What Do You Do After You Lift The Flat Rock?

Or in this case, what do you do after someone makes a particularly inappropriate political posting on a social media site?

Conventional manners suggest that you just ignore it. Sex, politics, and religion being the topics that are socially awkward at parties, they are avoided by the polite. But social media is sometimes occupied by the less-than-polite. The horrifying thing is when you discover that someone you  invited as a Facebook friend was willing to bring crass propaganda posts in and plaster them up. it’s like seeing fascist or communist banners unfurled at a cocktail party.

I may have done the wrong thing in the heat of the moment by responding with a comment that jeered at the propaganda. This might result in the original poster taking umbrage and cutting the connection. Awkward – it is a person I will see in the future at social events. I predict chilly atmospheres a’coming.

Well, so be it. I need no preaching or teaching from the marxists or the fascists. I can lead my own social revolution with the BGA. We do not march in the streets but we do lurk on street corners and spit into the gutter.

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I Used To Wonder But The Internet Cured Me Of Asking Questions

I have heard the internet described as a series of interconnected rabbit holes – you go down one in search of something and are decoyed into a side tunnel that delivers you somewhere else. That is, if you are not distracted in this second tunnel and head down a third one…

If this were the case it would be no worse than a set of encyclopedias. We possessed a set of World Book Encyclopedias when I was a child – probably provided by my maternal grandfather – and they were the greatest source of indoor entertainment I had. They even surpassed toys and other books, as they had actual facts in them, rather than bunny rabbits and fairy stories.

Of course, as a particular set of encyclopedias, they were as biased as their American publishers could make them. Had they been Encyclopedia Britannica or some Russian version translated into English, they would have been equally skewed to their countries of origin, but the young readers who resorted to them on rainy days would not have recognised that. An encyclopedia , like a dictionary, has that air of divine authority that makes heresy of any other thought.

Well that’s gone. I still have a set of World Book, got in the 1980’s, and it is very much the same product that it was in the 50’s. I do love it for the country and state facts it presents and you cannot do too much with basic chemistry or physics, but Oh Dear, the politics. And the dated views of major cities.

Is there ever going to be an authoritative encyclopedia of knowledge any more within cardboard covers? Or is it all to be updated-by-the second internet references that are supposedly reviewed for accuracy by…by…wait a minute…

The guy who was reviewing them. Isn’t he banged up in an embassy somewhere? I wonder if he would like some reading material while he is in stir? I’ve got a complete set of the World Book he can have.

 

I Want To Buy A Conspiracy Theory For Christmas

I mean, I’ve got a camera and an iPad and a whole cupboard full of new underwear and socks…so I’m running out of ideas for a Christmas gift. I met a conspiracy theorist a few days ago at a social club BBQ and he seemed to be having so much fun being suspicious of everyone, that I thought it would make a nifty present.

I’m not going to be ambitious – I don’t need world domination or global catastrophe or anything like that. I am prepared to start small – perhaps something that involves the reduction in the size of chocolate bars or toasters that secretly report your bread use back to General Electric via wi-fi. A conspiracy that involved a holiday in a nice resort would be good. I could sit there on a deck chair with a fruit cocktail and glower at people.

Hell, I glower at people at the mall – the tropical version would be a doddle.

A Source Of Pride And Comfort

Looking for something in your life that you can be proud of and that can console you for the little heartaches can be difficult – it is hard to judge things that have no measurable number. You can tot up your score in Bridge or at a firing range, but it is hard to post a personal best in contentment.

Still, I have to say I am feeling good about my recent activities on Facebook…

a. I cancelled out a dozen suggested posts and advertisements without telling the auto-bot why. This means I am still a vague target. Oh, it won’t stop the cycle from happening again, and there will be a new spate of probing shots, but they will all fall dead to the ground.

Moral? Tell ’em nothing, ask ’em nothing.

b. I allowed a most foolish posting from a most foolish friend to pass with no reaction – realising that it was nothing more than a product of extraneous time squeezed through a limited imagination. When things get busy for them, this sort of thing dries up.

c. I ignored the coarsest of political re-posts. Why comment on a third-hand thought that was no good to start with? One would not pick up a discarded half-chewed sandwich from the gutter for any purpose, so why do it with anything else?

d. I refrained from showing wounds, prizes, precocious children, or pets. There was a brief temptation to include a video of a working digestion system but I resisted. If people want to look at that sort of thing they can get a bowl of soup and a mirror and make their own experiments.

e. I refrained from mysticism…because the spirits told me so.

f. I didn’t not correct no-one’s grammar or spelinge.

g. I went to bed at a reasonable hour. Drunk, mind, but in my own bed. Well, it’s a start, isn’t it? I’ll change the sheets tomorrow. Before they set solid.

 

 

The National Day – Part One – Cooking Up Trouble

I have been googling like mad this morning  – looking at national days that are celebrated in many nations. So far I’ve hit up Mexico, Russia, Denmark, Croatia, and a few others. The results are all out there for you to see so wiki it up yourselves.

