Your Email Of The 15th Inst. Has Been Noted

And unlike previous forms of communication, will not be considered to be private, inviolate, confidential, or secret. It will, indeed, be copied innumerable times, and made available to anyone who bears you a grudge. Prospective grudge-bearers who wish to invest in material for future use will also be accommodated at a special early bird rate.

Please note that the privacy disclaimers and instructions routinely included on the bottom of all official forms from this office are for theatrical and humorous purpose, and should in no way be construed as legally binding unless you have more powerful lawyers than we do. In this context, ” Three Finger ” Louie Custozza and the Boys From Missoula are considered to be a legally practicing entity and can be cited in negotiations.

As it is impossible at this stage to determine what the year’s cause célèbre or political opportunity will be, we would like you to send a great many more communications on the computer. It would be appreciated by our Chief of Blackmail if you would moderate your use of stimulating substances before typing, as some of the spelling can be very difficult to deal with if you go past certain limits. Please feel free to express yourself as violently and controversially as you wish as this makes for juicier scandal. Photographs are always welcome. No need to dress…

 

 

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The Etiquette Of The Anonymous Note

Nearly everyone I know has, at one time or another, received an anonymous note or letter*. Frequently these have been disturbing or distressing and have led to serious social and family consequences. Divorces, dismissals, disgraces…the list is nearly endless. It has long seemed to be the bane of civilisation.

And it is not just the badly worded sheet of cheap paper in the letter box or under the door, either – these days the internet brings this sort of thing in through the screen all day. If it is not your email that receives it, it is your Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Some days all you can do is to open the thing and look at the cartoon strips.

We’ve been asked here at the Guild how this sort of thing can be dealt with – a good question, an innocent question, and a wrong question. We cannot advise you how it can be dealt with…we can advise you how to deal it out.

As with all Guild activities, there is an etiquette that must needs be followed. We are not savages..though we do employ them at fair union rates for certain jobs…and we insist that members follow the  rules of civil incivility.

a. Only use anonymity if you send a note that accuses without offering proof. If you can actually prove miscreancies or worse, attend the Blackmail Office and ask for a consultation with one of our operatives. Everything you say will be kept in strict confidence until it can be published widely.

b. Anonymity need not be wretched or small. The practice of using cheap note paper from Woolworths and a builder’s crayon to hint that a Duchess carries a loathsome disease is not only dated but ineffective. The terror of discovery is much worse if the stationery is of extremely good quality and the note seems to have been written with a Montblanc Meisterstück fountain pen in a precise copperplate hand.

If you can obtain letterhead paper from a doctor’s office for this purpose, so much the better. A nice touch is to get it from an ophthalmic specialist.

c. If you feel you must use a pseudonym, either make it extremely crude or extremely elegant. ” Your Friend ” is neither of these: ” yor frend ” serves and ” One who Loves you ” even better if you can get a delicate purple ink.

” The Black Hand ” is comic-book stuff and unless you are writing anonymously as a former President of the United States, will serve no purpose.

d. Sometimes anonymity can be used repeatedly. If you purport to be ” Anonymous ” as the writer, it can be paired with ” To Whom It May Concern ” ( remember to use those capitals…) to give even more of an air of mystery and menace. If you then go on to hint at What You Know, but never specify who knows what, it can get very diffuse…

e. ” We know what you did ” is an excellent start, but you have to be able to add at least one other fact to start the powder train alight. ” We know what you did when you went into the shed ” is good, and ” We know what you did when you went into the shed with Doreen ” better still. You needn’t know, of course, but then they needn’t know that you needn’t know. You know?

f. In some cases the addressee should be specified very accurately. In others the ” To Whom ” is quite sufficient. In especial cases this vagueness of aim should be combined with a very precise authorship – the note should be signed in the name of a real person with a real address. It need not be your real name, nor your address, of course. Suffice it to say some form of communication will ensue…

g. Some have advocated never threatening things that cannot be performed – but we say, where’s the fun in that? Where would Oriental dictators and Indian telephone callers be if that were the case? So use your imagination, and dig into your own psyche to see what would frighten or distress others.

Are you worried about crayfish? Horrified by water pumps? Depressed by the thought of Johnny Young going to the dentist? Incorporate these into the implied threat of the note. You never know when you’ll strike a chord, or, for that matter, when Young will…

h. Likewise use your own sins and peccadilloes as a stepping stone to imagine those of others. But make ’em worse. It  may be difficult, on this basis, for the Dalai Lama to send a nasty note accusing someone of anything – I mean, what is he going to write? ” You are slightly unsettling…”? It just wouldn’t have all that much impact.

Or maybe it would…if he signed his name in blood.

*  I’m absolutely certain of this, trust me…

 

 

 

The Mobile Phone As An Aid To Backstabbers Guild Activities

Up until the advent of the small mobile phone, recording embarrassing conversations for later use by the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia was a complex task. Tape recorders – at first the reel-to-reel style and later the cassette type – were employed to gather marketable admissions and defamatory statements but it meant that you had to set things up quite a bit in advance.

Cafe and bar meetings were pretty much out, as the necessary collusion with the owners of the premises was an expensive thing to purchase. And you had to be there hours beforehand to set up microphones and a recording room. It was a bit easier if you could lure your victim to a prepared apartment, but it still meant having an operative sitting there with headphones on listening to all that went on. Some of the BGA monitors were fine, but some got sloppy about it all. Worst of all were the ones who got allergies – it was impossible to do any serious blackmail in spring as they would sneeze at the worst possible moment.

