Ritual Murder

Don’t be too shocked – I am not up to dark deeds dressed in ceremonial robes. I am not even dressed in my bathrobe.

Perhaps I should have phrased it better …” Rituals Are Murder “. There, that’s a little less sensational and a little closer to my true feelings. I hate rituals.

In that word you can include religious practices, state ceremonies, time-honoured academic behaviour – both foolish and solemn, and pretty much every other form of official theatre.

I do not decry actual behaviour, procedures, checklists, and anything else that has a real purpose over and above self-indulgent show. Mounting the guard at Buckingham Palace is a ritual but it has a basis in utility. At least I hope it does…I would be terribly sad to think that the troops’ rifles were unloaded. And that they could not let off a few down The Mall occasionally.

Likewise, I would not deny others what comfort they might take from their rituals, as long as I am not compelled to stand there and solemnly nod, kneel, or publicly weep in unison with them. I am prepared to meet them half-way as long as it is in the lounge bar of the hotel and the ritual is long over.

Will I ever make a public figure? No, because I should not be able to stand the pressure of ritual. At some point I would fall out, break wind, and slope off to the pub.

Advertisements

Not So Much The Nudity…

As the shrieking…but then I have not attended that many church services or shareholder’s meetings to know whether it was normal procedure. I’m guessing not, if the reaction of the guard dogs and their handlers was any indication.

I will say that it was entertaining to a certain point. The music was nice, for a harpsichord, and the lighting was actually well done. I thought the follow spot on the guillotine was a real bit of theatre. I appreciate lighting.

But there comes a time when you start to wonder what reaction is expected of you. I mean, apart from buying a chocolate ice cream or a big orange drink at the snack bar. I try to limit myself to a small box of chocolate-covered raisins as I never carry more than $ 50 cash anywhere. In the past I have been known to sneak a candy bar into the show in my pocket but I think they scan the seats with an IR scope to detect this…

In any case, I appreciate it when they have a placard out the front stating when the actual sacrifice is to take place, so that if you need to go to the toilet, you do not miss out on the cutting or the blood spurts. I’ve been to these things before and timed it wrong…and it just seems like an anticlimax if you get back into your seat and there is nothing to see but entrails and a guy with a mop.

I think that these affairs are getting better since the 70’s. Now that the old-school promoters are retired there is a more modern feel about it all. Gone are the days of the hatchet. Now you can do twice as much in half the time with an electric chain saw from Bunnings and the pace is much faster. I’ll bet the cleanup crew are happier too, what with the pressure-wash Karcher units and modern detergents.

 

Do You Go To Church?

…asked the Muslim social worker of the old Jew in his living room, as she filled out a form for aged care assistance…

Really one of the oddest exchanges that I have had recently. The form seems to have the logo and imprimatur of the Australian federal government in a special department for the aged, and a logo from another organization that may offer help. In this case the help they offered seems to be a booklet and a note that my goal is to get my injured leg back to good health.

From the church question, I am assuming it is a pious hope…

As no more was done all week, at my latest visit to the physician, he short circuited the whole departmental rigmarole by ringing up the local chemist to see if they sold pressure bandages. They did, I called in and bought one, and pulled it on myself. We’ll be checking in a week to see that healing is progressing.

In the meantime I will keep my phone on and my ears open for the assistance that the bureaucratic department will offer. But I shall not hold my breath. Nor expend it singing hymns, for that matter…

Things I Never Write About

While I have treated of many topics here on ” Here All Week ” over the past six years, there are some that I do not deal with. Others may approach them, but I do not feel myself qualified to comment. Certainly I do not think I could make things better.

a. Suicide.

I have known a number of suicides in the last few decades. All of them had a history of distress, but few of their acquaintances knew to what depth it went. Two instances were reported truthfully, and one was clothed in deception.  One I have decided to believe the report, though I strongly suspect it. In the end it is all the same.

b. Adultery.

Is that still a thing? It would be for me, but I may be living in a parallel universe. I should not know how to deal with it, in any case.

c. Family abuse.

I recoil from it when I hear, and wish never to hear more…but for the sake of the victims, there are occasions when it should be boldly and openly discussed. I can offer cake and sympathy but sometimes I have no idea what to say. Have some more cake…

d. Extremist politics and religion.

I can stand a certain amount of Trump-bashing or Morrison-bashing before I react, and the reaction is mild anyway. I also grit and grim ( as opposed to grip and grin ) when I see racism, sinophobia, or xenophobia tricked up in pseudo patriotism and generally just let it through to the keeper…in the knowledge that no-one wants to keep it anyway. I am inclined to ignore ignorance.

I do not react well in other areas – when someone decides to be anti-Semitic or anti-American thinking it to be kewl. But I have been able to rein in my replies reasonably well – the 30-day snooze button on Facebook has been a godsend. But, like a snooze button on a clock radio, you can only press it so many times before you decide to just unplug the damn thing and throw it away.

