Share A Lie…

Share propaganda. Share racist diatribes. Share bigotry. Share innuendo. Share abuse and bullying. Share political pressure.

Or don’t. Your choice.

The daily round of social media brings a waste-paper basket full of this sort of thing. People with a political, social, or religious opinion will batten upon something – a meme, a rant, a scurrilously defamatory article – and ” share ” it to others in their social circle. Some do it every day – some when a national event occurs. There is one common theme with all the posts; the poster wants to get way with their abuse – diatribe, bigotry, whine, or whatever – scot-free. They are merely ” sharing ” someone else’s concoction. If they are proved right you should have agreed with them and if they are proved wrong it was someone else’s fault.

Well, no. When you try to slap something unsavoury upon your friends, you are the last person to touch it, and the dung clings to you as much as it does to the disgusting object. Same thing with your social media posts. Those shitty fingers are at the ends of your own sleeves.

If you want to be honest with friends, you can still press them with political and social opinions, but you need to do it in your own words. You write, not share. If you write right, they’ll read. If you write shite, they won’t.

Take responsibility for your own material.

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Kindly Point That Meme In Another Direction.

Thank you.

Please do not think that I am unsympathetic to your cause. I’m sure your cause may have true aspects and fine points – I daresay that you can press it with wit and sophistication. And Lord knows, we need goodness, wit, and vitamins every day.

The problem is you are serving up horse manure, and I have long since lost a taste for it.

I would have welcomed your spiel in my 2o’s. I would have agreed readily, nodded vigorously, and subscribed generously. If you were young and attractive I would have gone through hoops to impress you in the hope that you would press yourself to me. Here. And here. And here again…

I have now arrived at the point of time when pressing is optional and it actually is the thought that counts. And if you can’t manage to keep yours in order I am not interested.

If you ask me to believe the unbelievable I shall politely refuse. If you ask me to support the insupportable the answer will be the same. If you wish me to deny the evidence of my own eyes, ears, or other senses, you can launch yourself off a steam catapult and fly away. Keep it up and I won’t rig the arrester wires for your return…

 

Bait

Bait is there for a reason.

It is to lure you to bite. Whether you are a fish looking at a tempting worm with a line attached, or a yokel looking at the sheriff’s 14-year-old daughter in a miniskirt, the bait is being presented to lead you to destruction. But these are easy examples – here’s more sophisticated ones.

a. Free Stuff One – ” The 45th click on this website will win a holiday or a caravan or a blender. ” In reality, the click will be collated and sold to advertisers who want to know what your email address is and how to get through it to your bank account.

You click, you lose.

b. Free Stuff two  – If you vote for the Star Spangled Green Social People’s Love And Fairness Party they might get a seat in Parliament. They’ll try to get your vote by promising you free stuff. And then they'[ll try to stay in that seat long enough to qualify for the Parliamentary pension scheme while collecting contributions from the faithful. All the while brating at you to give more.

You vote, you lose.

c. Outrage – you are presented with some dreadful images and tales of outrageous behaviour and are invited to react in a similar fashion. If the post succeeds you identify yourself to the watchers and they watch more closely. And they send ever more outrageous images to either lure you or drive you. Ultimately they look for money from you.

You react – you lose.

The best thing you can do with any of these fishing situations is do nothing at all. Time will reveal whether or not they have ever had any validity – in most cases the bait will shrivel up and disappear. Presumably jerked away by the person or organisation that dangled it, to be replaced by the next thing calculated to sucker you in.

The bait tin is full of worms…

An Australian Brag

If you were born in Australia you have been subject to The Brag all your life. If you emigrated here you picked it up as soon as your feet touched the ground. Either way, it has become so engrained that you would be hard pressed to notice it.

The Brag? Well, it really involves a lot of Sub-Brags. We’ve just had this year’s April 25th Brag. We’ll have more Brags whenever the cricket starts up again and all through the football season. If a local cinema actor is nominated for an award…indeed if anyone is recognised with some sort of gong, we’ll add another Brag.

And we are just about to have a federal election – Federal parliament will be replacing its House and Senate members in the next month or so. And it is time for the Election Brag. And I’m proud to be able to enunciate it:

The Federal Election will be honest.

The individual members of both houses that contest the seats, their advisers, and their party organisers may have consciences that could be used to scrub pots…their parties may be collections of bigots, zealots, and ne’er do wells – they may have devious money-grubbing  schemes…but…

The Federal Election will be honest.

No stuffed ballot boxes, no stand over militias, no bought votes, no midnight disappearances. No seizures of power. No bribing of judges. No tanks, armoured cars, or riot police. No burning buses. No dead people.

