” You’re Behind The Times “

Wait. Does that mean I’m not up to date with the current memes and buzz words? Or that I’m actually responsible for the world’s political and economic mess?  Make yourself clear.

It’s certainly true to say that I look with fondness upon the manners and mores of previous generations. And in some cases that goes a long way back. I’m not going to say I support slavery or witch burning, but I do like the idea of following the basic structure of Georgian England…as long as I can be upper or middle class. I should make a decent gentleman… if I could get the wool.

As far as being party to the latest on-trend socially-influenced electronic micro-meme, I must regretfully decline. I have seen the things that the social media put up as hip, hep, and high fashion and I really want none of them. So little actually resonates with life and good manners. I don’t deny social media writers the right to be crass, stupid, and ridiculous, but I refuse to reward them with praise for it. Be foul, but be prepared to be called out.

I’ve tried living in the past before – wearing the clothing of long-dead periods and sometimes even practicing the manners of the past. Most of it didn’t succeed – but there was always a core of good behaviour that was timeless. Stick to that and every age, as well as every culture, is open to you.

Note: As far as being guilty of whatever new social crime you would like to invent, I not only refuse to plead, but I refuse to even consider you to be an accuser, let alone judge. Do yourself a favour and don’t attract my attention. You wouldn’t like me when I am kind…

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.

The Moral Pea And Thimble Game

Or ” Now you see it, Now you don’t, It’s all the fault of the Prime Minister…”

But don’t you worry, Folks. As soon as we get the set adjusted you can go back to hating Trump again. This is just a temporary technical malfunction.

Well, the UK election is over, and the verdict is in – and all the British voters will get to share in passing the sentence. I believe the Queen is preparing a black cap to wear for her opening of Parliament. It will also come in handy when she has Christmas dinner with Prince Andrew. Hint: don’t sit too close to the carving knives, Andy…

It will be interesting to see whether trendy Australian social commentators pick up on the UK election in the way they did the last US one. And in the way that they never do for Canada, India, South Africa, Andorra, Iceland or anywhere else. I do not blame them for this lack of interest-  they only respond to the prompts from the media, after all. If it becomes politic for them to be whipped into outrage or ecstasy, the mechanism is in place and needs only to be switched on.

For myself, I shall be very interested to see how the negotiations to remove Great Britain from the clutches of the Continentals conclude. I would be all for fortifying the coast, dynamiting the Channel Tunnel, and starting nightly bombing raids over the enemy capital, but I doubt the Belgian Air Force has enough planes to do the job efficiently.



The Dating Site

I do not concern myself with dating sites. I am married and have been for 47 years. And 47 years’ll date you, I can tell you now…

But I am acquainted with people who have participated in this sort of electronic crown and anchor wheel. They are the equivalent of optimistic gamblers, right up to the point when they get thrown out into the car park. They bring much the same attitude to the dating site.

Of course this sort of thing is not new – mail order brides and husbands have existed ever since people learned to write lying letters. And in the old days, the process was dead serious. Both parties knew that the business of acquaintance, courtship, love, and marriage was likely to be written in a Sears catalogue – not a romantic novel. They both invested everything they had in whatever they got.

Now it seems a lot lighter in tone – and a lot more automated. I am told there are dating apps for your mobile phone and you peruse a menu or a womenu and take your pick. At the same time, the pick is looking at your picture and trying to see around the Instagram filter to find out if you have both ears on one side of your head. You are allowed to swipe right or left. Presumably the thing is not so advanced that you put coins in and the loved one drops out of a slot on the phone, but designers are always at work…

Is it romantic? In a way, yes…because the amount of footling and distortion that goes on with internet images means that anything you see is about 146% fantasy. You are mooning over pixels.

Is it practical? Possibly…if you advertise the desire for a stinker of a mate, I’ll bet you’ll get one. Can’t complain about the service there.

Is it safe? No. If you wanted safety you could sit at home and read a book about it.

Is it fun? I don’t know. Fun may have changed somewhat in 47 years and I might be using a very old operating system. Don’t ask me to update it.

Playing The Game For Dislikes

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the other electronic three-card monte games have one thing in common*. They reward you with the ” likes” of other subscribers. As you are human, you grow to desire more of these likes…and you put more of yourself out there to gain them.

Sometimes you succeed – and there are a number of websites and blogs that teach you just what to write to stimulate the flow.  And ou can pay people to boost your likes.