Note: I am more aware these days of the psychological consequences of associating with idiots and ratbags, and seek to reduce this to a minimum. If Facebook friends are still able to read this as a shared message, they may take it as a favourable endorsement of their characters. Otherwise…

 

 

 

SIn For The Sinless – On Being An Armour-Piercing Saint

If you are pretty well free of sin and error – like Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, or the Pope – you may feel that going to confession is a bit of a waste of time. Oh you might scrape up something like inattentiveness or the vague desire to take a third tea-cake, but you’ll be scrapping to interest the confessor on the other side of the grill. If you irk them they’ll just tell you to go and get blessed…

None of us are that good, but still, many of us have never set fire to an orphanage or touched a supporter of the Democratic Party in an inappropriate manner…and thus we struggle to make a meaningful confession or profession. We hesitate to attend. The BGA business model will change that.

We welcome news of sin and malignancy, but in the BGA booth you need not tell your own. You are free…and indeed encouraged…to tell that of others. The wider your vision of the faults of humanity can range and the more accurate and detailed your information can be, the quicker you can get out of the booth and the higher your standing with the Guild will be. To put it frankly, if you can bring us the goods, you need not pay the gold coin. In some cases it can be quite the opposite…

We all know people who do the right thing by others. Let us forget them for the present. Now concentrate on your friends and relations who really DO have something to hide – tell us all about them. We’ll even allow you a little leeway in the matter of strict truth if the story is juicy enough.

If there is one thing we have learned from the internet and social media, it is the elasticity of truth…

Of course we are prepared to grant you absolution, insofar as it is in our power to do so. Which is pretty well not at all. But the great thing is that you will have been enabled to traduce, calumniate, denigrate, and defame those of whom you disapprove from the safety of an anonymous structure in a public place. And with no consequences – save the occasional beating with a suggested post.

As we said – if there is one thing we have learned from the internet and social media, it is that we have learned two things…

 

The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia – A Guide To Salvation Through Publicity

We mentioned the Catholic confessional yesterday but forgot to say that it is considered to be a sacrosanct thing. The admissions that people make in there are generally supposed not to be blabbed about by the priests. This has lead to a number of melodramatic Hollywood movies and even more melodramatic government enquiries and media reports all over the world. And that has given the BGA an idea.

We are going to introduce a variation upon the institution of the confessional but with a few operational differences:

a. The BGA version will be available in more places – not confined to the premises of a church or cathedral. BGA booths will be set up in railway stations, shopping malls, and sports arenas. In country towns they will be attached to the pub or the petrol station. The Guild has a long-term aim to make sure that no Australian is more than 500 metres from a BGA booth wherever they live in the country.

b. BGA booths will be manned by a trained counsellor, though in some cases the training that they have received may be in naval gunnery, bartending, or double-entry book keeping. In any case they will be people who are prepared to sit there and listen. They will be paid, of course.

c. The booths will be properly curtained, with a darkened interior and a grillwork between the impenitent and the professor – we’ve learned that much psychology from the church. People will only start talking when they feel safe. Or when they are full of sodium pentothal. Curtains are cheaper than hypodermics.

d. The booths will have an internal sound tube and megaphone attached so that the sounds created inside are amplified and sent out over the surrounding area. We were contemplating a modern microphone/amplifier/speaker system but the technical experts pointed out that the power requirements and maintenance would make this impractical – certainly if we are to have a large network.  And the costs involved would push the project well over budget.

e. There will be no time limits set upon the BGA booths – neither frequency of attendance nor time inside speaking into the tube. There will be a hook provided in the counsellor’s tool kit to allow them to remove people who are just in there sleeping or making a nuisance of themselves. In really troublesome areas no seating will be provided apart from a central spike.

f. Most of the BGA booths will have a charity box attached to them. It will swing in on a steel hinge once the curtain is pulled across and will not swing back out of the way until a gold coin is dropped into the slot. There are fishooks set in the slot of the box to make sure that voluntary contributions go in and not out.

But enough of the mechanics of the booths. Read tomorrow to see how the BGA professional will help the people.

 

The Confessional And The Professional – A Modest BGA Proposal

Or ” How To Give Yourself Absolution In Three Easy Lessons “.

Faithful Catholics have a really good feature built into their choice of church – it includes an untimed private session with a trained psychologist every week. They can get whatever they want off their chest and the person who counsels them about it does not go out and instantly write an article for a learned journal from what they have heard.

In many cases the counsellor gives good advice and the person using the service goes away feeling better for it. Of course they may also go off with a giant flea in their ear and the obligation to perform good deeds on a massive scale.

Good stuff, but you need a big infrastructure to support it – a complete church building, a wooden box with two cubicles and curtains, and someone willing to sit there in the dark listening to you blather onwards without giving in to the desire to reach around to your side of the curtain and punch you. This may be a big ask these days. I propose that we substitute a WordPress special app for the normal Catholic procedure – and that we all make use of it.

Note: I wondered if any of the other religions had a similar procedure in place, but as I am not a member of what Tom Paine referred to as the Jew church or the Turk church…or any of the other organisations…I cannot say. The Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and other eastern groups may have similar arrangements.

I do know that I used to tell my sins to my mother when I was a kid and she gave out vigorous absolution with a rubber cake spatula. To this day I cannot pass the kitchen drawer containing the baking implements without a sense of trepidation. Morality has many a strange fount…

But enough speculation; gather up your sins and peccadillos and have them ready for tomorrow when the Backstabbers Guild of Australia shows you the way to salvation.