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 Obscene Joy Of Politeness

I used to own about eleven different firearms – from rifled muskets to revolvers to shotguns. There were bayonets and swords and spears and bows and arrows enough in the house to hold a regular historical reign of terror. Yet I never did – I found that none of the weapons ( and that is exactly what they were, despite the mealy-mouthing of the Sporting Shooters Association ) could cause as much accurate destruction as my books of etiquette.

Emily Post can hit harder than a 17 pounder gun. And you can turn her onto anyone – young, old, rich, or poor. She comes with impenetrable armour as well – you fight from a secure position.

Our nation has many rude people. Many crude people. Many people who use obscenity and bluster to dominate all conversations and exchanges. Yet none of them can do the slightest damage to a person who behaves in a gentlemanly or ladylike fashion consistently. Good form and good behaviour is a position from which one never need never resile. They carry the day.

But how can you do this in the face of rude behaviour? By behaving in precisely the same fashion as if the behaviour is polite. Or at least subject each circumstance, person, or conversation to a graded response:

a. If all is well, and the other people are polite, be cheerful, gracious, and friendly.

b. If the situation is well, but the others are cool or standoffish, still be polite. You need not strain cheer past the limits of grace.

c. If the encounter is rude, be civil. Civility is the bottom line of behaviour and can not be criticised later. Keep your responses and actions to those of a reasonable person – as defined in law – and you are safe from the law.

In all these three cases, you hold the upper hand with your response – you give or withhold as the circumstances demand, and if you always treat others better than they treat you, you are the moral victor.

Putting WordPressure On The Guilty

None of us is a social justice warror because none of us actually do anything to acheive it. No wonder – we have no idea what the phrase means. I’ve looked for a definition that doesn’t press someone’s ambit claim for money or emotional hand wringing, or money, or …well…money.

It ain’t there. A lot of the socially bellicose are either driving or being driven by the desire for someone else’s money. They don’t have it, they want it, and they are going to find any means they can to get it – save work.

It’s difficult for them, no doubt, as the people who have the money want to hold onto it. Oh, they’ll spend it, but they want value for money – mobs surging and schoolchildren chanting is hardly value under any reckoning. Mobs digging ditches or schoolchildren actually learning might do it, but this is not what the social justicians generally offer. But there is hope – WordPress is available to press their point.

What they need to do is find someone who they wish to disturb. The victim need not be bad, mad, sad, or anything else – all they have to do is be still long enough to fix some sort of guilt to them. Then a flood of outrage on WordPress and the other social media platforms to cause them to either give up and send money or to explode in rage so that they can be sued. Lawsuits are expensive – especially the ones tailored by bespoke lawyers – and the average victim can be frightened into giving up before the prospect of court arises.

Remember – whatever anyone says, demand Ju$tice – preferably in small, unmarked bills.

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…

 

Election 2019 – Leave A Deposit

Preferably of money…

A question arose on Saturday afternoon – after everyone in the room had done their various voting chores – about the business of standing for election in Australia. Goodness knows we stand for lots of things; buses, pop concerts, and really bad biscuits at most meetings. How do you go about standing for election?

It appears that you need to be a part of a party – either a big one that makes you or a small one that you make yourself. The first alternative generally requires you to be of like mind with a great many other people, a self-advertiser, and the kind of devious politician that can act like a devious politician…

The second alternative means you have to corral a smaller group of nutters – but you still have to find a considerable amount of money to make the thing work. There is advertising, promotion, telephones, lawyers, etc. and not least the deposit of money with the Electoral Commission to guarantee that you are a real person – not a Bedlington Terrier in sunglasses. That you will become a real person who is sneered at and pushed into the gutter is another thing, but if you want to form the ” I Order You To Respect My Authoritah Party ” ( apologies to Cartman ), you have to expect it.

Let’s face it – no-one respects your authoritah outside the cardboard polling booth, so don’t expect that to change once they’re in there with the tiny pencil.

The barrier of a substantial monetary deposit – $ 2000 – is nothing to a major party but can serve as a way of keeping the worst of the nutters off the increasingly long ballot paper. This is a blessing in the cardboard polling booth as the thing seems to get larger each election.

I note that this year that as we were not required to number every single candidate in preference – there were some 25+ of them – we were given permission to mark our first 12 and let the rest go. For myself, I get some amusement with the weirder parties and independents but that sheet of paper is taking on the dimensions of a ship’s sail. I should welcome the raising of the deposit to reduce the number of loons let loose.

Well, That’s The Sausage Sizzle Over For Another Three Years…

You can collect up the tiny pencils, Beauregard, and count the votes. The cardboard polling booths can be stacked away and do remember to pick up the coffee cups before you lock up.

Oh, and the How-To-Vote cards, too. I know they are officially the responsibility of the parties that gave them out, but some of those parties have clapped their carpet bags shut and jumped aboard the steamboat. They are not coming back to help with the clean-up.

Yes, I have a headache too. I put it down to the coffee…not the cask of cheap red wine I drank after the polls shut. It’s part of the risk you run being a Electoral Returns Officer in an ethnic neighbourhood. If I never see another Rananjstasavaramaputirian family with 56 cousins who live in the same street in my life it will be too soon. I heard a rumour that one of them wants to marry into the eastern European  Czchxüczbratoviltistianiççu family and hyphenate their name but if they do I am going to run over them with a lawn mower.

It’s been a good election. No tank fire for several kilometres and this year the Cossacks were riding Shetlands. Bit sad about the UN observer being boiled alive and eaten in Mirrabooka, but at least they have grasped the idea of the food stall at election time. And you have to love the losing candidate conceding defeat gracefully, though I think he might have briefed his staffers not to throw flaming bags of dog poo at the winner – or at least not on national television. That stuff sticks.

Anyone want the last sausage? Anyone? Didn’t think so….

Well, whatever you do, Beauregard, do not lose that cardboard ballot box. It’s not the sacred flame of democracy I am concerned with – I saw the flames on those paper bags they were throwing – it’s the thought of it unraveling and having to do a by-election all over again in a month.

I don’t think my tiny pencil is up to it.

Thank You, Tourist Driver

And I am not being sarcastic when I  write this – thank you indeed for being who you are, doing what you do, on our freeways.

You are slower than the rest of the entitled aristocrats in their Audis and angry tradies in their tray top Toyotas. You are in the left-hand lane, and about 10 KPH below the speed limit. You are doing the sort of speed I want to drive at, and you are a convenient haven.

I can tuck in behind you and look as if I am caught by your slow speed. In reality, I am slipstreaming you and would not pull out to overtake for quids. You are doing what I want to do. If you are driving a Bayswater Hire Car, so much the better. Your inexpertise advertises itself and takes the blame off me.

Please continue. I shall not flash my lights or toot my horn.