computer.

What Is The Difference Between A Harpoon And A Lampoon?

The latter hurts far more than the former and its effects can last for centuries. If it is well done, you can bleed for 400 years – well after you are dead.

Making fun of – or mocking – someone is a very serious business. Far too serious a matter for laughter. In many cases any attempt at fun merely obstructs the process.

We all learn it early on – the schoolyard bully’s taunt is the first intimation that all will not be well in life. If we are lucky, we can throw it off as mere noise – if we are less fortunate it may colour our days far longer than anything else. Some people carry this sound with them well into adulthood and it can either cripple or energise them.

The adult mockery we encounter may be much more subtle – the slight, the sneer, the show of status. These can all tell upon a sensitive soul – as they are meant to –  and give a feeling of gloom and despair to any social occasion. But what is one to do? What to do..what to do…?

a. Fight fire with fire.

Mock back. Every person has a sensitive spot that will send a pain to their brain. Find it and press it.

Once you are sure of it, press it publicly, repeatedly, with plenty of witnesses.

b. Fight fire with oil.

Become smooth and conciliatory. Soothe the taunter with praise for their personality, looks, wealth, and power. Do it so well that people will think you are best friends and then discount all that the taunter says as mere badinage.

c. Fight fire with water.

Burst into tears. Weep at the scorn that is poured on you. Do it well and few spectators suspect the slice of onion in your hand and will look upon your tormentor with contempt. Prepare to be consoled with brandy and sympathy.

d. Fight fire with insulation.

Ignore the taunt. Smile and offer the taunter a slice of bread and butter – or a small pamphlet on monetary reform. Keynesian economics will quell the loudest mouth.

Modifying A Hoax – A Modest Proposal

The Facebook Hoax No. 135 has just surfaced again. You know, the one that tells you that you need to copy and paste something that looks like a legal document to prevent Facebook doing something. In this case it has been rigged to make you afraid that all your postings from the past -including pictures – will become the property of Facebook and that they can sell them off with no mercy.

Don’t be sad if you fell for it…people do fall for these sorts of thing. They come so close to our fears of either missing out or being targeted for lawsuit that we instinctively panic. The hoax – and hoax it is – then circulates further when the frightened individual cuts, pastes, posts, or does whatever other ritual the thing suggests. It is a good thing that the hoaxes do not involve hot soldering irons and ears or the emergency rooms would be full in a day.

Mind you, Weller would probably approve…and that’s where the BGA steps in. Note: the BGA frequently steps in it.

What we propose is that the maker of any product enter into a contract with us. ( pentacle, candles, dagger, etc. ) to promote their product. Whatever it is we analyse it and devise a way to tie it into the primitive portion of the reader’s brain. Then we craft a suitable meme or notice and start it out with our team of influenzers*. They insert it into their Facebook pages and direct it to the most gullible of their friends. From there it is transmitted for free  throughout the world, frightening people into buying and using the selected product.

It is not so much an advertising campaign as a form of social media terror. People will go faster if driven than lured and the faster they will go to the store with their wallet open, the better for the client. And remember that the BGA is ethical in this – we do not take a cut of the profits. Our fees are substantial, but one-time. In this we hold a higher moral position than the mafia.

*  So named because we spread internet hoaxes like a debilitating virus. You’re soaking in one now.

Ethical Mortar Bombing

If you put a little effort into thinking, you can make any human action or emotion ethical. If you’re prepared to dress up you can make it ethnical.

I often do this when I want to drive my enemies before me and hear the lamentations of their women. I’ll qualify that – I don’t actually enjoy hearing women lamenting. They do it with a professional vigour that I find wearing. In a lot of cases I let the women drive themselves and me and the enemies just sit around drinking.

Your ethics are what define you – and I have met any number of people who defy definition. Just as you think you know what they think, they read another Facebook post and go off on a tangent. Then you either follow them, at the risk of seeming to agree with them, or oppose them, at the risk of being right. Both pathways are fraught with dishonour.

I have endeavoured for years to free myself from ethical thinking or behaviour. Rather than take a hard stand on any moral issue I have waited in the wings until the debate was finished and the winner declared before declaring my support for them. Even then I have reserved some disclaimers in case they fall out of favour. It was a little hard to wriggle out of Watergate but I managed in the end when Carter took office. You could get out of anything with Jimmy Carter at the helm.

Am I firmly committed to the path of righteousness and truth right now? In as far as the keepers of that path are prepared to play me, I am. I do not demand money; sex, drugs and rock and roll are acceptable substitutes. I can also be bought for scale model plastic kits.

Ask me later and I’ll give you a list of the ones I haven’t got.

 

Make Small Talk

Being a social creature is hard work for some of us. We dwell largely in isolation – in my case within a loving household – and we encounter others on a more distant basis. Hardly anyone is a mortal enemy, but by the same token, there are few extremely close friends. Most people are one or two steps removed from this core contact.

Do not be sad or disapproving of this…above all don’t regard it as unnatural. Moray eels have few drinking buddies but live perfectly adequate lives. And no-one feels bad about moray eels.

The thing is, we do venture out occasionally and we meet other people. I don’t mean in the wrong lane in the car park – this is not uncommon in a suburb with SUV’s. I mean at parties, meetings, and workplaces. We need to communicate with them but we may have lost the skill of doing it through long inattention. This Covid 19 year is particularly likely to distance us, if we are lucky.

What do we say when we do meet – 6 feet apart? The safest conversation of all is small talk. Here’s a list of topics and intros to get you going:

a. What about the weather, eh?

This will start a banal exchange that can be broken at any point if someone comes in with a plate of snacks. Feel free to ask if it’s hot enough or cold enough for you.

If you are in New Zealand substitute the word “climate ” for “weather “. Mentioning wethers in New Zealand can start a whole different conversation and you may be startled at the turns it can take – particularly if the Kiwi is the romantic type.

b. What about those Knicks, eh?

Apparently there is a basketball team called the Knickerbockers and people are interested in seeing them throw orange balls through hoops. If they were called the G-strings I could pay attention, but as it is I can throw orange balls through a hoop in the back yard myself so watching professionals do it is pointless.

Professionals in G strings would rivet the attention, mind.

c. What about that election, eh?

Well there’s always an election in the offing, no matter where you live. It may be honest and fair or not – it makes no difference  – because whoever you are talking to has the correct political opinion anyway and is either elated or incensed by the whole thing. Just wind them up, let them go, and nod sagely every 30 seconds. You will gain a reputation as an astute political expert.

Don’t get caught turning your hearing aid off.

 

 

Being Fruitful And Multiplying

This is apparently a good thing, and recommended by a number of religious texts. In the nature of religious texts, they are being delicate and trying to mean one thing by saying another. Generally being fruitful means having sex, getting pregnant, and giving birth. Fruit has very little to do with it. A tomato is a fruit and the thought of tomatoes and sex is a little disturbing.

Now multiplying suggests that the sex business causes a numerical increase all out of proportion to the two bits that are put into it at the start. I’m not going to explain the process, but I can assure you it takes more than two bits. For two bits you don’t get any sex at all. Try pricing flowers, dinner, and bottle of wine these days and see what sex costs. And remember that you sometimes need to do sex several times to get a result – It’s like trying to start an old computer or a used car. Press that starter and pump it with your foot…

But you cannot exist on fruit alone. You need vegetables as well. Very few passages in the religious texts deal with vegetables, which I think is a sore failure on the part of the ancients. It leaves vegans sort of out in the cold, sex wise.

I do not intend to lower the tone of this column by making zucchini jokes.