Always Keep A Dead Idol Handy

All your life you have worshipped little idols. Even if the administrators of your main faith – the rabbis, priests, ministers, and mullahs – have cautioned you against it, you have still carried on. Clothing, entertainments, relationships, possessions, arts and crafts have all served as objects of worship at some stage of the game. And they have all fallen by the wayside eventually.

This is called getting older. Some people call it growing up, but that is more of a taunt than a tag-line. Maturity is the best way of looking at it, and if you can do so in a childish fashion you are winning.

The sport you loved, the car you desired, the culture you worshipped…they all pall in time. And this is as it should be. No-one can enjoy a smorgasbord if they just stand at the shellfish counter all the time – they need to move to the breads and the pickled herring and the princess cake, though not all at once…variety is needed, and you would do well to make sure that you get the same variety all the time.

When something falls away from your desire – when it becomes de trop instead of de thing – by all means usher it out of your life. You need not wear fluoro bell-bottom hipsters a moment longer than it takes to get you into bed with someone. Bell your bottom, if you will, but spare us the sight. Get over it – I assure you that the rest of us will. We are all too busy burying our own dead idols to worry about yours.

But keep a memento of the time. If it is only a badly taken Polaroid of you in the 70’s, it is at least a reminder of the hippie days and a talisman against them returning. You need not look at it more than once a decade, but don’t lose sight of where you came from and remember why you left.

Even dead idols have a place on the altar.

” If You Don’t Know…”

” I’m not going to tell you.”

How often have we heard that one? It was the constant litany of the Kool Kids at school when the rest of us asked a question. It was used to make us feel left-out…even more so than to begin with. And it worked very well for the first few times that it was employed. We would go off sad and insulted, and there seemed to be no answer to make.

I bring this up because of a Facebook posting recently that floated past my feed line. It was a topic I would normally have taken no interest in, but it appeared because a friend had entered the general discussion. She was interested in one person’s assertions regarding nutrition, and asked very politely for some references that she could pursue in her studies.

Well, she got a sneering version of the standard reply. And then some equally rude passing commentary from other anonymous sources. It was the schoolyard all over on the internet.

I mentioned earlier that this sort of thing worked well for the first few times. My school days were a long while ago, and it has stopped working – indeed it stopped working long ago. But the interesting thing was that it was a standard ploy used in many situations for a very long period of time.

When I encountered this sort of rudeness from people of my own age I was able to dismiss them as fools or braggarts that had no information or knowledge to back up their assertions. When I encountered it from a lecturer in the University of Western Australia’s Dental School I was taken somewhat aback. But it took a further 10 years of solo practice to harden me enough to respond to it when it happened again.

The chap had moved on to be a specialist consultant in a mechanical branch of dentistry. I had a patient who needed the sort of thing he did – and referred the patient by letter to the specialist. Apparently they did not get on well – and I eventually received a high and mighty letter sneering at me for sending that referral and telling me not to do it again. And I never did – I sent the people who needed a prosthedontic specialist’s attention to other practitioners and everyone was happy. I did have the satisfaction of writing a polite note acknowledging the order*.

I suspect that whenever this sort of thing happens it is because of a number of factors:

a. The person being rude does not know what they are talking or writing about .

b. They have no material to which they can refer.

c. They are naturally ill-mannered. Or they have developed ill manners as a cover for worse characteristics.

d. They are writing from Mom’s Basement, with no other connection to social interaction than the reactions to their trolling posts.

I suppose we can be grateful that at least they are not in specialist practice…

* Good manners in the face of bad is always the best answer. Public good manners is even better…

The Trap Of Entertainment

” Entertain me. ”

Has anyone ever said that to you? What did you feel like? Nervous? Despondent? Annoyed? Or all three in layers like Neapolitan ice cream?

It’s the sort of command that carries with it the unspoken criticism that heretofore you haven’t been doing a good job and the fact must be corrected. And that it is going to be a difficult job.

The whole concept of entertainment is a difficult one in some cultures. I imagine that the Puritans would have been a tough audience to front. Not just for the fact that they were grim to start with, but that they would also be offended with you if you succeeded in making them feel good. All pleasure would have been of the guilty sort, but not sweeter because of it.

Modern entertainment is so varied as to suggest that the very concept is unlimited. We have books, music, plays, television, radio, sports, pastimes, hobbies, and art to occupy us. Of course some will find no pleasure in any of these and some will take it in an inordinate measure. For the vast majority it is a place to run when the shackles slip off the ankles. Until they catch you and weld them on again, you can enjoy yourself. The problem is that there may be too many things available at any one time. Wise escapees limit themselves to one thing at a time, and reserve the rest for a later chance.

This becomes even more important when you are too old to be salable and are left to wander away. Then you need to have cached little pleasures here and there in the landscape so that you can go to them and be refreshed. Don’t be tempted to make them too grand nor too far away – you would have to expend an inordinate amount of energy to get to them. And you might discover that they would have decayed in the meantime – far better to have something small and comforting close at hand.

You may even find that your entertainment need not be provided by others – that you carried it with you all the time.

 

How I Cleared A Social Media Memefield

Well, for a start, I got a meme detector and learned how to operate it. The modern ones have a battery pack that you wear and an electronic probe on the end of a frame that you hold up close to the screen. The meme detector has a small suction motor that draws the air in from around a Facebook posting and sends signals to its computer for analysis. Once the signal is processed the meme detector notifies you via headphones whether the sample is bullshit or not.

