Class Antagonism

New phrase to you?

It was to me until a chance posting on Facebook introduced it . I suspect the cartoon that used the words was written closer to Pyongyang than Seoul, but it’s hard to tell these days. The person who ” shared ” the post may well be in the know. I’m frightened to ask in case I get a dialectic up my nose.

It looks as though the dear old communist ideology is still being pressed upon the masses, though other dear old ideologies are frowned upon. And the brainwash departments are still very much in business. It’s gone a bit past the poster columns and agitprop trains but they know that they still have a wide audience for ” virtuous socialism ” amongst the disaffected. I’ll bet the campuses are still packed with the true believers who are ready to shout down anyone else.

Are there nests of right wingers in opposition to the red end of the spectrum? I have noted the occasional one on Facebook, but not to the same extent. Are there secret societies? Are the beer halls still putsching?

Perhaps it’s time to start pushing the buttons; hide, unfollow, defriend, spam alert, etc. I can get all the scolding I want from physical friends and identifiable family – no need to import it from strangers.


Are You A Secret Soviet Spy?

Take our simple quiz to find out.

a. Do you support Vladimir Putin?

b. If you answered ” yes ” you may go.

c. If you answered ” No “, drink this…

In spite of my cynicism about the Russians I have to admire the way they control what the rest of us see of them. It speaks of a large and effective machine to manage international press coverage. Of course it is matched by an equally efficient division that manages internal information – that has been a feature of the nation since well before the October revolution.

The various Czars’ police forces worked throughout their land on a regular basis, regardless of who was on the throne. You might regard them as sort of social gardeners – weeding out any opposition. They had it easier in the 19th century – the monarchy was single-minded who the enemy was and could apply constant pressure. They were wrong to do it but right in their perception of the threat. It eventually bit them in the ass and shot them in the basement.

The current Czar has been on the throne for some 20 years or so, and has made arrangements to continue for the foreseeable future. The peasants support him as they are generally uncomfortable with short-term change. He also has the support of the orthodox church, as he allows them to have the souls of the peasants and a dip of the coffers every now and then. The aristocrats support him as he does not enquire into their souls and allows more dips, more often. The military support him because he will let them buy more sabres and rattle them. He’s also found them a soft target that they can shoot up to their heart’s content.

There is a small matter of the occasional poisoning of an opposition politician…but this is done on a far less frequent basis than the old Stalinist purges or the Romanov pogroms. So, apart from the EU and the BBC squalling, it can largely be ignored.

Well, that cleared that up. I’m glad my cynicism has gone away. I think I’ll have a vodka and tonic.

Adapted From The Novel Of A Different Name

With an entirely new plot. And characters that the original author would have been ashamed to think up. Now brought to you on any screen that will take it by an actor who cannot get hired by anyone else other than himself.

If you thought that ” singer-songwriter ” were the most frightening words in the English language, let me horrify you further.

” actor-director “.

Or worse…

” actor-director-producer “…with their own studio and the backing of a semi-religious organisation. Let us hope the film is about the making of sausages because with a business and artistic model like this one can certainly expect the wurst.

I am accustomed to seeing real writers lured to Holly, Dolly, or Bollywood to churn for the studios. Churn out novels, scripts, re-writes, butter, stomachs…whatever. They have long wailed their piteous complaints about it as they pocketed the cash and we’ve seen some reasonable novels and a funny movie made about it. But so far we haven’t an actor-director-producer-studio combination with the nerve to admit their sins that clearly. It needs another Spinal Tap fake doco to put the put the wunderkindern and wunderaltern in real perspective.

Or at least CGI them smooth…


” I Obey A Higher Law…”

When anyone starts telling you this it’s a signal to keep saying ” Nice Doggie” while feeling behind you for a rock.

The ” Higher Law ” is something they have thought up to circumvent the lower ones – the ones used by the police and magistrates. The ones that start out with written state and federal statutes. Occasionally they will try to attach this to some phrase that you have heard; Magna Carta, a constitution, or some pronouncement by a cult out of California, Montreal or Switzerland.

