The Statue In The Park

I have said before that my flabber is rarely ghasted, but this last week has more than made up for it. Leaving aside the North Korean foolishness, and the predictable nature of the unpredictable, we came to the hot summer rioting in the CSA and the subsequent reactions by various authorities.

This sort of clash is nothing new for the place – I can remember it back in the 1960’s, when the temperature rose and some clash set off a riot. I even seem to recall Baltimore losing a couple of whole city blocks to fire in the middle of one of them….though that may have been Philadelphia or Newark. In any case, late summer, before the kids get back to school, is the traditional time for rioting and looting. If you haven’t got a television by August it is your chance to bring one home before the football starts…

The thought of incipient riots has also proved useful for the Baltimore city administration – allowing them an excuse to edit out any of the civic statues that they don’t like on a prophylactic basis. Fair enough, though given what modern sculpture looks like these days, one could wish that they would widen the scope of their concern and pay for the cranes to take away some of the grottier pieces of new scrap iron art.

As it is, I think they could have saved a lot of work and expense by just hiring a signwriter to re-name the existing statues. Unbolt the bronze plaque that says ” General Lee ” and attach a plate that reads ” Malcom X “. Just scrub out ” Stonewall ” on the Jackson statue and write ” Samuel L. ” in its’ stead. Any one else who might be less recognisable could be tagged as Patrice Lumumba or O.J. Simpson, and everyone would be happy.

Not the rioters, mind. You don’t get a free Motorola by renaming statues…

Here in Australia we have seen a most amazing piece of theatre by Senator Pauline Hanson. For overseas readers, she is a politician from Queensland ( and that is fruitful ground for many, many posts…) who rose to fame by hating Asians* professionally. Now that she has achieved a seat in the Senate, she hates Muslims professionally. To express her dislike for them she paraded into our federal Senate chamber wearing a full-coverage burka garment – then tried to argue that she wants it to be banned.

No, I’m not making this up. It really happened. I don’t have that much imagination.

I do not know whether she has any shares in a restaurant, or owns a pick handle, or plans to change her name to Lester. I don’t really want to think about it. I have an old flabber and if it is ghasted beyond its’ rated pressure anything could blow.

I also don’t want to think about who her next professional hate is going to be. I’m not sure if she has done with the Asians, though she’s gone somewhat quiet about them. The Muslim seam will eventually play out, and she may still be digging.

Perhaps we could get her busy removing statues…

*Mostly to the Chinese, though she was prepared to be unpleasant to Japanese and Thais as well.

” If You Don’t Know…”

” I’m not going to tell you.”

How often have we heard that one? It was the constant litany of the Kool Kids at school when the rest of us asked a question. It was used to make us feel left-out…even more so than to begin with. And it worked very well for the first few times that it was employed. We would go off sad and insulted, and there seemed to be no answer to make.

I bring this up because of a Facebook posting recently that floated past my feed line. It was a topic I would normally have taken no interest in, but it appeared because a friend had entered the general discussion. She was interested in one person’s assertions regarding nutrition, and asked very politely for some references that she could pursue in her studies.

Well, she got a sneering version of the standard reply. And then some equally rude passing commentary from other anonymous sources. It was the schoolyard all over on the internet.

I mentioned earlier that this sort of thing worked well for the first few times. My school days were a long while ago, and it has stopped working – indeed it stopped working long ago. But the interesting thing was that it was a standard ploy used in many situations for a very long period of time.

When I encountered this sort of rudeness from people of my own age I was able to dismiss them as fools or braggarts that had no information or knowledge to back up their assertions. When I encountered it from a lecturer in the University of Western Australia’s Dental School I was taken somewhat aback. But it took a further 10 years of solo practice to harden me enough to respond to it when it happened again.

The chap had moved on to be a specialist consultant in a mechanical branch of dentistry. I had a patient who needed the sort of thing he did – and referred the patient by letter to the specialist. Apparently they did not get on well – and I eventually received a high and mighty letter sneering at me for sending that referral and telling me not to do it again. And I never did – I sent the people who needed a prosthedontic specialist’s attention to other practitioners and everyone was happy. I did have the satisfaction of writing a polite note acknowledging the order*.

I suspect that whenever this sort of thing happens it is because of a number of factors:

a. The person being rude does not know what they are talking or writing about .

b. They have no material to which they can refer.

c. They are naturally ill-mannered. Or they have developed ill manners as a cover for worse characteristics.

d. They are writing from Mom’s Basement, with no other connection to social interaction than the reactions to their trolling posts.

I suppose we can be grateful that at least they are not in specialist practice…

* Good manners in the face of bad is always the best answer. Public good manners is even better…

The Pleasure Someone Thinks You Should Be Ashamed Of…

No matter what little joy you may have picked up, there is always someone prepared to strike it from your hand and then to scold you about it. Whether you want to smoke tobacco, drink beer, read comic books, drink coffee, or yell at football players until you feel slightly ill, someone will sneer and scowl.

It is not because of the actual activity – of the moral goodness or badness of it. It is not really related to economics, politics, religion, or any other serious human concern. it is because it makes you happy.

Your happiness means something to you. If yu are lucky it means something to your friends and family. But it means nothing at all…or worse than nothing…to the reformers of the world. They find your happiness an obstacle to their ambitions, and quite naturally try to reduce that obstacle. Indeed, if they can convert happiness to dissatisfaction, they can use that emotion to further their ends.

