Creative Baiting

For Master Baiters.

Some people are very good at what they do – embroidery, cooking, art, motor car maintenance. In the days of the medieval guilds they would have started as apprentices, become journeymen, and eventually progressed to being masters of their art or craft.

The art of angering people to mock them or to get them to support your political or religious view is known as baiting. The practitioners lay emotional or verbal traps for their opponents ( and most opponenetss are just supporters in waiting…) and try to make them fall into them. This can be as crude as name-calling or as sophisticated as an advertising agency campaign. Many effective baits are disguised as sensible statements that turn vicious at the end. Mein Kampf was full of this ploy.

” How would you feel if…” is one of the modern variations on the bait. It seeks to directly bypass thought and substitute emotion. There’s a good reason for this – thought is difficult to manipulate, but emotion is easy to steer. Once started, an emotional flood can wash away most thought, and once that has happened, the baiter can replace it with their opinion.

The Master Baiter will be careful not to go too far. Oh, I don’t mean too far in what they say – they might demand the destruction of the world in a sensible fashion with a straight face – but too far with the reaction of the victim. Once the target realises that they are not going to look good they may turn just away and deny the tormentor the pleasure. Or they may snap and attack the pest. This is the aim of many bullies who want to instigate a physical fight by taunts. But it can turn bad  – emotions sometimes steel the weakling far beyond what was expected, and the tables may be turned.

The safest course is to bite small, bite often, and bite a different part of the anatomy each time. No-one can scratch everywhere at once.

Sniper Nest

It is no longer necessary to tie yourself to a tree wearing a ghillie suit to be a professional sniper. Nor do you need to search out book depositories, grassy knolls, or water towers. You need not carry heavy firearms either – no more carefully swabbing barrels or weighing ammunition. You can shoot ’em dead from the comfort of your computer room.

We’re not talking about computer games as such – none of that video business like with an arcade game. This is actual assassination carried out on actual people. And the good thing is you won’t be punished for it, even if you are found culpable. You see, you shoot ’em in their reputation, not their rib cage.

The best practitioners of this skill have specific targets to deal with. Ex-husbands and ex-wives are the primary targets …as well as the primary shooters. They have either a long-standing grudge and animosity or a short-term goal in view; blackening the character of their former partner.

It can be done blatantly, with names, addresses, dates, and high-res pictures…but that does risk the lawyers battening upon it as defamation. More often it is done with memes, hints, and innuendo. As long as the sniper can hint to the observers know who the target is they count on formerly-mutual friends to convey the messages back. The disconnects that exist on the social media may  prevent the target from seeing the shots as they come and go, but someone can always send a screen copy to do the same thing.

The unfortunate part of this is the collateral damage – the people on social media who have to see the written fire fight and pretend to ignore it. Or  are lured to pour sympathy or scorn on one or other of the parties. In most cases people have enough traumas in their own lives without having to watch an artillery duel on their computer.

Modifying A Hoax – A Modest Proposal

The Facebook Hoax No. 135 has just surfaced again. You know, the one that tells you that you need to copy and paste something that looks like a legal document to prevent Facebook doing something. In this case it has been rigged to make you afraid that all your postings from the past -including pictures – will become the property of Facebook and that they can sell them off with no mercy.

Don’t be sad if you fell for it…people do fall for these sorts of thing. They come so close to our fears of either missing out or being targeted for lawsuit that we instinctively panic. The hoax – and hoax it is – then circulates further when the frightened individual cuts, pastes, posts, or does whatever other ritual the thing suggests. It is a good thing that the hoaxes do not involve hot soldering irons and ears or the emergency rooms would be full in a day.

Mind you, Weller would probably approve…and that’s where the BGA steps in. Note: the BGA frequently steps in it.

What we propose is that the maker of any product enter into a contract with us. ( pentacle, candles, dagger, etc. ) to promote their product. Whatever it is we analyse it and devise a way to tie it into the primitive portion of the reader’s brain. Then we craft a suitable meme or notice and start it out with our team of influenzers*. They insert it into their Facebook pages and direct it to the most gullible of their friends. From there it is transmitted for free  throughout the world, frightening people into buying and using the selected product.

