Can You Afford To Own A Chevrolet?

Or put another way – If they try to sell you a Plymouth can you Dodge the question?

No good Nash-ing your teeth over it either…

How odd that as we pull away from the curb into the twenty-first century in Australia, we should do so in the Toyota, Subaru, Daihatsu, Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Fuso vehicles. Or, if we have been successfully greedy, in Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Lancia cars.

We should be hard pressed to do the same in a Humber, Standard, Triumph, Rover, Hillman, Austin, or Vauxhall.

And yet today I will go to a car show that glories in Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Willys, Cadillac, Mercury, and Chrysler. And they will be spectacular and bright…or rotten and rusty…but will reflect the best of a car builder’s skill. Very few of them will be oriental or continental. What do the hot rodders and custom car builders know that the rest of us have forgotten?

Can we be reminded by an industry that needs to stop repeating what Europe and Asia say? Can we still build what we need, for ourselves, where we live? I hope so.

 

A Modest Apology

I wish to apologise for a recent Facebook post that ridiculed Facebook posts. I have been brought to realise that one may ridicule the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Australia, or the Premier of Russia ( or is that President…? Whatever…) but one does not hold the most popular social media network on the planet up to ridicule. Not if one knows what is good for one…

My legal adviser has urged me to throw myself upon the mercy of the Court Of The Internet and plead for a reduced sentence. Okay, Manny, if you think that would help. Here goes:

I’m sorry that I laughed at the people who share things on Facebook. From early childhood we have been told that it is good to share. Fine advice, when it comes to making 7-year-olds cut a birthday cake into even portions, but not quite so good when the sharing involves foolish opinions and political propaganda. But who are we to say what is foolish? The opinions that are hawked about like broadsheet ballads by People Who Sit At Home may be correct, for all we know. They are not backed up by any personal experience or practical demonstration, but then neither is the selling spiel for a washing machine by some sales clerk in Harvey Norman – they just sell you the box full of white goods. Perhaps the political opinions of formerly successful politicians can wash clothes as well as minds…

Enough, Manny? No? What do you mean, No? Jesus, Manny….Okay, Okay, Moses, Manny, how much grovelling am I expected to do? I’m not Johnny Depp, here…

Take Two: I apologise unreservedly for laughing at the people who share things on Facebook. I realise that they do this for the good of the planet and my soul. I am infinitely grateful for the tired anti-Trump memes…

Manny?

Manny, why are you making that noise? I’m doing the best I can here. I haven’t mentioned Nerium face grease once in the whole apology, and at no time have I yanked the Meminist’s chain. I’m being as good as gold. With a bit of luck I will get through the whole weekend without being unfriended by anyone. What do you mean, you’re crossing me off your list? Crosses, Manny…?

Featured Image: Voting Booths for the constituency of Facebook.

 

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.

High Culture – Low Culture

And what about middle culture? Why is it ignored? What does the bourgeoisie have to do to get a little respect?

Try saying the word ” bourgeois ” in any social group and see what happens. Do it – if you possibly can- in a dead flat monotone and a context that hints no judgement of the actual word. It is the nearest thing that you can do these days to dropping a hand grenade into a koi pond.

No-0ne likes the bourgeoisie. No-one respects them. No-one has any faith in their tastes, judgement, intelligence, or morals. None of their history is pointed to with pride. No-one wants to admit to knowing them and certainly no-one wants to be considered to belong to the group. The reason for this is simple: no-one knows exactly what the word means – it is as nebulous as the word ” sin ” or the word ” goodness ” and no-one really knows how to use it Not until now. But this all changes – the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia will provide that definition and a clear guide to the whole concept. Bourgeoisism will come of age.

BOURGEOIS: Middle class – the one that the peasant owes money to. Oddly enough, also the one that the lord owes money to. A social creditor, without being a supporter of Social Credit.

You may also add capitalist in there somewhere. In any event the bourgeois is in a position that raises the jealousy and ire of everyone else for two reasons: They have property and they have independence. You might not think the latter when you see the extent to which rules are demanded by the peasants and imposed by the lords on the basis of ownership. There is a commonality in both high and low – they want that property but can’t quite figure out how to get at it.

The bourgeoisie is derided for their taste in clothing, architecture, music, and literature. No-one thinks well of them for what they choose, though in most cases the highs and lows will try to emulate them when they can. The most infuriating thing about them is they can pretty well have what they like, because they can pay for it. Those who can’t or won’t regard this as a reminder of their failings.

