Living Life According To The Memes

If we visit social-media sites we are bombarded by memes. If we visit anti-social media sites the thing gets even more intense. Whether the one-liner is sweet or smarmy, it is waved in front of our noses as a guide to life. I’ve experimented with some of them and can report:

a. ” Pull Up Your Big-Girl Panties “.

I bought a three-pack of these from Target and found them fine around the house but a nuisance out in the rest of the town. They either ride down or up and neither direction is comfortable.

As for pulling some other big girl’s panties up or down, be prepared for a fistfight.

b. ” Just Do It “.

Apparently a slogan for a brand of running shoe. A sentiment that can be applied equally to playing a violin sonata or shooting down an airliner with a Nike missile. I should be careful to whom I said it…

c. ” If I Told You, I’d Have To Kill You “.

Thank you for the warning. I shall ask no further questions, nor listen to anything more you say – for fear of death. In fact I shall regard you as poisonous and warn others not to speak to you.

d. ” Never Give Up “.

Tell that to General Von Paulus’ troops.


” I Cant Believe It’s Not Butter…”

Be careful. Lack of faith in some cultures leads to being publicly stoned or burnt. If you can’t believe it’s not butter, you may be in danger from a posse of enraged dairy farmers.

Lack of faith in other matters is also serious. We are told constantly on the local old geezer’s radio station that certain advertisers are the most trusted people in their professions – in one case the trade is selling used motor cars and in the other boring holes in jaws and screwing in titanium implants. I note from the advertisements that the catchment area of faith is variable – one claims only Perth as their parish and the other expands the report of their pre-eminence to the whole of the country.

They may well be right, but I have no way of canvassing the entire population to find out if they do, indeed, trust the advertisers. I have to take it on trust…

Note: Didn’t the US government make a concerted effort to bust the trusts in the early part of the 20th century?

Being A Historian – Part Three – Once Upon A Time…

We’ve all seen the Facebook meme that says those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it – a somber thought. It is only when you look deeper into the matter that you discover there is a parallel Facebook post. It says that those who learn from historians are condemned to listen to them repeat it…in book after book after book.

There are many degrees of history:

  1. The stuff that really happened.
  2. The stuff that didn’t happen.
  3. The stuff that could have happened.
  4. The stuff that couldn’t have happened.
  5. The stuff you can get a doctorate and a series of grants for.
  6. The stuff that you can sell ever after to the right customers.

Note that for the right history salesman, these different departments can all be rolled into one. This is known as the Brothers Grimm school of history and can be very well paid if you and your brother can be grim enough and then get Disney to make an animated cartoon about it. Note: try to get Morgan Freeman to voice over your part. He’s terrific. If you can’t get him try for Judy Dench or Spongebob Squarepants.

History happening is generally a series of horrors, but as it ages it can be converted to something rather sweet. It’s almost like a fermentation process. If you let your re-telling of history sit long enough in a vat, you can get quite an intoxicating brew out of it. Heroes can be manufactured, as well as villains, and it doesn’t really matter which one triumphs in the end as long as you are telling the tale and someone is paying to listen. You can be paid for truth, lies, imagination, or anything in between.

Ask for cash…folding money. Tell ’em you’ll give them a receipt next time you see them and then leg it.

Experience Is No Substitute For Righteousness!

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.

Just Asking…Eh, Eh, Eh…

With the history of airliner shoot-downs – The Korean Boeing lost some years ago, the Malayan one over the Ukraine a few years ago, the loss of the second Malayan jet somewhere, and now the downing of a Ukrainian Boeing in Iran, I’m put to wondering several things:

  1.  Do Russian rockets have a safety switch or are they live all the time? If they do have a no-fire position on the controller, is it Soviet-era quality?
  2. Are the rocketeers on drugs? Some sort of amphetamine to increase their speed of response?
  3. Do Russian targeting systems not have an IFF function? Or is everyone else in the world considered an F?
  4. Was it necessary to fly out of the Tehran airport in the middle of an alert?
  5.  Was it deliberate? Was any of it deliberate?
  6.  Where was Jane Fonda at the time?

Of Course…

” 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.


The Grass Is Greener…

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.