I Hate You Just A Little

But give me time – I may be able to improve upon that.

The real topic of today’s column is not whether it is bad to hate or good to love. ( or vice versa ) but whether it is possible to exercise either emotion in a sensible and correct amount.

” I love/hate you forever, with all my might, and every fibre of my being! “…makes a pretty good political platform or set of lyrics for a nightclub singer. It invites excess – lust, stabbing, coy eye fluttering, and worse. It is the stuff of bad theatrical performance   – suited to the puerile rather than the pure. The raw emotion of it horrifies the sophisticated mind, in whatever quarter of the world it may reside. I propose a careful alternative; graduated emotion. I’ll love or hate you on a sliding scale of imperceptible increments.

Let’s take a set of people with whom I have never had contact – and who I never expect to visit – the Andaman Islanders. They are that savage little band on the East Indian island who attack and murder anyone who tries to come ashore. They are rather like the Japanese used to be before the 19th century, but probably without sushi.

Their nearest neighbours – the Indians – really want very little to do with them, and unless they strike oil in the islands, the savages will probably be able to keep on murdering unwary intruders. No-one else seems to want to deal with them.

Now, how much should I love the Andaman islanders? How much should I hate them? Can I just leave them in a limbo of indifference without incurring the wrath of the social media set? I think I can.

And if this extreme example can be so consigned – until the Andaman Islanders knock on the door and ask to come in – can I do the same to a lot of other people? I should be relieved if I thought that someone could take no harm nor good from me …nor I them. One less meme-storm to have to wade through on Facebook.

I’ll still have a soft spot in my heart for you, my readers. Just don’t expect it to spread to my head.

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Are you An Ethnic Minority?

Hard to say, isn’t it?

In a society that has migrants from all corners of the globe, you can be amazed, entertained, disgusted, or distressed by looking at the variety of humanity that walks past you on the street. You can also be intimidated, delighted, or unmoved in equal measure. And here’s the good part…

The creatures you see that cause all these emotions to flow through you are also experiencing much the same thoughts when they see you. You are something of a spectacle, you must admit. If you were a bit better looking or had more money for better clothes you might get away with it…but as it is you look pretty much like what you are.

The thing to do is to figure out what ethnic minority you belong to – even if there are carbon copies of you stretching as far as the horizon like penguins on an Antarctic ice shelf. Once you have found the niche in which you fit, it is a short step to finding the niche in which you don’t fit – then squeezing in there and protesting that people are being mean to you. Some people are good at this – some are hopeless. They seem to blend in and succeed wherever they go and live happy and productive lives. They are law-abiding and cheerful…and where’s the fun in that, I ask you? 

I admit to being fortunate in being a member of a number of persecuted minorities. I’ve got a ready stock of angst and can wheel forward and discharge a cry of anguish no matter how good things are going or how comfortable I am. My only regret is that the traditional dress of my people chafes under the armpits and can become smelly in humid weather.

I Rather Like Mr. Trump

And so should you. Here’s some good reasons why:

a. He is loud and brash and sometimes crass.

This may not seem a good thing to start with but consider how much better it is that way when you are in a group of Trump-haters. You can be harshly judgemental and in line with your crowd at the same time. You try doing that to one of your university classmates or drinking buddies and see how good-humoured they’d be about it.

b. He is male.

If you are not and are angry about that, he is the ideal embodiment of The Patriarchy. Or The Oligarchy. Or The Lever Archy. ( That’s an in joke for people who collect stationery…). In any case he is a convenient punching bag for you when you cannot find someone else to punch.

c. He is white.

Well, actually sort of tanned pink. But a lighter shade than his predecessor. If you are not, and resent the fact, you can batten upon his race as the cause of all your troubles. If you’re a little leery of playing the race card, in case it is used in turn against yourself, you can always complain that his ancestors were Dutch. That’ll get everyone on your side, including 96% of the Netherlands.

d. He is rich.

Well, that annoys me too, but I can point to every one of his possessions or activities and either sneer or cry. Everyone else who is in the same boat can join me. If we all bay at the moon the dogs will join in. Awwwooooo….

e. He has funny hair.

You might decry this but it’s been a godsend to the political cartoonists. They had a difficult time with Obama as any exaggeration of his face teetered on racial stereotype. They had to batten upon his ears. The funny Trump hair is funny and I suspect he keeps it so for a good theatrical reason.

f. He has bad ideas.