It is not so much an advertising campaign as a form of social media terror. People will go faster if driven than lured and the faster they will go to the store with their wallet open, the better for the client. And remember that the BGA is ethical in this – we do not take a cut of the profits. Our fees are substantial, but one-time. In this we hold a higher moral position than the mafia.

*  So named because we spread internet hoaxes like a debilitating virus. You’re soaking in one now.

The Trolling Net

I check my net every week to see if I have caught my troll. Some weeks are disappointing but some are a bonanza if he snaps at the bait. I’ve gotten three bites a week in the high season.

You generally hear only bad things about trolls, but that is if they are only popping up on social media and writing irksome things to upset people. Of course that is what they always do, but you can convert the energy they put into nastiness to your own purposes.

Mine is advertising for a shop. I write three weekly columns for it with news of the goods and services that they sell. I get to put in humour as well and the occasional flight of fancy.

[Aside} Never stand under a Fancy when they are flying, particularly if they have had a greasy meal. You’ll never get the stains out.

Well, my troll reads the columns religiously – possibly between human sacrifice days. He erupts in a comment whenever some particular statement attracts his combative nature. The comment can come back as a return to the dashboard – which is an internal thing and not so useful – or it can be splashed on the Facebook page that repeats the column. That’s pay dirt.

You see, I get to see the figures for the readership hits on the main column and they spike whenever Trolly bleats. More people read the column, looking for the controversy, and more people then go on to browse the rest of the store’s website. This is a store that wants on-line trade and every time someone wanders down their electronic aisle it’s money in the bank.

I must confess, I have written a few columns in such a way as to provoke Trolly for just this purpose. Not many, but every so often…

He may be a nasty piece of work at home – I don’t know. He may be a sweetie, and the social star of his street. I just hope for his continued good health and bad digestion – he is the best straight man I have, troll or not.

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.

Can I Get My Virtue Changed? The Filter’s Clogged

I used to be such a nice little boy. Of course at the time Diefenbaker and Eisenhower were the leaders of Canada and the USA respectively and virtue was worth something.

You had to work pretty hard to be good in those days. I wasn’t allowed to smoke marijuana or crack cocaine and heroin was frowned on at the Boy Scouts. I was not allowed to steal mobile phones or cars and gang warfare was restricted to Chicago where it could be done by professionals.

Don’t get me wrong – being virtuous was not without its rewards – the chiefest being itself. That’s what they told us, anyway, and it probably saved a lot of money for our parents. Still, there was the occasional model airplane or candy bar in the offing so it paid to be nice. Kids who were virtuous got bibles to tell them they would be damned anyway and the occasional book about missionaries who were piously slaughtered. I could hardly wait to grow up and run as far away from the place as I could get.

Well, I did grow up and I ran to Australia – jut about at the time when virtue was being taken off the shelves as unsalable. I missed the early Swinging Sixties and was a disciplined student during the latter part of the decade. As a result I never learned to swing. I had to make do with marriage and a settled life  – in retrospect it seems to have been a good idea as I have not been confined to an institution or ruined, and most of my swinging parts still swing.

I do run foul of the Visibly Virtuous these days but it is less of a concern than I thought it would be. Television-virtue is as short-lived as any other entertainment on that medium – two seasons or less sees most people lose concentration on the leaders or movements that march across the screen. They only really revive in interest when the principals of whatever they are stand exposed by the hopefuls of the next cultural movement. And it’s movement after movement – rather like digestion, but on a less appetising scale.

One thing I’ve learned with social movements – never look in the pan. Press the button and wash your hands and just get on with it.

Dead Quiet

At the start of the current Viral Follies I noted a series of intense postings on social media from friends who wanted to educate us – to the dangers, what to do, how the world would be…

These seem to have disappeared, and I am curious. We live in a state that has had a very small Covid impact so far. So the very worst conclusion – that the social media experts have died from it – is not likely to be correct. Lord save us that this doesn’t happen to them in the future. But why are they silent?

Are they confident that official pronouncements are now sufficient to alarm and depress the population – and their own efforts would be superfluous? Or do they defer to those who have the official figures and can post them daily?

