This Post Has Been Viewed 22,367 Times…

And aren’t we all better for it?

I see from my involvement in Facebook that I can be rewarded with attention from other people. I get it in the form of ” likes ” and small cartoon symbols attached to whatever I post. If I cannot think of something to gain this attention, I can search the internet for someone else’s opinion and post it as a ” share”.

I am not sure how many ” likes ” and ” shares ” I need to be adjudged worthy of entry into Heaven, but if there is a definite number, I’m sure that the Facebook organisation will tell me, and provide a bar graph to show how close I am coming to it. Thankfully, if I seem to be falling behind, salvation-wise, they are prepared to boost my visibility in exchange for money.

To be frank, I’m actually surprised that they have not started to subtract money from my bank account already. It’s computerised and they seem to be in charge of that.

And how did we get ourselves into this mess? We were sensible and adult in the 1990’s. Surely we can be so again.

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” You’ll Be Sorry “

If ever there was a phrase calculated to sound the trumpets of war, that’s it. It’ll also start the kettledrums of bad decision and the ocarina of awkwardness. Sort of like the modern music segment of an ABC concert before we get to the Beethoven.

Warning people of things is always a difficult thing – because so few want to hear the warnings and even fewer want to heed them. In fact it is a great way of precipitating a disaster but gaining virtue points at the same time. Warn someone not to drive over the cliff in the right way and they’ll swerve for the guard rail and hit the accelerator. And you can honestly testify that you tried to prevent it by giving timely advice…

It’s also a phrase that gets tacked onto psychological ploys where someone is trying to make you feel guilty. ” You’ll be sorry after I’m gone ” is the standard of the industry. It takes nerves of steel or silicone rubber to reply ” Well, I’ll be used to it by then – I’m sorry you’re here now…”. Call their bluff, by all means but not when they are standing on the top of a bluff.

Some would change the phrase – but with unknown consequences. ” You’ll be sorry. ” could become:

a. ” I’ll be sorry .”… Which reveals a little more vulnerability.

b. ” I won’t be sorry. “… That’s the sort of thing you expect Bette Davis to say, possibly with a riding crop in her hand.

c. ” You are sorry. “. Well that’s tellin’em.

d. ” No-one’s sorry. “. Now there’s a challenging piece of truth for anyone. Digest that one and you’re well on your way to philosophy.

e. ” Sorry with a fringe on top. “. Only in Oklahoma.

f. ” I used to be sorry.” Which begs the question about what emotion is running through the mind right now. This is a tough one.

As for me, I do have some regrets but they mostly centre around not feeling sorry enough for long enough. Weeping gives me hiccups and at my age gnashing your teeth is a good way to lose a cusp. I’ve taken to just handing out angst biscuits at morning tea and letting it go at that.

 

Achtung: Minen!

untitled-1webimageI am starting to think that the big blue Facebook logo should be replaced with a skull and crossbones and the ” Achtung: Minen! ” warning. Because every time I open the site I seem to see hidden dangers – lumps in the landscape, if you will, and not all of them containing potatoes…

Today I have been invited on several political or moral wild goose chases and I suspect that if I had followed the chain of remarks and replies I would be receiving even more of the things in the future – that seems to be how the mechanism works. To be fair, they do seem to sit pretty evenly on the balance of loony left and loony right – perhaps equilibrium might be acheived…if at the expense of a lot of bad language and worse grammar.

I have also been invited to be duped. When I declined, and pointed out the technical flaws of the presentation…my protest was removed by the person who posted the original message. I also recognise this as a standard feature of Facebook – I have been baited and deleted before. I really must exercise more discipline with myself when this sort of thing occurs – After all, I am not the Internet Sheriff and I cannot close down every pea and shell game in town. I do wonder at the algorithms that permit it, but. Sigh…

I must ask myself the question: is there likely to be high morality or overweening intelligence on a free-to-click app with advertisements in a sidebar that are based upon my browser history? Better questions: Is there going to be more benefit than harm in continuing the service? Will open access to this separate line of internet communication be enough to make the rest of the thing bearable? How far down can one go in the mine of popular social media before one uncovers a vein of nausea?

I shall find out.

*  Thanks to the person on the web who provided the image. If you are in town I’ll buy you a beer.

