Disciplining The Servants

I note from a recent news item that the Commonwealth Government will be monitoring the social media links from people employed as public servants and disciplining those who are critical thereon. I am not surprised at this –  I don’t think that it would be confined to the current party in power, nor to just to federal government – I should imagine similar measures are in place for state public servants as well as local council employees. I certainly know it to be a policy in private industry.

It is in no way different from the rule of any government – whether that be the laxest dictatorship or the sternest democracy. It is simply in reaction to the old fear that grips the lord when he suspects that the servants know his secrets, and have taken an accurate measure of him. He knows they have seen him naked, and fears the laughter of others.

The discipline is simple – in the case of the despot he merely tortures the culprit to death and murders the rest of the family. The federal government demotes, fines, and fires the incautious servant and then murders the rest of the family. Replacing them when others have seen their fate sometimes takes a little longer, unless the public servant secretly harbours the desire to get rid of their family…

It’s a bit hard on the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram friends of a public servant in that they do not want to inadvertently start the whole savage sequence off. Mind you, subscribers to slag-off.com and the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia’s Dob-In-A-Pollie service are exempt from federal law so they can leap in there with both boots. Indeed, they are also exempt from many of the laws of thermodynamics, so feel free to ignite something today.

For my own part, I always think well of a politician. Really I do. They sacrifice their entire lives – their honour, their integrity, their sense of humour…their immortal souls – to draw the daemon of possessing excessive money away from the rest of us and to keep us safe from complacency. I’d award them a medal, but, like many things, I doubt that the little people of Australia would be given a chance to stick it on them.

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.