Playing the Long Game

January 31, 2007

The jester gets dull and preachy about egalitarianism*, long game plans, sex and public nudity. Except for the bits about sex about public nudity.

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We in Democracies are familiar with the societal short game plan. The short game plan or ‘Short Game’ has come about because our democracies are based on the rights of the individual rather than the good of society as a whole. For instance: our system of law is based, in theory if not in practice, on the premise that we would rather 100 guilty men walk free then an innocent man go to jail.

Hence the “beyond reasonable doubt” ideal in the USA and the “preponderance of evidence” in the UK. So an OJ Simpson can walk free at least some of the time and in return we demand that we are never, ever incarcerated for something we did not do. If we were worried about the good of society first our legal systems would convict on “the balance of evidence.” If you look 51% guilty then off you go. No more dodgy Presidents or Prime Ministers.

The Short Game Plan has landed us with the war in Iraq, reality television, poverty in Africa, global warming, a failing format in first world education and Oprah as the highest paid entertainer on the planet. Our prediliction to judge purely on how things are affecting us now leads us to vilify George Bush, Tony Blair, Christians, UFOlogists, Saddam Hussein, Ricky Lake and my Aunt Mildred and her Stupid Blue Hair.

But 100 years from now how much will any of these things matter and if they do, what might the world think? Historically we can see what a difference small decisions might have made that could have had a huge effect on history: Moses remembering his map before leaving the house and not having to rely on Gods directions; Adolf Hitler’s mom giving him a hug from time to time; the English leaving the criminals in England and emigrating to Australia’s sun and surf instead of the other way around (England would be winning the cricket, for one).

In 100 years the middle east conflict may have escalated and result in the death of everyone except 3 men, 4 women and a goat named Ahmed who all decide this religious intolerance thing was a dumb idea and just a fad anyway, begin wearing bright colours and start a commune, vindicating George and Tony and their invasion of Iraq.

Ricky Lake’s trash talking not-at-all-coached guests may inspire North Americans to finally switch off the TV and read a book instead if only to make absolutely sure they do not become those people on television.

In 100 years time Christine, Jesus Christ’s sister may have popped down, much to the embarrasment of the atheists and apologised for the delay in the second coming, “which was meant to happen, rather dramatically, on the eve of 2000 but my brother has been bogged down designing an 180 hole golf-course in heaven since 1998 and you know how these projects get out of hand…”- which is why she diceided to step in and organising everything. She is very upset that the whole egalitarian society-thing hasn’t been properly sorted out yet and what’s all this worry about drugs: when “Dad” made all the animals and plants for man he just wasn’t just screwing around. And not to worry all you athiests, satanists, reborn christians and other hated groups: it was universal peace and love and understanding, not a private club. Oh, and chuck that book you’ve been using, it’s way too full of inane, mysoginistic bullshit.

In that same future My aunt Mildred may have had her “Blue Hair keeps out the alien voices” theory proved right as UFOlogists announce they have made contact with their first alien, Steve, who works ‘in accounts’ near Betelgeuse IV and is sorry for ruining all those crops but he thought they were insured and “didn’t the patterns look pretty, though.”

So, hindsight is not really 20:20. Hindsite is long-sighted. Things get clearer the further away from them you get because the context gets broader.

In the 20th century we have been raised less and less over subsequent generations to look at the big picture or long game plan. Time was, even in the west, when planning was done not only for the children but the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Building wealth and security was something you did over multiple generations. It’s not long ago that clothed and fed with a roof over your head meant pretty well off. Poverty did not wear, as it does now in the first world, $100 or even $50 sneakers.

To my point: Every movie I have ever seen portraying an ideal future, a utopia, shows an egalitarian* society. All with equal access to amenities, all with little time spent working and more time spent thinking or creating as robots take over most menial labour, no concept of wealth or anyone being above another in power. Influence, status and respect based on behaviours (whether they be physical, intellectual or creative achievements) rather than accumulation in wealth and power. I, certainly, could live with that.

The standard capitalist argument is that an egalitarian society creates no incentive or drive and is therefore doomed to fail. If people are not allowed to achieve wealth and power as an aim then they will get lazy. This agument is a failure in the face of evolutionary-driven mammalian behaviour. Mammals use status to find a mate. Remove wealth and power as aphrodisiacs and people must concentrate on social achievement of whatever kind for status. Status drive becomes a positive influence rather than a negative one.