The ” Higher Laws ” or HL’s for short, will be adjusted to whatever they want to get away with but there will be some features in common:

a. They will be based upon the authority of someone who has a vaguely biblical name – or a markedly Asian one. They will have started the cult and are reaping the benefits of the sale of the books ( $ 39.50 each ) and sacred blessed holy vibrational eco-friendly piece of paper or plastic bangle.

b. The cult will be making a motza and the cult leader will have a numbered account in Zurich.

c. As well as money… sex, food, and self hypnotism will be involved. Of all these, the money is the most important  – it is what the HL’s are meant to generate. Make no mistake – even if the HL’s promise that all will be wealthy, the flow of money is always bound for the Alps.

e. The HL’s, cult, and leader will last for only so long – then either explode into factional fighting or implode into murder. The Swiss bankers will carefully monitor the account and respond to whoever can quote the number. There will be a fee for that, stated clearly on the outside of the bank.

I’ll Tell You A Secret

But I won’t realise I’m doing it.

Just follow my posts on Facebook that ” share ” other messages. I will post them thinking I am telling you a great deal about the state of the world. In reality I’ll be telling you a great deal about the state of me.

I may not actually be a great deal…or even in a great state. But I will have provided either enticement or warning by re-posting whatever has come lately to my attention. You can agree with me, in which case you enter into the Blessed Lands Of Joy…or you can disagree with me, in which case I get to damn and blast you. To be honest, I prefer the latter to the former as it gives me more opportunity to vent my spleen. You can build up a lot of pressure in a spleen these days and any opportunity to release it is welcome.

Of course, things may change. I may become happier. I might find love, or at least sex. I might find $ 20 in an old coat pocket. I might lose 10 kilos and fit into my jeans. In the event of any of these, I will start to share happier memes and I expect you to like them just as much as you did the nasty ones.

Otherwise there will be trouble. I many not know where you live, but I do know where you socially post.

You’re Entitled To Your Opinion

At least here you are. We live in a free country that will let you think what you like. You can also say what you like…but with a few restrictions to prevent harm to others. By and large it is a good system and altogether a good country.

But note: the freedom you exercise to think and speak is also granted to everyone else. And it goes further – we have a great deal of freedom to listen to what you say, to commit it to memory, and to think about it.

We are allowed to agree or disagree with you… and within certain limits to let you know that we do. And you, more or less, have to put up with either decision.

Which conflicts with the attitude and pronouncements of some people in the chattering classes. They form groups, collectives, and cabals that try to silence any dissent or disagreement. As these can be found in schools, universities, cultural institutions, and businesses, it can destroy the very freedom of speech that they cry for.

The humorous part of this – if hypocrisy is humour – is that they will insist that they be allowed public display and disruption to push their barrow.

Is there an answer to it all? Well, you’re reading it. the weblog column. The internet posting. It can be read by all – it can be criticised by all – it can be ignored by all. It hardly ever garners a legal protest or challenge and mostly just hangs around in electronic space to embarrass or discredit decades later.

Another answer would be a Speaker’s Corner in a central public park that could be open to all for untrammelled oratory. Of course that would mean that the speakers and listeners would have to abide by rules of conduct. We may be too far down the road to either political correctness or political chaos for that. Plus it would need two cops to oversee the venue.




The Audience

Everyone who presents something to an audience hopes for a good one – but the nature of what they are doing sometimes needs markedly different receptors. Here is a guide to what to aim for.

a. If you are putting out a political message, try to get your supporters in the audience and gee them up to squeal and hoot whenever the television cameras are turned on. It is a technique that is as old as history, and just as vile.

If you can locate anti-aircraft searchlights, line them up on the stage either side of you. Arrange the audience in a large rectangle in front of you. Leave adequate aisles that will allow marching groups to move forward at suitable intervals with banners held high.

Get a good cinematographer to film it for you. It’ll be a triumph…It will…

b. If you are putting forward an altogether more spiritual message, try to have suitable acolytes arranged in pods in front of you, waving like sea grass in a warm current. If they refuse to wave, club them until they do.