Most of the national days are related to the establishment of…wait for it…a nation. An actual nation – with a declaration of independence from everyone else. They often fozzle about with it in a poetical manner  – some have a cry of independence or a mob assault upon a royal prison or some such. Others just get the wisest people they can in one place and state their piece. In any event, you can date your regard for whichever current nation to this starting point when they declare independence from someone or something.

Here in Australia we characterise January 26th as a national day, but it devolves from the first landing of a colonising fleet with a governor – Arthur Phillip –  in what is now New South Wales. Probably with the dear old Union jack and file of marines, with jolly tars pulling the boats up upon the beach. Refer to your historical paintings and see if I’m right.

The local indigenous people at the time could do little to hinder it, and have not had much luck hindering his successors – though now they have writs instead of wooden spears and can throw them further. But they do keep asking for the national day to be shifted from that landing day – seeing it as an insult to themselves.

Their protests draw counter protests from people who are not indigenous and who do not want to be forced to change their ways on the basis of this protest. There are more than two sides to the thing and all the sides have lawyers and publicists.

Now I am going to take sides…read my next post to see which one…

 

 

 

Don’t Shoot The Wireless Broadcaster…

Because we aren’t playing the piano. We’re just the guys with the microphones and the transmitter.

The best of us plug the set in, turn it on, and stand back as the world makes its own noise. We pause every now and then to sell soap flakes or water pumps but even these are pre-made lies supplied to us by advertising agencies. We don’t add anything ourselves.

Of course the worst of us try to be the power behind the throne…to tell you who to vote for and scold you if you didn’t obey us. We’ve got a great deal of scolding power, as we are the ones with the microphones and the transmitters…as mentioned before.

But have a little sympathy here – The space behind the throne is rather crowded – we’re elbowing away university professors, multi-billionaires, and dubious reverend activists. Some of them have brought their followers with them and the sight is not pretty…neither are many of the followers. We are constantly bombarded with offers to buy our good opinion, but no-one seems to offer cash.

At least we have the Freedom Of The Press to protect us from the Freedom To Suppress . This latter freedom is most often exercised in Asian, African, and latin countries, as well as Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and it is exercised by the people who are in power there.

Some say it makes a broadcaster’s job harder, but we find it can be soothing in many cases. It’s a lot easier to read a daily bulletin from The Ministry in a clean studio than to go out and ask awkward questions in a dirty street. Around about election/coup/succession time it can get a little iffy when you have to guess who will be holding the keys to the manacles for the next few years, but we find canned music and talk shows about preserving jams to be a great filler during the interim. ” A Walk In The Black Forest ” is a great tune to play at this time.

We have also been asked when we are going to bring back the good old serials to the air – those multi-part thrillers that depended upon great acting and superb sound effects to rivet the listener to the wireless at the same time each day for months. Actually we have been doing this for years, but disguising the things as news broadcasts. You thought those politicians you love or hate were real? Ha ha.

I’m Offended

I’m offended:

a. That you have posted a picture of the American president. It doesn’t matter whether you love him or hate him…it just gives me an opportunity to be offended, and I’m going to take it. Had you not posted one, I would be equally offended.

I’m a double-acting scream engine…

b. That you are a different race/religion/sex than I am. And that you know it. And are not apologetic for the fact. Not that I would be prepared to accept an apology from the likes of you…

c. Because of history. Not yours or mine, as such…just history. Oooh that history!

d. That you think I am a fool. And that being a fool is somehow wrong…or foolish. I have a constitutional right to be a fool and you are required to validate my folly. I’ll sue you if you don’t validate me. And then I’ll sue your lawyer – and mine for good measure.

e. Aww, C’mon. At least validate my parking ticket. I’ve been here for an hour.

f. That you do not respect the flag. Or the badge. Or the coupon, post-it note, or phone number that my uncle wrote down on the wall.

g. Continuously. 24 hours a day all through the year. It’s a calling and a profession and I am proud to be angry at you all the time. For God’s sake don’t do anything nice or I’ll look bad…

h. That you have taken offence…at anything. Least of all, at me. Leave that alone. That’s my schtick. Get your own. You’re culturally appropriating me with your eyes. My culture is up here…

i. Because of what you said. Even if you did not say it, I read it on a Facebook meme. You could have said it. Shame on you.

j. Because all my friends are offended and it would be offensive not to join with them.

k. By statues. I’ve already got rid of Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest and I’ve got my sights on the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens. Friedrich the Great in Potsdam and the Sphinx had better watch out, too.

l. Because there’s a lot of good free stuff you can get if you make enough of a fuss.

m. Because there’s a lot of bad stuff you can avoid being found responsible for if you make enough of a fuss.

Note: This column was not meant to cause offence. Or, for that matter, defence. Perhaps if you are offended and defensive right now you may be reading the wrong writer.