The detector is connected via a WiFi transmitter to the snopes.com website and can access all their recent data. If something has been rehashed and presented to the gullible public as a true image or real thing that happened…but is not…this information is sent back to the meme detector and I can be warned. Usually it is done by a discrete red light on the side of the casing, though the new model Fraudbuster 800 will play the sound of a cynical raspberry into the headphones.

None of this will stop well-meaning people from lighting upon something that triggers them off, being taken in, and then re-broadcasting the original meme. But it may prevent me from being taken in far enough to react to the thing, or to cast it further over the heads of the populace. To paraphrase Harry Truman, ” The fuck stops here. “.

High Culture – Low Culture

And what about middle culture? Why is it ignored? What does the bourgeoisie have to do to get a little respect?

Try saying the word ” bourgeois ” in any social group and see what happens. Do it – if you possibly can- in a dead flat monotone and a context that hints no judgement of the actual word. It is the nearest thing that you can do these days to dropping a hand grenade into a koi pond.

No-0ne likes the bourgeoisie. No-one respects them. No-one has any faith in their tastes, judgement, intelligence, or morals. None of their history is pointed to with pride. No-one wants to admit to knowing them and certainly no-one wants to be considered to belong to the group. The reason for this is simple: no-one knows exactly what the word means – it is as nebulous as the word ” sin ” or the word ” goodness ” and no-one really knows how to use it Not until now. But this all changes – the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia will provide that definition and a clear guide to the whole concept. Bourgeoisism will come of age.

BOURGEOIS: Middle class – the one that the peasant owes money to. Oddly enough, also the one that the lord owes money to. A social creditor, without being a supporter of Social Credit.

You may also add capitalist in there somewhere. In any event the bourgeois is in a position that raises the jealousy and ire of everyone else for two reasons: They have property and they have independence. You might not think the latter when you see the extent to which rules are demanded by the peasants and imposed by the lords on the basis of ownership. There is a commonality in both high and low – they want that property but can’t quite figure out how to get at it.

The bourgeoisie is derided for their taste in clothing, architecture, music, and literature. No-one thinks well of them for what they choose, though in most cases the highs and lows will try to emulate them when they can. The most infuriating thing about them is they can pretty well have what they like, because they can pay for it. Those who can’t or won’t regard this as a reminder of their failings.

But the thing that should really make peasant and lord angry is the realisation that most of the actual productive thinking – as opposed to the military posturing of king and  indolence of pawn – comes from the bourgeois and their propensity to do more than people have done before. They might want to profit, but at least something other than battles and beer barrels come of it.

Or to put it in more refined terms; the upper classes cause shit, the lower classes do shit-all, and the middle classes do shit and make shit.

Collecting Things For Gumtree

I have started to collect things for Gumtree sales – or I might opt for eBay.com.au. I’ll get the daughter to show me how to do the registration and presentation and then I’ll get rid of a few things that are surplus around here.

First off I’ll find the box that my Giveashit button came in and repack it. I don’t think I have used it for about 5 years and I might as well get some money back on it before it becomes obsolete. It was in constant use until about 1985 when I shut down some of the North American links. Every year since then I’ve disconnected some of the wires to former professions, businesses, or acquaintances and now it works less than 10% of the time. Oh I try – I do press it whenever someone puts up some anguished meme on Facebook in an effort to make myself explode with either rage or delight. But most times all I get is a clicking sound. Maybe someone younger and with more passion will get some fun out of it.

Then I am going to try to get some return from the anxiety collection. I got some of them as a child – presents from relatives – and then was able to add something new each year as I grew up. My Fear Of Russians cards are still in mint condition – some of them have never been removed from the cellophane packets. With the way the Russians are behaving these days I should be able to get the entire purchase price plus a bonus back. I didn’t save my Moko Lesney Matchbox cars, but these cards should more than make up for it.

I do feel a little bad about the old shoebox full of religious feelings. I kind of hate to let them go. They were like a coin collection – you could take them out on a rainy day and play with them – looking at all the arcane writings engraved upon them and wondering where they came from. In my case I suspect from the Bronze Age. I intend to sell them outright – I don’t want to trade them for someone else’s shoebox.

I’m in two minds about the clothing. The Suit Of Ambition doesn’t fit all that well any more – I have outgrown the waistline on the trousers – and the Cloak Of Humility smells a little – but I still have a feeling that there will be some place I can wear them. But as I really don’t fancy intensive night life, I can’t really think where.

Hobby-Horse Buns

Or ” Dropping One Into The Conversation “.

We’ve all met people at cocktail parties who will change neither their opinion nor the topic. People who share their thoughts by beating us around the ears with them. Well, they have a cousin in Social Media – the person who presses their keyboard only to press their passion upon you. Squirm though you might, you will never be free of it until you run screaming from the forum.

I am not adverse to seeing that someone supports women’s rights, or men’s rights, or the rights of sea anemones. I acknowledge their concerns and agree heartily that all the aforementioned should have them and live in harmony. But I would prefer not to be re-told the tale every single day – even an anemone needs to fall silent occasionally. Or at least post a kitten picture and wave a tentacle.

If you have a genuine hobby  – eating, marathon running, woodcarving, amateur dramatics…whatever – by all means tell us of it daily. It is a real thing and a window into subjects we may never have considered. We welcome the knowledge.

But if your daily post is how much you hate someone or the angst-ridden struggle of the masses to achieve rural electrification in defiance of the hetero-post-radicalist revanchinary power hegemony…and we get nothing but memes and urgent calls for rage and rutabagas…well, save your electrons. They will be ticked off the screen as fast as the mouse can work, and so, eventually, will you.

Note: Please turn your minds back to the Mel Brooks movie ” Silent Movie ” and the scene of the wooden horse on the carousel…