Frightening The Horse’s*

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One of the most damning statements regarding public behaviour used to be that it would frighten the horses. This was an excuse used to repress sex, violence, politics, and bright clothing. Considering the fact that I’ve seen a horse shy from a weed growing on the side of the road, it doesn’t really leave much leeway in anything. Perhaps a more interesting topic would be to find something that DIDN’T frighten 800 Kg of animal with giant hooves and big teeth…

Of course this worry has now been supplanted by admonitions not to cause offence or micro-aggressions. The horses are safe from these as they rarely engage in left/right politics, but there are plenty of humans who have pricked their ears up and whinnied encouragingly – it presents a wonderful chance for them to be poor injured creatures who get to complain loudly. As a power base it is wonderful – the solid fulcrum about which you can lever a university, school, business office, or local council.

You do need several things, though, to make it work well. I mean besides whining…

You need a set of ears in which to pour the complaints and a channel in print or over the air through which to berate your oppressors. While your voice may be monotonous, the vocabulary of complaint is a wide-ranging one so no matter who you are you will be able to select a series of words that trigger off angst and outrage. If it does not do so in the ears of authority or the general public, at least it will get noticed by your fellow whiners, and you can advance steadily in the ranks. Many a career has been made in the complaints industry and successful practitioners have been able to stay gainfully employed well past retirement age.

One thing, though – you need to be careful about yelling while protesting the micro-aggressions of the establishment. It frightens the horses

* No, it’s not a punctuation error. It’s perfectly in order. I just didn’t specify which part of the horse…delicacy…

 

 

How To Get More Traffic

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Easy. Just drive out on the flaming road at 8:00AM. I’ll guarantee more traffic – more traffic than you have ever seen.

I was taken aback when I saw this headline on one of the click bait side panels for Facebook. Then I realised that the grinning fool depicted was trying to get us to send him money so that we could find out how to get more people to read our websites or weblog posts. His technique seemed to involve a small moustache and a glass of wine – much like something that Terry Thomas or George Cole might do. And I’ll bet the advice he would proffer would have all the probity of theirs.

I have attended seminars that addressed this topic, and I found myself wishing I had not. At the end of the first hour I experienced a desire for strong drink. At the end of the second I was looking for carbolic soap to wash out my ears. At the end of the third hour…well I have no idea what they were saying, because I was not there.

It was not that the advice was illegal, but more that it was disreputable. Sleazy, if you will, in a carefully analysed commercial sort of way. Manipulative, and I am not sure whether I was meant to do the manipulating or to let myself be pawed over. Not that I am averse to being pawed, but I expect a couple of drinks beforehand.

We all want people to look at us, unless we are engaged in stealing an ATM machine. Attention is money to us, and ego inflation, and validation of our existence. What we tend to forget is that attention in certain circumstances can bring handcuffs or counter-battery fire. We would do well to decide just how much of any of these we really want…before we give that shout out.

I have decided that my strategy to get more traffic will be to show kittens doing things to puppies. It seems to work on Facebook, and as long as the supply of small fuzzy animal babies holds out, success is ensured. Of course the kittens and puppies will grow up to be squalling, smelly, poop machines that will eat me out of house and home and crowd me out of bed but that is the price you pay for fame.

Bait Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar

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As the Right Evil Bastard of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia I am often presented with appeals from members of the general public for redress against evildoers. This arises from what I feel to be a mis-understanding of the basic premise of the Guild. We are not here to protect you from your enemies. We are here to show you how to protect yourself…by destroying people BEFORE they become enemies. We are here to teach you how to murder your friends.

There are as many ways of doing this as there are Baskins-Robbins ice cream flavours – though most of what we preach is not as good as the salted caramel. If you are going to attack people one of the basic things you are going to have to learn, however, is how to protect yourself against countermeasures.

You are going to have to assume that everything you say will be noticed and that you will be called to account for this by either a legal body or the wider court of public opinion. You must secure your position beforehand by one of a number of ploys:

a. Play on age. Let people know that you are too young to be taken seriously before you attack them. If they respond you scurry behind your puberty and squall. Alternately, you work the ” I’m old and I don’t need to be nice to anyone anymore ” pedal as hard as you can. This is better done post-attack and you can then use pictures of Bea Arthur or Clint Eastwood to distract people.

b. Establish credentials with a ghostly third party. Claim to be religious and to enjoy the protection of divinity…even if the things you do are far from divine. At the very least you can say that you are merely repeating the teachings of whichever ancient legend is currently in fashion. Pick a legend that is not readily explainable.

c. Put a protective barrier of illness up and crouch behind it. This is the equivalent of setting up a shield on a battlefield and loading your  crossbow from behind it – sort of a mental pavise. You can paint what you like on the front: from anxiety to full-blown madness….whatever. You can even get away with physical ailments as long as they don’t show up on X-rays. The details are not important – what is vital is that you can duck behind it when someone shoots back.