Have they been silenced? Some of them work in areas that spin closer to the virus than others…but they may have been told to not post on social media for some reason.

Have they lost interest? Have they decided that the dumb can die and the canny survive? I should not approve of that, but I do. Washing the dregs out of the pot occasionally means a cleaner social soup. But I wish to be able to decide who is dregs and who isn’t.

Don’t worry – if you are reading this and approve of me, you’ll be saved and washed clean. Promise.

” I’m Just A Sex Object To You…”

No, Dear, you’re not. Not any more. Not for a long time. Not since you found Facebook.

I fully admit that I did think of you as a sex object – and treasured the sight, sound, and smell of you upon that basis. I longed to add feel to the list… but that was before I was presented with your posts on the electronic screen – in between the phishing memes and the advertisements for perfumed stump pullers. Once I could contemplate your thoughts and explore the workings of your mind, I changed my regard for you.

Now I do not look upon you you as a sex object. I regard you as a floating object.

You float between whichever political pressure group has most traction at the time. Between who has grabbed the national television coverage for the last five minutes and who will grab it for the next. Your thoughts are precious – as much for their virtue as for their rarity. And I long for the day when you will feel successful and triumphant – and will feel no more need to complain.

Like nirvana, armageddon, or the end of the works on the Mitchell Freeway, I never really expect to see this state of affairs blossom. But I need something to pray for.

 

Your Emotional Laundry Is Ready For Collection

As a child in Canada I got used to the houses we lived in having a clothes drier. Not all of them did, but you could see why it was a pretty essential part of life if you didn’t have a basement with a furnace in it – you can’t hang wet laundry out on a Hills Hoist at -4º.

I loved the driers that were in the kitchens because I could play in there and get blasted by the warm air coming through the system. As the rest of the house might be heated by a furnace that sucked all the moisture out of the air, the laundry vapour was actually soothing.

These days we use the house clothes drier to supplement what can mostly be done on the line out back. Western Australia has more good drying days than not and I always figure I’m getting good value for no money by taking advantage of them. I wish I could say the same for that other staple of modern life: Facebook.

I appreciate the fact that sometimes people need to vent on Facebook. You open the page and there is a full rant about someone’s emotional grievances – whether you read it or not, at least the posting of it might have done them some good. But it gets a bit fraught when people are doing personal laundry 24/7 and running the loads through every day. You can only take so much warm, wet air with vague odours before you become  tired of it. Then you find yourself switching off or switching over. You start granting the laundry worker repeated 30-day vacations. And sometimes you just stop taking the service.

After all, you have your own wrinkles to iron out without having to scrub someone else’s life as well.

Special BGA Spring Sale! Don’t Miss Out!

The Guild is feeling like Spring! And we’re feeling like it early!

Okay, we normally spring on the unwary, but this is different. The Backstabbers Guild of Australia has been doing some Spring Cleaning ( even though it is winter in Australia) and we realised that we have an excess – a surplus, if you will – actually gobs of, heaps of, information about people. We propose to make this available to anyone who wants to target a group of suckers.

The information has come to us through our affiliation with Facebook. We have been sending out a series of physhing posts disguised as quizzes and harmless games and the response has been gratifying. People will tell you the most intimate details of their lives as long as they think you will reward them with praise. Or even interest.

We’ve got three divisions of goods for sale; political biases, sexual proclivities, and financial gullibility. You can purchase profiles of Australian citizens who would normally shrink with shame or at least bristle up defensively. And you can be sure that the sensitive data is 101% authentic – the poor boobs have advertised it themselves. No more paying for market surveys or private snoopers. These marks have marked themselves.

And they’ve done so under the sternest warnings from the police, the federal government, and the Guild itself. They just cannot help themselves – like bogans when a doughnut shop opens. Or lemmings when a cliff looms. Over they go.

The price for information on the public can be very economical. A few cents apiece if you buy in bulk. You may not be able to get into their bank accounts with the results of a ” Which flower are you? ” meme but you’ll know that they are susceptible to fatuous enquiry and with a little careful stalking you’ll eventually be able to ask ” Which account has the most money in it? ” and it won’t seem intrusive.

Trust us with this…