I am drawn to this thought by the coffee cup in front of me – it contains a powerful little espresso made by the Nestlé company that is sold in a pre-packaged pod. I load one every evening after dinner into a machine and then set it to wash boiling steam through it. I get the variety pack from the Nespresso shop and cycle a different one through each night. Apparently I am destroying rain forests, the planet, and cuddly animals by doing so. And I might be perpetuating child slavery as well, depending upon which hysterical Facebook post you read. It’s quite a busy time after dinner being that evil before the coffee cools…

I daresay every other activity I pursue during the day – and possibly some after I go to bed – can also be condemned by the eco-righteous and politico-socialist types who lay out the memefields of the net. I perpetuate white privilege, male privilege, and western privilege by breathing regularly, and can be considered reprobate for doing it with a smile. And I am so far gone in cruelty as to do that with clean teeth. I will not be receiving a holiday gift from PETA, ACORN, or the ACLU.

And do you know…I don’t care. I shall be destroying the planet tomorrow night with a cup of Ristretto and a small biscuit and I may even go so far as to actually dislike some trendy announcer on the ABC. If I am going to go to hell, at least I get to choose my own handbasket.

How I Cleared A Social Media Memefield

Well, for a start, I got a meme detector and learned how to operate it. The modern ones have a battery pack that you wear and an electronic probe on the end of a frame that you hold up close to the screen. The meme detector has a small suction motor that draws the air in from around a Facebook posting and sends signals to its computer for analysis. Once the signal is processed the meme detector notifies you via headphones whether the sample is bullshit or not.

The detector is connected via a WiFi transmitter to the snopes.com website and can access all their recent data. If something has been rehashed and presented to the gullible public as a true image or real thing that happened…but is not…this information is sent back to the meme detector and I can be warned. Usually it is done by a discrete red light on the side of the casing, though the new model Fraudbuster 800 will play the sound of a cynical raspberry into the headphones.

None of this will stop well-meaning people from lighting upon something that triggers them off, being taken in, and then re-broadcasting the original meme. But it may prevent me from being taken in far enough to react to the thing, or to cast it further over the heads of the populace. To paraphrase Harry Truman, ” The fuck stops here. “.

1440 New Customers For You Each Day

Think of it. Every day there are 1440 new customers available to make your business a success*. And the best part is you do not have to pay marketing research organisations or social-marketing firms to access this bonanza – these people are provided by Heaven for you. We have the solemn word of one of the most successful marketers of the 19th century on this.

You may be thinking that your business might not fit into the demographic, or target planform, or mimeographed list on the local IGA notice board – and that as a consequence you will miss out on connecting. You need have no fear – it does not matter what you are selling, or giving away with a small charge for shipping and handling – with 1440 new clients each day – and that includes Sunday – you cannot fail to make a profit each and every day

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling sanctity or saccharine – whether your scheme involves animal, vegetable, mineral, or morality – you will find a mental string that can be plucked. Once it begins to vibrate, their money loosens and flies out of their purses and wallets. And once it flies your way, all you need is a fish net to scoop it up.

Often, just a simple paragraph will pluck enough of these mental strings to set up the sound of a full orchestra. Try this:

Are you worried about your children being exposed to secret black government helicopters spraying mind-altering GMO gluten trails in the ionosphere? Are your chakras accessing enough ancient vibrational conspiracies by the secret society – and you know who we mean…Are muslim Methodists taking over the air compressor at your local service station? Well, write in NOW for the book that they could not suppress. $ 39.95 plus postage, handling, and taxes ( slightly higher in Washington State and Mississippi ) will free you from your dependency on Big Parsley forever. You owe it to your grandchildren. And they have debt collectors to see that you pay.

Are your strings vibrating? Sounds like Berlioz on speed, doesn’t it? Well we can put you onto this same gravy train of gravitational unified energy fields – and if you build the fields, they will come. Some of them come several times. And you can purchase full HD video of it. Who said marketing couldn’t be fun?

*  One born every minute…

 

 

 

 

I’m Going To Start A Movement

And about time – I haven’t had one for a couple of days. I feel bound to express myself.

I am brought to this resolution by yet another ” shared ” post on my Facebook – this time one that upbraids me if I do not agree with the writer and pay attention to their political beliefs. Having someone rant at you from the hustings, the speaker’s corner, or the university campus ( not in exam time, mind… ) is no new thing. We’ve passed through American, Australian,and French elections recently and will be subjected to the British ones soon.

It would be nice to think that we watched the news feed from Paris with all the attention that we gave to the previous ones but frankly, My Dears, all the damns had already been given. We may have managed a small ” Tiens! ” or a deflated ” Zut Alors  ! ” but that was about all. The political organ can only remain distended for a certain length of time.

The Facebook meminist who wrote the post that others shared was indignant that people were tired of politics and wanted to avoid it. She blamed them for being privileged and white and male and American and rich. In reality they were simply tired of politics – her politics – and tired of hectoring. Tired, if you will, of her.

And I don’t think she will succeed in scolding them into paying her attention. No-one owes it to her and the dump button is one click away.

The Football Final

Every year I see advertisements for the football finals and then the preliminary finals and then the grand finals. And it is all a fraud and a bitter disappointment – they come back again the following year. It never IS final…

In some respects it has grown a little easier here in Western Australia with the passing years – the WA Football League has taken a back seat…somewhere beyond the Black Stump…to the Australian Football League and the flood of multiple games played at ovals around the town on Saturday afternoons has tapered off to a little dribble. Of course there is the televised AFL footy game in the afternoon and this is blared over screens in every pub, but at least the roads are clearer.

We pay the price when the game comes to Subiaco Oval, and will pay a worse one when the new Burswood stadium is built, but it is not as frequent as when we had a dozen teams in the city. I pin my hopes for happiness on the fact that the land that will house the new stadium was once a riverside rubbish dump and there is a possibility that subsidence or methane venting will cut the fans down.

There is also the consolation of knowing that Melbourne has more of this than we do – more fanaticism, more expense, more disruption. Possibly more methane…