On the national civic* day – 26th of January – we had become accustomed in the past few years to being bombarded by ambitious politicians, academics, and advertisers for their various purposes. In many cases this was driven by lust for power and money. At least when the CWA and local kindergarten were involved.
Then there was a spate of excoriating those with European background for not being Australian enough. Or for being British. Every sin and misery for the past two hundred -odd years was seeded home to the Dreadful British and compensation demanded. Compensation, guilt, and obeisance. If you couldn’t manage the guilt and obeisance, at least cough up the money…the lawyers had sent in their bill.
Arrived late? Not British? Never had a hand in oppressing anyone? No matter. As long as you had money they’d let you on the tumbril.
This year it seemed to be different. Very few ambitious local councillors fronted the television cameras weeping. Few calls for the scrapping of the day emerged, and those that were repeated came from the established disestablishment. Most people seemed set to do their citizenship ceremonies, watch the fireworks, get drunk and sunburned, and let it go at that.
My local hobby club even garnered an award from the city of Bayswater for not being as dangerous as they might have been. I shall share in the honours as long as there is cake and coffee involved.
* The national military day is later in the year and it will have it’s own set of special detractors – though oddly enough there will be many of the same names bitching about the past then as do now.
The only problem is choosing where to be exiled from. It’s not as silly as it sounds.
If you are going to be exiled from somewhere, it is far better to be barred from the more horrible parts of the earth. I would hesitate to use the term ” shithole ” as this has negative political connotations, but I think we can all recognise ” troubled land ” as a pretty good description of a lot of places. And that is the basis upon which I intend to proceed.
Governing an entire nation is difficult – doing so in exile even more so as hardly anyone ever listens to you. Unless you are Charles Degaulle and have the British army behind you ( pushing you away from themselves…) the business is hardly even worth pursuing. So I intend to start my crazed lust for world power on a much more modest basis; I intend to become the government in exile for a suburb.
Not a local one, I hasten to add. Local suburbs are far too easy to get to and people who learn about my assumption of power may come looking for me to actually do something for them. The last thing I want is a line of supplicants at the door.
I shall become the ruler of some other suburb or shire located on the other side of the country. In view of the recent catastrophes I will be careful to choose somewhere that is sparsely populated and reasonably fireproof. Somewhere with no natural resources, attractive coastline, or prominent tourist attractions will be perfect as it will require the least governance.
Currently I am looking at maps of the Adelaide area. Being banned from Adelaide is sounding more attractive year by year.
And don’t you forget it, Grandad. Don’t try that old business about having seen it all before just because you did actually see it all before. If I didn’t think of it after watching YouTube, it doesn’t count.
And don’t try rolling your eyes at me, old man. None of that senior sarcasm or you’ll be sent to your room with no supper. Wait? What do you mean it’s your food? Just because you’ve paid for it and cooked it and served it at your own table doesn’t mean you have a right to enjoy it if I disapprove. There are principles involved and the main one is I am young and right and you are old and wrong. And I am the judge of it all…I’ve got the internet.
And in a few years I’ll be able to vote and drink beer and smoke cigarettes and get the dole and post angry memes on social media whenever I want to. I got rights.
Well, I said I was going to write on the subject, didn’t I? When I promise something I always make good on it, even when it is something bad. That’s what being a long-time parent can teach you.
Leaving aside the question of whipping the children with scourges – a fine leisure activity – let us get to the question of the grant. We generally understand this to be a sum of money or credit given to us for some good purpose. Education, health improvement, housing, etc. have all been subject to this sort of thing in the past. Indeed there have been grants of land and other titles made by authorities ever since the first tyrant rewarded the first grovelling minion with slaves and fields. It’s not quite that obvious these days, outside of the Balkans or South Asia, so we’ll just consider the money grant.
The first thing you need to do to get one, is to find out who has the money in the first place. Favoured sources are federal, state, and local governments – we’ll just lump them together and call them the Tyrants. They have money because they have found other victims before you and accumulated a store of the stuff. Note that it is no good trying for grants from organisations that are themselves begging.
The grant is frequently a way for the Tyrant to purchase fealty and/or safety from the masses. They remember how they got the money in the first place and it is only by sending back little parcels of it that they can ensure that their head is on the stamps, not on the pitchforks.
Start by writing in for The Form. There will be one. Then sit down and read it carefully. It will promise money but demand something in return. Your first-born child or your soul are frequently mentioned – all good there. What you really have to be careful about is if the form asks for repayment of the money over a period of years with interest added as time goes on. This is the triple-gang hook of finance. It never works its way out…
If possible, make your request for grant money sound like you are going to do some worthy thing with it. Of course you need not do so – it can all be shovelled into your pocket as ” operational expenses “, but make a little paper sign that says” Goode Workes And Godley Virtue ” then put it beside the pile of coins and take a picture. It looks good for the press.
And think of making a grant yourself. Perhaps your local bottle shop needs to sell a couple of cartons of full-strength beer – you can help by taking some of your grant money down there and giving it over. Everyone will be happy.
” Of course air travel is perfectly safe. Look at the HINDENBURG. It’s never crashed yet. ”
A perfectly valid statement at the end of 1936 as the zeppelin completed 17 round trips in its first season across the Atlantic. It went to North and South America with no incidents. And then the first trip of Season Two to Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937…
Putting aside the humanity, look at the phrase ” of course “. I just traced it through the computer’s internal dictionary and it seems to indicate that something is obvious or expected. But you knew that already, didn’t you…
Yet, it seems so many times that it is used to mask what is not obvious – the bias of a political debater, or the pre-made circular and specious argument that serves the propagandist. I hear it repeatedly when eavesdropping on others. Of course, I don’t do that in an obvious manner. No wire taps or tape recorders. I just lurk and listen.
I’m starting to think it’s a valuable marker for this sort of thing. A litmus test for bullshit, if you will. A small warning bell that tells you someone is flanneling on while they fumble for your wallet.
The truth is that nothing is ever ” of course “. It can be ” off course ” easily, and frequently is ” of a curse “. but beyond that you really should not take things for granted.
Tomorrow’s post: How to apply for a grant without a revolver.
And the days are longer and the people are better and the government is kinder and…
If you live in Australia or North America you will probably have noticed that life is always lived better in places that you are far away from. I most cases these are European places, and tend to be the parts of Europe where you will probably never go. The culture is richer, the people are better, and the political system is far grander than on your own benighted patch of ground.
This is no new phenomenon – it has been the constant message from any number of media presenters for decades. At one time the more desirable places were the Greek islands or tiny towns in Tuscany. Now they seem to be Iceland or Finland or Sweden. Really, they could be anywhere that you’re not likely to have actually visited…because then you might begin to suspect that it is a load of hooey.
Oh, I’m not saying these places are not wonderful for their residents, but the superiority that they are credited with in 2020 doesn’t seem consistent with what they were in 1920, 1940, or later. Had they been such paradises of human delight, the tens of thousands of European emigrants that sailed to Australasia and North America would have stayed home in the first place.
The attempt to sell a culture with propaganda is one thing…the attempt to sell a cultural cringe is another. It was tried in Australia in the 40’s and 50’s and didn’t fly.
By all means tell us of the wonderful traditions of the scandahoovians but try not to invent too many of them as you go along.
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.