I Was Memeing To Tell You Something…

But I forgot what it was when I saw the picture of the cat and Donald Trump.

I did not used to be so easily distracted by political propaganda or sentimental eyewash. I could open a magazine and go straight to the comics or the centerfold and needed only the briefest interval to take in the advertisements and support articles. I was even better with a hard-cover book, particularly if it had pictures of airplanes.

The thing about the olden days ( Elvis, dinosaurs…) was that we had to wait longer periods to get our commercial pressure up – the newspaper came out once a day and the big glossy magazines once a month. None us up in Alberta could get Radio Moscow until the 1960’s  and the hey-day of the cruder Soviet propaganda had passed by then – plus the local reds had been rooted out and either jailed or elected. We just did not have access to the wealth of top-quality lies that the internet provides. And the ones we did get were crude things… three-four colours at the most and on really poor paper.

We could, of course, still get lies, innuendo, bias,bigotry, and political pressure from our friends, but we got that face-to-face. This made it fresher but surprisingly toned it down somewhat. You can’t really get into someone’s face if their fist gets in the way.

We were somewhat susceptible to kitties and puppies. But most of us had kitties or puppies ( or their older variations; the damned cat and the smelly dog) and we were less likely to associate them with the coming teenage rebellion against the patriarchal-hegemony of the neo-conservative leftist centralists of June 17th. We mostly associated them with playing with string or tennis balls. We were politically inexperienced children.

I think it will be a case of reforming my character in the future. I will take the oath not to pass on memes or scarlet fever. I will pledge to limit my protest marching upon the barricades to the times when I can actually find a barricade. I will speak severely to Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, and Vladimir Putin the next time they are in my living room in person. Oh, they’ll still get the cup of tea and slice of orange poppy-seed cake, but the atmosphere may be frosting.

I meant frosty. I was distracted by cake.

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Vladimir? We Have Problem.

Is leaking again. Someone lift lid and gas escape. Germans and French find out.

Ministry of Denial is deny it but damned western press still report. Not sure if the story about it being from Romania worked.

Quick – time to distract. Get Australian branch of Ministry to make film about Amerikanski waste dump in Pacific island. That keep them busy for a while.

Meantime we glue lid on Chelyabinsk once more. Old stuff dissolve in rain. Soviet-era glue to blame – those responsible will be liquidate.

Back Into The Black

No, I don’t mean we’re finally profitable – that’ll take a bit longer. I mean the upper margin of this weblog column page has been returned to the black border that it started with.

The recent same-sex plebiscite was occasion for it to be turned into a rainbow spectrum in support of the “yes” vote. It was a design decision put in by WordPress, presumably made by someone in their organisation who wished to call attention to the matter.

It will remain to be seen whether this returns when the time for the vote in Federal Parliament is nigh – and whether similar design decisions in support of other political matters will ever float around the pages. What colours do you put up for tariff barriers or bimetallism?

It would also be interesting to see if people who pay for their themes and pages ( I don’t ) found that they also had it added. Betcha they didn’t.

Free the Political Prismers

Don’t I mean political prisoners? No, though it might be a nice gesture for them, too.  And in some cases it would give them a welcome opportunity to take their turn as the local tyrant and imprison others. A game of musical cells…

What I really want is freedom from the complimentary rainbow that WordPress stuck on my blog page some weeks ago. As pleasant as it might look, and as charming as the cause for which it advocates may be, it is a banner that has little to do with the rest of the writing. It is also a little cloying.

I hope that when the results of the same-sex-Simon-Says plebiscite are announced and the business goes off to the parliament for resolution that the WordPress operators will take it off again. They can bombard their members of parliament with as many rainbows as they like, but I’d appreciate a return to normal* round here. If people want bands of colour, I can make them in Photoshop and string them all over the place.

Here’s one advocating triple-expansion cylinders for French steam locomotives. I think it deserves your support.

 

*  Normal is not a good thing to define as it tends to make the neighbors nervous.

Whut He Sed

Don’t tell us what he said. Please, don’t. And in particular, please don’t show us by copying and pasting or ” sharing ” something.

Tell us what you say. If it is influenced by what you have read or seen, that is fine. We are all impacted by the world in this way. It helps us to shape our own opinions. And if we explain someone else’s thoughts that have passed through our own minds, they might have picked up more truth or clarity along the way.