Instead, we’ll get a huge ballot paper, a tiny pencil, and a funny little cardboard booth to figure it all out in. Our choice will be complex to make and be tabulated in a complex fashion – but it will be done cleanly. Some electorates will declare quickly and there’ll always be one at the end that takes jolly weeks. If some mistake happens that results in the loss of a ballot box, there will be a by-election for that seat and it will all clank through again.

We’ll all get a vote and our vote will count. We’re the luckiest damn country in the world for this – because we can buy barbecued sausages and lemon slices and scones to eat while we are waiting to vote. And smarmy Facebook memes that suggest our vote is worthless are a damned insult us and to something this country does very right.

 

Lumpy Thighs

What odd creatures we are. We insist on seeing lumpy thighs on actors like Arnold Swartzenegger but reject them on Nicole Kidman. They are not dangerous to us, nor to their owners, but we insist on making a fuss.

Likewise many of the other bits of the body – and there are people who devote their entire lives to building up and breaking down the various muscles that puff up the external appearance of man or woman. If they succeed we laud them – if they do not we slate them. And yet none of their muscles are ever likely to affect us one way or the other.

The same doesn’t apply to actors’ or tycoons’ political opinions or endorsements. They can, indeed, make us unhappy when translated into election results or legislative efforts. We may be subject to them because of their notoriety. Even if we do not respect the famous, others do, and woe betide us if we are not with the program.

I am also starting to suspect actors’ role in sales promotions. World-wide fame is used to sell exercise machines that will soon be discarded on the verge for council collection. Likewise dietary supplements ( read by-products that cannot be sold by any other means…), golf balls, and religious affiliation. It may be just my skeptical nature, but has anyone stopped to consider that an actor’s stock in trade is simulation…and that is a very short distance from dissimulation.

Holy Water, Holy Wine, Sacred Biscuits

It has recently come to my attention that there is such a thing as holy water. And it is available in little dishes out the front of certain churches. They are happy to have you wet yourself with it but frown on you decanting it into old pop bottles for use at home.

As soon as I found this out I looked into other holy substances and found that I could obtain holy bread, holy wafers, and holy wine. I was actually hoping for holy ice cream but this seems a little bit ambitious.

Still, I have not given up hope. Apparently there are lots of other holy things; holy cities, holy books, holy orders, and holy people, Surely the thought of a tub of holy Rocky Road could not be that far-fetched. After all, I’ve been hearing about holy cows ever since I was a kid…

I’m a little hazy, though, about the distinction between holy and sacred. Also sanctified and sanctioned. They seem to be used interchangeably in a lot of conversations, including the ones that urge followers to slay everyone else for the good of God…Who is said to be perfect and doesn’t need anything else at all. Except, I guess, slaughter.

I’m also a little nervous about any thing or any place that is regarded as so precious and valuable that you get to beat up on other people for it. I’ve seen Lord Of The Rings and ” precious ” doesn’t seem so good after all.

I guess the real problem I have is getting enthusiastic about folk tales that are designed to control me – tales that have originated in the stone, bronze, or iron ages and have then been codified for now. I also am nervous about the stuff the tech gurus invent for the iAge but at least most of it doesn’t ask me to murder people or avoid bacon.

Note: Apparently ANZAC biscuits ( an Australian cookie ) have been declared sacred by the Federal Department of Veteran’s Affairs and they are set to fine any bakery who makes them with ingredients not approved by that department. This is approval, not on health grounds, but on historic ones. Apparently you are not even allowed to call them cookies, so I may be getting a nasty note in the post.

No, I’m not rooting your leg. This is real. April 25th in Australia is fraught with dangers that other places never see.

Have You Seen The News?…And My Opinion Of The News…?

We get news all day, every day. There’s not a single minute in which another report of another event is not being slotted into our stream of consciousness. The older ways of doing this are becoming passé for many parts of the planet, but there will still be newspapers, broadsheets, and people crying the latest in the village square for the forseeable future. It may be an electric cry, but it’ll be there.

What a burden. Think back to an earlier time – for instance here in Australia during the first years of European settlement. Local news was what you found out personally or were told by a neighbour. A traveller from another port could bring a printed broadsheet or government gazette. Itinerant pack sellers and carters could pass messages – accurate or not – as they went through. But there must have been blessedly long intervals in which nothing more was thrust upon our minds, and they could get on with the business at hand without new anxieties.

I wish that were the case today. I am not pleading for complete ignorance, but I’d appreciate a bit of time to absorb one disaster before I need to wring my hands over the next one. I get sore hands.

I also get a sore head when I see how people on social media take each event, and the reaction to that event by others, as an opportunity to push their own barrow. Whether that barrow contains a political package, a religious suggestion, or a portable virtue flag on a stick, it is still a vehicle that has little to do with the actual occurrence. Fortunately the load is generally of such little value and such light construction that it can be abandoned by the side of the road when the next attractive disaster is reported.