a. To people who read my weblog columns and get the humour. And laugh.
b. To people who read the columns and do not get them and then grumble. This gives me an opportunity for laughter.
c. To people who still talk to me.
d. To people who have cut me dead.
e. To people who read my material in hopes that I will get better at writing. If it is any consolation to you, I hope I will get better as well. If there was a spell-Check for thoughts I might have a chance.
f. To the people who make Facebook as crassly stupid as it is. They do not raise any faith in mankind, but they let me feel superior to something. Not quite as good as canned chili but better than a suggested post.
g. To people who do not tailgate me at dusk when I am in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. May your tyres always maintain pressure and your seatbelt never pinch.
h. To people who keep appointments.
i. To people who help me with technical enquiries – but only if they are right.
j. To people who speak loudly enough to be heard and slowly enough to be understood.
k. To people who do not bring takeaway containers of coffee out and sip while we are in conversation.
l. To waiters and waitresses who do not hover. If I want another beer I’ll call for it; if I want a helicopter I’ll call Sikorski.
m. To book store owners who put good things on remainders tables at low prices.
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.
Okay. Here you go – the calendar of national days for Australia. This schedule contains all the fun, celebration, liquor, politics, and ill-humour that you want or need for national happiness. Anyone who is not happy with it is entitled under the constitution to be sad. The only thing that the Committee asks is that they be sad quietly.
January 1 – Australian National Day. Commemorating the establishment of the 6 colonies as an independent nation free of rule from Westminster.
January 26th – First Fleet Day – celebrating a successful amphibious assault upon Botany Bay.
April 25th – ANZAC Day – celebrating a failed amphibious assault upon Gallipoli.
First Sunday in July – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Day – leading into a themed week called NAIDOC week. Invite the immigrants to the party.
September 1st – National Immigrant Day – Everybody dig out the clothes and food from their various Old Countries and take a day off work. Invite the indigenes to thee party.
November 11th – National Armistice day. When Europe paused for 21 years to reload.
Now you can stack whatever religious feasts and sporting events you like in between the national days and mix and match them to your liking. If you select the right religion, the right community, and the right mate, you can be overfed and queasy for 6 months out of the year. And none of this interferes with tax time, EOFY sales, or the school year.
But it does remove the platform and propaganda that the lobbyists and professors use to keep themselves – like flies – in the public eye.
Remember I mentioned that most national days commemorate someone declaring themselves to be independent from someone else? And determined to govern their lives on their own terms?
Unfortunately for Australia, the events of 26 January, 1778 were rather in reverse. The local people were free before the fleet rocked up but not after. Think of it in terms of a D-Day landing but instead of the British, Americans, and Canadians storming ashore it would be the Wehrmacht. Possibly with better air cover…
Well, 230+ years have rolled away since then and there have been other amphibious assaults to thrill and entertain the citizens. Not all of them successful, but that doesn’t stop the national desire to march and cheer. But that idea of thinking that nationhood came in boats full of convicts under musket guard is starting to be a bit suss. And it begs the question that is answered everywhere else by a definite set of criteria; when exactly did Australia become independent from the guards with muskets?
You’ll be pleased and horrified to learn that it was on the 1st of January 1900. Pleased because it happened without bloodshed, and horrified that no-one now wants to have it as the national day. Why?
Because it is on one of the New Year’s days. The one that is recognised by most of he population, but is already surrounded with boozy celebration and hangovers. Hardly anyone has the energy to be patriotic after a night on the tiles. So the day is shifted to 26 January, by which time livers have uncurled. No-one wants to have to be sober and proud next morning when there is avocado dip in their hair. ( Presuming that it is avocado dip…)
And now the indigenes are unhappy and the immigrants are unhappy and the cheap journalists and cheaper council politicians make a fortune of money and publicity out of stoking that emotion.
What to do? Well, first of all recognise exactly what the truth is about the current day. And decide what a national day really should be. And then unravel the story so that everyone can read it. In the phrase beloved of all bureaucrats: ” Bring us into line with other nations “.