The information business is so widespread these days that we really do not need to have someone’s third or fourth-hand pamphlet, meme, or opinion thrust upon us like a dead chicken on a stick*. We can go and get this sort of intellectual carrion for ourselves from Google. If you wish to engage our attention and persuade us to your opinion, give it to us in your own words and show us your own images. We’ll judge them, and you, with far more leniency than some re-hash of fake news or propaganda.

Who knows – as H.L. Mencken used to say ” You may be right…”. Of course H.L. was making a wry face when he said this, but you’ve gotta do something with your eyebrows in any case.

  • That was a vacation, I can tell you…

It’s All The Fault Of…

Of? Of whoever you don’t like. And that is the beauty of modern life; there are so many people that we know about that we can always have a scapegoat. Whenever we need to pin something onto someone, there will be a suitable person available. And there will be people who agree wholeheartedly with us.

A couple of classic examples: Putin and Trump. Ostensibly the leaders of the two most powerful military forces in the world. Possibly a couple of maniacs. Probably two people who are making it up as they go along. Whoever and whatever they really are, they can be the bogeymen for all of us whenever the complexity of the world starts to become evident. It’s all their fault…

The man of the dark ages or of the medieval world had no such easy human excuse. The villager or townsman might only know a couple of dozen other people in the world, and if none of them fitted the bill for a malefactor, then they would have to fall back upon the devil or supernatural spirits. A villain was needed, as will always be the case when people do not want to take responsibility for their own folly, but if your ville was very small you needed to go outside it.

Our media is really a blessing in this matter – every day it brings us stories of how bad it all is, and assures us that it will only get worse. It holds up the hoary head of the pirate/tyrant/media personality and invites us to spit at it. We duly expectorate according to expectation and all are happy. The media is served.

And it is served because of the fine people who sponsor the advertisements. Hate Trump? Buy these sunglasses. Sneer at Putin? Here’s a holiday advertisement.

Here’s a thought. If you hate Americans or Russians or people from Tierra Del Fuego…write down all the times that you have actually been injured by someone from that hated country. Be honest. Only the times of direct contact, eye to eye…

Can I have the other half of that sheet of paper that you’re not using? I wanna draw pictures of angels and devils on it…

The NoProp Sign

nopropI have been clearing my letterbox for years of all the advertising pamphlets, catalogues and flyers. Not a day goes by that doesn’t see a handful of them in there. While I applaud the free-enterprise spirit that has driven the shops, printers, and elderly Chinese men who plod patiently down the street to deliver them, the bulk and waste is getting to me.

Apparently a simple sign saying ” No Junk Mail ” works to some extent, though it seems a little judgemental. One of my correspondents said that she used one of these but took it down when she felt sorry for the delivery person.

Another  friend suggested that I post the unwanted material back to the advertisers who initiated it but leave the postage off the front to the envelope. This has a certain mean appeal. Yet another thought a composting letter box that fed the snails would be a good idea – trouble is it might eat up actual letters that fall through by mistake.

I have yet to make a decision about the paper post. But I have decided to try something to stem the flow on the computer. I don’t mean in emails – I get very few junk emails as it is – I mean in the Facebook social media page. I am going to experiment with the business of stopping propaganda.

The recent American election was bad enough for nine months, but it now appears that there will be an unlimited effort for an unlimited time by people who want to shout electronically. They will shout politics, religion, irreligion, sex, economics, and every other damn topic unbidden. As far as the quality of the propaganda, even the old 1920’s Soviet agitprop was elegant and tasteful compared to the stuff that is YouTubed out there today.

Okay. Today the experiment starts. I have prepared a sticker – you’ll see the form of it on the heading image. The universal traffic symbol for ” prohibited ” overlain on a typewriter ” P “. The feld-grau backdrop for the letter is not symbolic – it was just in the colour chooser at the time. I am going to append this sticker to any blatant propaganda that is fed onto my Facebook page.

I expect it – and I –  will be removed by some of the posters as being critical of them. If they look carefully they may find that this is not quite the case – if a person takes the time to write their own essay about their own opinions, and then can cite actual evidence to support these, I am ready to read and discuss it all. I am not prepared to take at face value evidence, attitudes, or assaults that would not stand in a magistrate’s court.

The NoProp sticker comes out when someone just “shares” some meme, placard, or pre-packaged pressure group drama – wherever it comes from. Won’t stop the haters from hating, nor from waving their electronic placards, but it will tell them that I am calling the stuff for what it is – propaganda.