d. Remember the old story-telling ruse – so often seen in Hollywood – that was invoked when an author ran out of ideas or painted his characters into such impossible plots that there was no way out. The publisher merely inserted ” And then he woke up and found it was all a dream…”. You can use this when caught out in some vileness – just say that it was all imagination and then tell people they have NO imagination or they would have seen that.

e. Dress oddly and act oddly for long enough that someone takes note. Then whenever you need to retreat from what you have said or done you can claim to be artistic. If you have a watercolour set you can claim to be an artist.

f. Never wade into an infantry assault when you can call in the artillery…or better yet, an air strike. When you want to be offensive or bigoted on social media, post other people’s reposts of whatever troublesome material you can find. It will still be nasty, but you’ll be wearing several layers of protection against being smirched by handling it. After all, it was just something you saw…

g. ” It was all a joke ” is one of the best quick throw-away excuses to try. In some cases it works, particularly if you accuse your now-enemy of having no sense of humour. It’s a dangerous defence though, as having cited humour, you are subject to it as well. Do not do this if your opponent has a ready wit – it will redound.

h. Can you cry? If you can you may be able to turn the tables on an opponent by the simple act of tearing up. Not so good if you are a nose-dribbler at the same time or experience the need to urinate. Pathos and bathos are too closely aligned.

Please be aware that there are also some standards connected to publishing – whether it is on the internet or in some more tangible form. Indeed, the electronic media is the more dangerous; anything said to your disadvantage may be stored for a thousand years and then trotted out to your embarrassment. And as it has a wider broadcast of good, it also has a larger spray of bad – and the subsequent penalty for that may be higher. Even if it only involves people seeing that you are a fool, your folly will be that much more evident.

All this having been said, it is still refreshing to see the number of Guild members who are prepared to go out there and defame, slander, and libel. It keeps the courts happy and the rest of us can concentrate on daily living. If there is the occasional fist in the teeth or writ in the mail, it os a small price to pay for demonocracy.

 

 

 

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Being Offended For Fun And Profit

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I have often admired the mantra ” Every day, in every way, I’m getting bitter and bitter. ” It seems to be the sort of saying that would suit Baudelaire or Oscar Levant.

Or then again there is the biblical injunction ” If the eye of another offend thee, pluck it out. ” It explains a lot of what I see on Facebook.

Now it is all very well to be offended by things. One could hardly pass a day awake without some form of unpleasantness or inconvenience cropping up. The problem is how to make the offence work for you – how to turn a good profit from a bad investment or a good time from a bad decision. Let The Guild help you:

a. There is something about everyone that can offend someone else if they look diligently for it. – even the kindest of people can be seen in a bad light if we are prepared to take a few of the bulbs out of our intellectual lamp. Take the Dalai Lama, for instance. Hard to fault him on kindness or peaceful mien, but what about those eyebrows, hey? You can’t tell me he’s not doing that on purpose. He’s taking the piss, surely. And who told him he could call you Shirley? That’s offensive, that is.

b. Offence = defence is an equation that can be used to justify nearly anything we would like to do.

c. If you are offended someone owes you something. Money, land, white Toyota Land Cruisers, respect, a seat in Parliament, an apology, several apologies, unending apologies…well the list is endless…and tempting. What would you like to have and who has it and what sort of fuss do you need to make to get it? Come on, think .

d. A mind is a terrible thing to loose…on other people. When you are going to go spare over some offence, plan how far you are going to go – once your argument is out of your mouth ( or wherever else you may keep it…) it is open to refutation and condemnation. It may not be possible to get it back in a usable form.

e. Being on your lonesome and offended by something is a sad thing but if you can get a group together to agree that you are outraged it is the foundation of a rather good beer and cheese party. At the very least you can give each other a feeling of solidarity – though in some cases that is just the effect of the cheese.

f. You must consider the worst case scenario – you call offence and the person whom you have targeted apologizes to you. If it is in a public forum then everyone sees the exchange. At that point, the ball is in your hands, and you must be careful not to fumble it. If you fail to acknowledge the apology and just repeat your howl of outrage you look like a wad. Worse still, you look like a boring wad, and continuing to try to get on top of the situation just reinforces that image. If you go on the attack, you invite the same retaliation that you tried – and people look to see you destroyed in turn. If you go silent and slink away you look like a cowardly wad.

You may be forced to forgive someone, as infuriating as that sounds. And the horrible part of that is that they will go away and forget the incident but you will find it seared into you like a scar.