Incense, sitar music, and free drugs are also a good ploy. Be mysterious and Eastern. If you are brown, you’re down…

c. If you need laughs – like a drug addict needs a hit – aim for Catskill stand-up in front of an audience that knows the jokes already. Give them a buffet with shrimp and you have them in the palm of your hand. Remember that schmaltz will make everything move slicker.

d. If you can arrange for an audience that is comprised of equal portions of offendable millennials, semi-Red academics, and lapsed Methodists, you can gain notoriety and publicity by reading a phone book. Or a tram ticket. Anything you say will be wrong, and as you are starting from such a reliable base, you can actually say anything you like.

This is the dream audience – you can cast the truth upon them and watch them writhe. You can lie shamelessly to them and get the same reaction. You can stand there silent and whip them with their own tortured guilt.

Knock yourself out.

Permanently Wrong

Are you in danger of becoming permanently wrong? Take this simple test to find out:

a. Are you male or female or not? If you can say yes or no to any of these three, mark your scorecard with a ten.

b. Look at the colour of the skin on your right forearm. If it is any shade between palest white to deepest black mark another ten on your scorecard. Then look at your left forearm – if it is 15 shades darker than the right one you might consider not driving with your arm out the window. Reverse this in the UK, Australasia, Singapore, and Japan.

c. Are you old enough to vote? Mark another ten.

d. Did you vote? Ten again.

e. Do you hold a religious belief of any kind, or do you avoid any belief? Ten again, and now you can add up your score.

You should have 50 points. This proves that you are wrong. If you have less it proves you are wrong and dishonest, and if you have more than 50 it indicates that you are stupid.

How do we know? We have the internet, social workers, political parties, teenagers, and the leaders of think tanks to tell us so. No good you protesting that you can live your life perfectly well with whatever shape, size, colour, or ethnicity you have – you are wrong, and must be made to pay for your error.

The payment will be in guilt ( we’ll tell you what you are guilty of ) and fear ( again depend on us for this ) and money. The money will produce justice for everyone whom you have wronged. We’ll keep it in Switzerland or the Cayman islands so it is safe.

Pay up.


A Picture Isn’t Worth 1000 Words

Because frequently the picture is taken out of context and used to propagandise for some particular purpose. Don’t be shocked – there are people in the world who wish to force you to beliefs that you might otherwise find abhorrent – and they are not above making false shows to do it.

Of course they might also be trying to bring enlightenment and truth to you… but have been prevented by a stampede of unicorns… So they grab a picture from the internet, attach a jeering commentary, and ” share ” it to your social media page. You need not thank them for it, unless you are in the habit of being polite to tape worms.

I must admit, shamefacedly, that I have done this as well. I have poked fun at dictatorial regimes by seizing upon their propaganda posters and re-titling them. I dare not show my face in a number of Asian capitols for fear of the thought police. Come to think of it, I need to stop away from any number of friend’s houses for the same reason.

Can you write 1000 words? Can you write them to support a political or religious belief? You probably can if you went through the secondary or tertiary education system. There you were given assignments to think about and set essays to write in support of your opinions. You would not have been rewarded for just clipping a picture and writing a smarmy caption. If you could exercise discipline and follow the school model then, you can do it now.

By all means promote your favourite cause or rail at your favourite dictator – but do it with your own words and not with those of others. And especially do not try to do it with video innuendo. That’s cheap without being cheerful.

As Opposed To What?

I shall set up my small wood lathe and turn a truncheon out of hardwood. Sanded, sealed, and polished, with a small brass plaque bearing the title of this essay; ” As Opposed To What? “. I shall carry it with me wherever i go. And when someone tries to tell me, sell me, or smell me, I shall strike them with it.

The number of times I do this will depend on how repetitive they are in their plaint.

All day long I read advertisements from people outside my reach. The newspaper, computer screen, and social media are always telling me what to think or what to buy. I can do nothing about this save binning the rags, blocking the posts, and snoozing the monomaniacs. But when they approach me in person I will have my trusty truncheon o’ cynicism handy in my pocket. As Mae West might have put it…it isn’t a pistol but I’m still glad to see you.

Every shill who wants to extract a shilling – every zealot who wants me as an acolyte – every fellow traveller who wants me as a useful idiot – will be fair game for the T 0′ C. I shall invite them to join the club by the most direct means…

Now, what was it you wanted to tell me?