Yep, some of them are doozies. Of course all his predecessors had bad ones too, and so will all his successors, and every othe world leader… but you need not be scholarly or fair about it. When he has a bad one, you get to crow and dance about.

g. He has good ideas.

Awkward… This one is a problem, as you may secretly agree that one of his schemes is a darned good one. But what can you say? How can you agree with someone you have always pilloried? What if the good idea succeeds? Is it hot in here or are you sweating?

Give yourself an out. Do like the Russians used to do whenever anyone else invented something or did a good deed. Tell the world that it was already done by Ivan Svelkavich in 1845. In the case of Mr. Trump, invent someone who had that same good idea but from the Democrats or some socialist party. Then blame Trump for stealing it.

You know how to operate a blame-thrower, don’t you?

H. He is American.

All the way through, probably…though I doubt that you’d be allowed to saw him in half to count the rings.

The main thing is he is American and not British. That means if you are, then he is wrong. You get to deal him the same contempt you dealt to Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and every other President. You get to resent every success and sneer at every failure based upon the fact of his citizenship – not merely his leadership.

You can rely upon every small politician or large comic to assist you in this with the assurance that you’ll always get an audience to agree with you down the local pub. That audience may be sitting there under the sword of Brexitocles and sipping their £ 8.00 shandy while the lights flicker on and off, but they’ll all agree to hate Trump with you.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that hating Trump will make them love you or themselves… and if you are on a trip to the USA do remember to pick the correct bar in which to open your big fat mouth.

 

Sobering Up and Behaving Properly

I seem to be in the sights of a number of organisations that wish me to obey them. Not just the police and taxation office – now it is the nutritionists, dietitians, and moral reformers. They have selected my home as their target for tonight and I can hear the rumble of bomber engines every time I turn on the internet.

To be fair, I invite this attack myself by clicking on Facebook. It is the equivalent of turning on all the house lights and throwing back the curtains on a moonless night.

I was told to give up alcohol for January – with the promise that it would make my life better. There was a clear inference that if I continued abstinence through the following eleven months I should become a healthy and sane individual. They did not feature a picture of Carrie Nation and her hatchet  on the internet, but I’ll bet they were tempted.

I am also to abstain from all meat, milk, eggs, and other non-vegan foods. This is not being sold to me for my health, but on moral grounds. The pictures used to scold me away from meat are actually worse than those of Carrie in her bonnet.

Occasionally I am warned away from fluoride in my drinking water, soft drinks, natural gas, vaccines, Chinese people, and anything else of which an internet poster does not approve.

Of course, I am always forbidden to approve of the American president, local politicians, Australia Day, horse races, and many more hitherto innocuous subjects. This list grows yearly and is the subject of some cynical betting as to what will be next. Note: 50 years ago I was scolded for using an aluminium cooking pot, which was pretty bizarre at the time…I had no idea the internet would bring so many more sins to light.

I do not resent the posts – they are evidence that people think of my welfare and want the best for me. Of course, this benevolence is not a one-way street. They do expect something in return. If it is not donation of money, it is assistance in promoting Their Glorious Cause. I’m only sorry that heretofore I have not done so…but I fully intend to go to their next torchlight rally at the sports stadium. I like the searchlights and the marching bands…

Well That Explains The Noise And The Smell…

Do you have a desire to be noticed by your colleagues and friends? Are you unsure whether or not you have any personal qualities that would warrant this interest? Well, you’ve come the the right place; the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia can outfit you with startling mannerisms, appearance, and theatrical routines – you’ll be the centre of attention in no time.

Now we’ve all had the experience of going to a party where everyone else is discussing topics with which we are totally unfamiliar. It need not be intellectual, either – you can be out of place in a group of people playing a Japanese children’s game, with the only way of coping being bright and brittle and drinking a lot. The social consequences are never good. But take heart – even in the most foreign of cultures the BGA can make you the hit of the evening. All you need to do is remember the motto – Stand Out, Stand Forth, and Stand On Their Toes.

No-one needs an ally in a conversation – no-one needs agreement. No-one wants to be stuck with ignoring the syncophant in the room…The adroit BGA conversationalist makes sure that they do not agree with whatever is being said, and the more experienced Guild members arrange for this to be known before the conversation. They lay down a barrage of disapproval before anyone else can fire a question.