Tomorrow? The new days planned for Australia.
Good Morning. Glad to have you aboard. Including ” You People ” down the back of the classroom.
Here at the BGA Institute we are going to take you through the basic steps that you’ll need to become insensitive, crass, and uncaring. This may sound like a difficult task for you snowflakes who have been sucking on the public education teat for 20+ years and show no signs of detaching yourselves, but I assure you that the Institute can help. And help you do indeed need.
Let’s start by introducing ourselves. I am the Right Evil Bastard, and head of the Guild. I have been insensitive and unpleasant to more people than you’ve had hot dinners… As REB I take pride in this, while still recognising that there is a place for a softer and more sentimental approach. It cozens the unwary into letting you get closer and makes it easier to stab them.
If you enrolled for this course based upon the ” 101 ” tag in the faculty brochure thinking that it would be an easy credit for your first year, you may be dismayed to know that there are Insensitivity Training courses that start at ” 1″ and go up to ” 100″ that are considered prior qualification. At this level you are expected to be able to make a Marine Corps drill instructor stutter with nervousness…We’ll test you on this in a moment.
Many of you – in fact probably all of you – are connected to the rest of the world with electronic devices and social media. The odd one who is not will be ferreted out and compelled to subscribe to every failed internet site up until now to get up the speed. They should have a wow of a time with the Warner Brothers site.
We will now break for morning coffee to give you a chance to mingle and to ask questions of each other. The most useful enquiries will earn their owners remission from the whippings later in the day. Now don’t be shy…
We all know the correct response to a number of signals we receive:
a. When a person tips their hat to us we acknowledge the compliment by returning it as fully as we can in the circumstance. If we are bareheaded we might nod or bow in our turn. Both sides are satisfied with the polite exchange.
b. When an oncoming driver very briefly flashes their low beams, we slow to the speed limit and give them a finger wave off the steering wheel – while looking ahead for the Multinova.
c. When a warship fires a shot across our bow we prepare to be boarded or to fight back.
There are a hundred such exchanges everyday that we know how to cope with. Yet what shall we do when someone sends out a blatant virtue signal on an internet social media page? I mean besides starting up and firing off a string of insults. What alternative is available?
Well, first we could just ignore it. That’s probably the most helpful thing to be done. The virtue signal generally will do no good or bad of itself and the thing to do is to keep it in a state of suspension until it fades away.
If it doesn’t fade – if the person renews it, waving their goodness ever closer to our eyes…we can send back a message agreeing wholeheartedly with them. This may be simple enough to do, because in most cases they will have espoused the side of goodness and we all need some of it in our lives. Not crammed down our throats, you understand, but somewhere in the comforting background.
Then we turn up the wick a little – give enthusiastic feedback to the virtuous that becomes ever more and more intense…we may not have a problem with the signals in the future. The signaller may remove themselves to a distance and crouch down behind the sofa in case we see them.
All this said, I like to be virtuous from time to time. It allows me easier access to the drawing rooms of the upper classes. And they frequently leave valuables unguarded.
I have just finished a book by Bertrand Russell and have been surprised by three things; that it would ever end, that I would stick to reading it until the last page, and that I would thoroughly enjoy it.
It was written in 1930, and treats of happiness – in this case by seeking the conquest of it. It is apparently well within Russell’s style of clear composition presenting muddled thought. The stream of consciousness is not that muddy, however, and most of what BR has to say is pretty sensible. As he does not jolt upright and thrust his politics into the face of the reader more than 3 or 4 times, the main part of the essay is actually useful.
It’s certainly drawn an echo from some of the circumstances of my life, and I think the experiences over the years have opened me to be able to read him – where I threw his books in the figurative fire as a youth.
It’s rather fun to be able to read an English philosopher who writes in comparatively modern times and who can be seen to be wrong about as many times as he is right by his public pronouncements…and private secrets. One need not reverence him but can just pick the kernels of wisdom out of the unpopped thoughts.
I wonder if it is safe to read any of the rest of his stuff? If I do, I shall want the real thing and not a history teacher’s précis.