All that has changed with the mobile phone. It need not be the latest iPhone 8 or any other sophisticated device – they all have a voice recorder in them. You just scroll though the menu, choose the appropriate app and press the red record button. The microphone gain is somewhat automatic and there is enough battery in there to go for hours. And generally it does not make any noise as it works – vital if it is concealed inside a pillow or under the bed.

There have been a number of challenges put forward as to the legal use of information gathered by these means – some sort of footling sentiment about warning the person that they were being recorded. This, of course, is nothing but naive humour to the BGA. We do not record anything for training purposes…unless you count pushing people onto the rails on the Mandurah line as training them. We record to despoil, dismay, and damage, and I am proud to say that the Guild does a workmanlike job whenever we bend our minds to it. If we decide that we are going to make you pay for your sins, you will pay the correct market price and we are professional enough to issue a receipt.

Note: Current mobile phone technology is not really effective in providing full stereophonic or wrap-around sound recording from the small devices. If you are aiming for a theatre-filling experience you still need to book our professional crew. It will all depend upon the depth of your wallet and your sense of malice.

BGA Senior Discount Applies

I don’t get a pension from the government.

This is not a brag or a moan – just a socio-economic fact of life in Australia. I am considered to be too rich to require it. I agree I am rich, but increasingly I am finding that it is not in money…To be fair, I suspect the government doesn’t have the money either.

In my retirement I fund myself by writing and photographing. Mostly poison-pen letters and compromising snaps of illicit affairs. It is not as easy a task as you might think. Facebook memes have desensitized people to nasty written abuse and no-one really knows how to define adultery anymore. I have a shrinking market amongst the religious and the prissy.  They can still be embarrassed by exposure whereas many others seem to welcome it. I frequently get requests for an 8 x 10 and six wallet-size photos when I threaten scandal.

I am not harsh on the religious, though. They still do have the habit of collecting money in poor boxes, tins, and plates during religious services and in many cases this can be stolen. The only tough proposition is the Salvation Army – they are armed and determined to defend their assets. If you have ever been hit behind the ear with a tambourine you’ll know why I give them wide berth.

My local IGA grocery store has a system of 5% discount on grocery items for seniors – but only on Thursday. If you shop right, this can be a useful saving.

Transperth lets me ride free between 9:00 and 3:00 each weekday, and all day Saturday and Sunday. I shall make use of this in the coming week to go to places of entertainment and save the travel expenses of a car journey for the door entry. Retirement time is a flexible schedule that the desperate and entitled on the freeways cannot appreciate.

I may even be able to pay a visit to a few churches along the way. Ka-Ching…

 

The Open Letter

Open

I have overcome my fear of spiders – I like the little ones and tolerate the big ones. The venomous ones get squashed if they are under my workbench but let alone if they are elsewhere.

I have also overcome my horror of skeletons. My Walt Disney-induced fear left me when I had to study skulls in university. Owning one cures you of the dread.

But I have never been able to contemplate an open letter without aversion. They are an open trapdoor to the pit of folly, envy, and dishonour. I have been brought to this reflection by a note on social media that features an ” open letter ” published by someone who wants other people to listen to, and possibly obey her.

Open letters in this context are no more than crude pamphlets that do not have the courage to show their vulgarity with multiple fonts and typefaces. They are generally couched in language that suggests an intimacy and concern on the part of the writer – intimacy that tries to get the reader to go further into the letter than they would otherwise do. The style of them varies, but the closest that they ever come to honesty is when a blackmailer sends a threat and a money demand and signs it  ‘ A Friend ‘.

Other open letters are those that may be left about to announce what the legitimate recipient of the note wishes known but is too afraid to announce. They are rarely about Lotto wins.

Of course, some closed letters are open letters as well – the blue frighteners sent by dunning agencies and the traffic infringement notices are both designed to be seen by all who handle them and pronounce guilt even before the envelope is opened.

Have you ever read an opened letter on the desk of someone else? Or read their note pad upside down? Or gone through their computer when it was unattended? Or every drawer in their house while they were on vacation? Or tied them up in the basement and beat them with chains while questioning them about the whereabouts of their relatives?

If so, you may be qualified to write open letters.

 

Buy A Meme Now

BCT

The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia has a great offer for you – your own meme. Your own damaging meme. An image of you taken at a time when a puff of wind has displaced your hair – or the edge of your dress – and you have been made to look awkward. If you have a silly expression on your face at the time…or really any expression at all… our talented team of BGA writers will craft a satirical sentence to make you look even worse. Ever so much worse.

Our service here is comprehensive – once the meme is made, the IT team will size and reduce it for inclusion on all social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and the Distribution Department will make sure that it hits the computer and cell-phone screens of the entire world. Not only that, but we have dedicated operatives around the globe who will make sure that it is re-tweeted or re-sent for weeks after the first exposure. You’ll never be out of the public eye, nor will your name ever be off the lips of the electronic audience. They will laugh you to scorn for months. People will spit at you in the street…

You look concerned. Is that a frown on your face? Have you missed the point of this communication?

This is all possible, and given the number of enemies that you have, probable. But it need not be. One cheque and it all goes away. We are not enthusiasts. We are not zealots. We are not pitiless avengers of political wrong.

We are business people. Did you want a receipt with that?