Are you in a mess of millennials? Espouse Donald Trump as your companion animal. Is most of the crowd dressed in flannies and drinking VB? Start up a cheer wave for Wahleed Ali and Lee Lin Chin. Are people complaining about the onions at Bunnings? Demand they sign a vegan petition to have buns banned. You need do no more to become the star of the evening.

If you are in family gathering you need not go to politics or religion to draw the limelight. Every family has a history of an Aunt Olive or Uncle George somewhere and you can be sure that the opinion is evenly divided as to whether they should be canonized or burnt. A really skilled Guild operative can antagonise both sides with one fleeting reference.

But what if you are afraid of the consequences? Of being socially ostracized or cut out of the will or hounded for money? Do not be concerned – a good Guild member will always have one innocent-sounding question that can be asked of anyone – see our section on family secrets and suppressed court orders – that will ensure silence and sweating. Remember to smile and show as many teeth as you can.

I Blame The….

a. Police…when people who are committing crimes are chased and caught and jailed and made to be unhappy. This is not right. A criminal has a constitutional right to do crime…based upon their ethnicity and their desire to do crime. The police want to punish this and it’s an outrage.

b. Police…when people are injured or die evading them after committing crimes. A person who does crimes is supposed to escape from the police because I have seen it on the telly and in the movies. If they do not succeed it is a basic assault on human rights.

c. White people. Because it has proved to be an effective way to get publicity and eventually get paid for it. And it would be wrong to prevent a successful business from flourishing.

d. Society. In case there are successful people with money that can be accessed who are not white. They are guilty too…of being successful.

e. Pauline Hanson. Because everyone hates her and if I blame her I look virtuous.

f. Pauline Hanson’s former partners and party members. Hard to tell who’s being nasty to whom, but I figure that when you see a head you kick it.

g. Donald Trump. I get kewl points for this and Trump is so far away that I never get pulled up for it. I tried blaming Hilary but I got an email with a picture of a horse’s head in my bed. So I just blame Trump for everything…I’m no fool.

h. Vaccines. And when that doesn’t work I blame non-vacc people. The effect is the same – I get publicity.

i. Schools. Well, we all hated school, didn’t we, and we made sure that our kids knew that it was the right way to be…the hating, I mean. So now when they screw up royally, it’s all the school’s fault. Stands to reason, eh?

j. The flag and the anthem. Well, it worked for Kaepernick, didn’t it? I might get a lucrative shoe contract if my kid won’t stand up at school assembly. Worth a try, innit?

 

How Much Is Your Name Worth?

If it is Elon Musk or Richard Branson, apparently quite a lot.

If it is Harvey Weinstein, somewhat less…

And for those of us in the middle? Well, it’s worth just what other people think it is. And therein lies the danger. If you have been a good person forever and are a good person now, your name and reputation will still be available for people to throw darts at as long as you are within range. You are not in control of the darts nor of their throwing arms – you can only control the range.

This is a sad thought if you are a people person. If your life needs human contact and constant approval, you are always going to be within range of the very human trait of animosity. You need not provoke it – it is there all the time ready for use. Sort of the frozen pizza of emotions. Just stand still for long enough, close enough, and there you go.

How to protect yourself from it? Either stay far enough away from others so that you never fall under their notice, or please everyone in every way all the time, or put safeguards in place. Never see anyone alone. Never say anything remotely objectionable to anyone. Never borrow anything , nor lend it. Never win a contest. Never write a book, blog, or laundry ticket. Never ask and never tell. Never know.

For those of you out there contemplating sex, forget it. Cold showers and prayer are your only recourse. Shun dating, marriage, adultery, celibacy, and strip joints. Avoid the movies, particularly if you are producing them. Do not send pictures of any portion of your body to anyone at all, ever. Avoid stimulating foods like lukewarm gruel and dry toast.

As far as finances go, remember about not being a borrower or lender. Also do not spend any money and take particular care that you are not seen to be saving it – you would be a miser.

Of course politics are a minefield of offence. Minefields are also a minefield. In fact just plain fields will get the more committed ecologist quite livid with anger. You may be wise to curl up under your desk and make no sound whatsoever.

But cheer up – do all this and you will have a good name. King Tutankhamen has been quiet for centuries and no-one has a bad word for him.