But the thing that should really make peasant and lord angry is the realisation that most of the actual productive thinking – as opposed to the military posturing of king and  indolence of pawn – comes from the bourgeois and their propensity to do more than people have done before. They might want to profit, but at least something other than battles and beer barrels come of it.

Or to put it in more refined terms; the upper classes cause shit, the lower classes do shit-all, and the middle classes do shit and make shit.

Hobby-Horse Buns

Or ” Dropping One Into The Conversation “.

We’ve all met people at cocktail parties who will change neither their opinion nor the topic. People who share their thoughts by beating us around the ears with them. Well, they have a cousin in Social Media – the person who presses their keyboard only to press their passion upon you. Squirm though you might, you will never be free of it until you run screaming from the forum.

I am not adverse to seeing that someone supports women’s rights, or men’s rights, or the rights of sea anemones. I acknowledge their concerns and agree heartily that all the aforementioned should have them and live in harmony. But I would prefer not to be re-told the tale every single day – even an anemone needs to fall silent occasionally. Or at least post a kitten picture and wave a tentacle.

If you have a genuine hobby  – eating, marathon running, woodcarving, amateur dramatics…whatever – by all means tell us of it daily. It is a real thing and a window into subjects we may never have considered. We welcome the knowledge.

But if your daily post is how much you hate someone or the angst-ridden struggle of the masses to achieve rural electrification in defiance of the hetero-post-radicalist revanchinary power hegemony…and we get nothing but memes and urgent calls for rage and rutabagas…well, save your electrons. They will be ticked off the screen as fast as the mouse can work, and so, eventually, will you.

Note: Please turn your minds back to the Mel Brooks movie ” Silent Movie ” and the scene of the wooden horse on the carousel…

The Alehouse Blues

I visited a pub recently for an hour and looked about me. It was a mistake – I should have kept my nose in the pint glass and read the beer mat.

It was a cheerful pub – well-appointed and clean. There were any number of beers on tap and I daresay I could have called for anything I wanted. The Kölsch was fine. Had I stayed to dinner it would probably have been good food.

But as I was alone on the occasion I doubt whether I could have faced it. You see there   was nothing to fix the mind in the place save beer and piped-in television sports. There is only so much footage of horse racing, rugby, and cricket that you can take before you start to get palpitations…and not of the heart…

It would be foolish to expect art or intellect in a taphouse…except where the patrons are artists themselves and want to make sure you know it. Politics of the lowest sort might be a relief from the tedium, but I suspect that the political pub is only open to true believers. And literature is only going to be available in University food halls – you trade access to pilsner for declamations on Proust.

But let us have something that will amuse the eye as the food and drink amuse the tongue. Leave books of short stories about. Even foreign-language magazines would do. Picture books. Things that do not shout…there is enough of that going on as it is.

It’s All The Fault Of…

Of? Of whoever you don’t like. And that is the beauty of modern life; there are so many people that we know about that we can always have a scapegoat. Whenever we need to pin something onto someone, there will be a suitable person available. And there will be people who agree wholeheartedly with us.

A couple of classic examples: Putin and Trump. Ostensibly the leaders of the two most powerful military forces in the world. Possibly a couple of maniacs. Probably two people who are making it up as they go along. Whoever and whatever they really are, they can be the bogeymen for all of us whenever the complexity of the world starts to become evident. It’s all their fault…

The man of the dark ages or of the medieval world had no such easy human excuse. The villager or townsman might only know a couple of dozen other people in the world, and if none of them fitted the bill for a malefactor, then they would have to fall back upon the devil or supernatural spirits. A villain was needed, as will always be the case when people do not want to take responsibility for their own folly, but if your ville was very small you needed to go outside it.

Our media is really a blessing in this matter – every day it brings us stories of how bad it all is, and assures us that it will only get worse. It holds up the hoary head of the pirate/tyrant/media personality and invites us to spit at it. We duly expectorate according to expectation and all are happy. The media is served.

And it is served because of the fine people who sponsor the advertisements. Hate Trump? Buy these sunglasses. Sneer at Putin? Here’s a holiday advertisement.

Here’s a thought. If you hate Americans or Russians or people from Tierra Del Fuego…write down all the times that you have actually been injured by someone from that hated country. Be honest. Only the times of direct contact, eye to eye…

Can I have the other half of that sheet of paper that you’re not using? I wanna draw pictures of angels and devils on it…