I think this is a little like paying people to twiddle your knobs. You get the knobs twiddled but that’s your joy – theirs is the money you part with. It’s a trade-off to get off. Just don’t expect a receipt that will satisfy the Tax Office…

I propose to start an instruction course  – through the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia, of course  – to help social media users get a more valuable feedback – the ” dis” like. I don’t know if there’s a special symbol that the readers press to indicate this, but there are plenty of the little emoji signs that can serve. We want to get a healthy stream of disapproval started.

I’m sure there is a need for it – else why would we see such a fuss about the American presidency or the latest popular cult figure. There is a deep wellspring of complaint in most people on the computer and we can tap into that. But what do we, as  social writers, get from this?

  1. Truth. Where the “like ” is vague, the ” dislike ” is concrete.
  2. Information. The advertisers of the social media scene are adept at flying target sleeves and seeing who fires at them. We can do the same with our posts. The respondent who screams bloody murder tells us where their sensitivities lie, and we can make use of that.
  3. Echoes. Everything we post, the Great Ghostly Algorithm marks down and sometimes connects to others’ writings. Most often these are just as bad as our own but sometimes you get lucky and find a good writer. Then you can pinch their work.

You never know who your friends are…but you can make sure of your enemies.

*  Actually they have a lot in common and I suspect that includes the owners and the scam advertisement writers. Wanna invest in a bitcoin top that spins forever on tea-tree oil in a Queensland time-share? I could know a bloke…


Privileged Misinformation

Also known as the luxury lie. The sort of news that you get when you pay a premium and can demand to be told what you want to hear.  Sound good? Well you’ve come to the right people. Pull up an overstuffed chesterfield and light up a sofa…or is it the other way round? No matter – if you’ve got money you can smoke any sort of furniture you like.

Of course the opposite does apply if you wish cheap out and just follow the broadcast news or use the free app on your tablet. In that case we select the lies and bias and you get what we give you. Don’t worry – it will be fast paced and there will be bright colours. You can be outraged and seduced at the same time…frequently by the same news. You will not have to spend a lot of time thinking about issues as we will provide the opinion we wish you to espouse. All you have to do is stay ready to erupt into the street demanding whatever we tell you to want.

The middle-of-the-road news consumer may be left out a little in the division of the media. The old-fashioned newspaper and magazine are becoming harder to sell and harder to buy. The articles contain less thought and more emotion than before and frequently it’s somewhat delayed. The really fresh stupidity has already flitted through the mobile phone and tablet networks.

Note: putting aside the fake news and disastrous internet social groups is also an option but one taken by very few. You can tell who has gone that route by observing their street verge. if they’ve put all the televisions, computers, and internet devices out there for council collection it’s a sign that they would prefer happy to woke. If it’s not even council collection week you’re dealing with a hard core old-school thinker.


O.K. Baumer

Orville Baumer was about my same age when I met him in grade school. We went to the 5th grade in Riondel and lived not too far apart. We also joined the Cub Scouts that same year, though Orville was a lot better at doing the badges than ever I was. I can only recall getting two in all my time – one for cooking and one for woodcraft. Orv got semaphore and shelter building and a lot more. He went on to Boy Scouts as well.

Orville was a home soul – he stayed in the town long after I had moved away. Went to high school there and eventually graduated a year ahead of me; I had dropped back a year through moving to Australia. He also stayed in the province for his university time, and got out faster with his degree than I did down here.

Orville had girlfriends in high school and university. A lot more than I did. He married a little earlier, though maybe that was a mistake – he ended up with a divorce from that first marriage. Thankfully, his second has worked out well, and he’ll be well into his thirty-some anniversaries.

Orville does like I do – keeps his cars until they are about 13 years old before trading them in. He never buys big ones – always just little sedans. He’s only taken two overseas holidays in his life. He lives in a regular house with the average amount of old furniture, cranky pets, and unsuccessful grass.

But Orv is different from me in one important respect. When tasked by some unknown  teenager with being responsible for all the ills of the world, Orville cringes and apologises. He says he is sorry for whatever the kid complains about and promises to do better. Orville bows his head in shame for owning his own little house and car, eating regularly, and minding his own business. Orville shys away from the internet groups and protest demonstrations and people who complain in malls.

Orville would never tell a work-shy, over-age, quasi-student who plays the welfare system like a xylophone for money, opiates, and sympathy that they are a public pest. He’d never call them pinko parish parasites. He’d never tell them to stuff their puerile secondhand manifesto where the sun don’t shine.

In many respects, Orville Kitchener Baumer is an admirably civilised person. I really should try to emulate him. One day. I’ll let you know which day I choose.