So, can anyone out there conceive, by thinking a long game, how we get from where we are and our current direction, to there? For the first time ever there are societies that can afford advanced egalitarian societies. Capitalism has driven first world economies to that point. But to actually get to an egalitarian state will require the overhall of negativity toward social programs. All of these are caused by the negative marketing attached to communism. The detach between socialist ideals and communist ideals need to be broken permanently.

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* e·gal·i·tar·i·an [i-gal-i-tair-ee-uhn] Pronunciation Key

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adjective

1. asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, esp. in political, economic, or social life.

–noun

2. a person who adheres to egalitarian beliefs.

 

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Modern Sex (pt3)

January 31, 2007

brigitte-bardot_tummy.jpg

I am 34. I can program a 14-day video timer in seconds. I can plug in a modern entertainment system in minutes. It takes me only hours to assemble IKEA furniture. I know how to use power tools. I can set up a computer network, build a house and solar generator, sew on a button, drive a washing machine or iron and make a women I know, and sometimes ones I don’t, come to orgasm… so I am fairly familiar with complicated equipment.

The porn revolution has brought sexual technique to a whole new generation. We are, as societies, better at it, younger than ever before. More and more the abnormal is becoming normal and rather than all this taking the romance away from sex, the added knowledge has bred confidence. Confidence is sexy- and sexy never hurt romance one iota.

Conservatism in the USA and annoying, fatuous young girls claiming abstinence to make their pious, pedarastic* fathers practically explode with delight only serve to make the rest of us want to get laid more often. The vatican in deciding to make a Nazi Pope, rather than a black man, entrenching conservatism and consequently refusing to come to it’s senses and allow use of birth control and little pre-marital fooling about only adds to the sinful excitement for god-botherers everywhere. By the way, men out there. The sin of ‘spilling your seed’ also known as ‘having a quick one off the wrist’ is just as big a sin as pre-marital sex, adultery and incest (they are not, actually, officially rated in levels) so you may as well just go for it. Have a ball. As it were.

Not to say, with all this newfound freedom, that women have lost the art of the flirt and the game. Not so, they are better at it, more assured of themselves and their desirability than ever before. With- in the larger more cosmopolitan cities at least, less and less fear of negative societal stigmas and labels.

So with everyone out there riding, squirting, bonding, buggering, swinging, felching, shagging, fellating, rim-jobbing, dressing up in latex and leather and giving each other the old pearl necklace what do we do next? Where do we go? The answers are, simply: whatever we want, wherever we want. The new sexual revolution is out there and waiting for you, possibly in a dark alleyway. That is, it’s there for the taking if you decide that you actually just don’t give a rat’s arse what people think and go for it.

Let’s face it, what with cloning technology and test-tube babies- in a couple of years you won’t be shagging to have children any more anyway. One egg, a few thousand enthusiastic sperm and a small amount of caffiene in a test tube should see you right. The fetus can gestate in a shoebox under the bed and you: you youthful, attractive mother-to-be won’t have to wander around with back-ache for 6 months craving peanut butter, cress and mustard sandwiches; and can avoid the cost of that tummy tuck and personal trainer afterwards. You can jump straight in to not speaking to your husband ever again and having an affair like everyone else.

Perhaps one final step is needed, though, for proper liberation. It is a step away from the emaciated female clothes horse as any sort of female ideal. A movement back toward curves and a fuller figure. I am not talking “three-happy-meals-a-day” size but also not “I’ll-just-have-a-salad and throw up in toilets” size either.

I am fairly sure that few men except for the extremely trendy, image concious ones ever really bought into the idea of a girfriend who lived on water, air and cocaine: half-crazed with hunger and desperately distracting herself with shopping, wearing very large sunglasses and personal drama. And the thing with extremely trendy, image conscious men is that they’re all gay. Yes even him, the one you’re sleeping with**. He just hasn’t worked out how to tell his mother yet. It is important to remember in the historical sexiness stakes that Marilyn Monroe didn’t miss an awful lot of meals (other issues aside) and neither did Brigette Bardot.

[missing paragraph replaced] Whereas it took me all of 30 odd years to learn to handle really complicated equipment the new generation have been handed the sexual equivalent of a full IKEA catalogue, a full set of instruction manuals and a broad choice of power tools. Lucky bastards.
So tune in, pig out and go in to the office late tomorrow. With the handcuffs still attached to your wrists.

Previously, in this series:
Modern Sex written 14 Dec 1998

Modern Sex pt2 written 13 Jun 1999

*- because they know little boys won’t be getting any elsewhere: pederast noun {C} a man who has illegal sex with a young boy

** Unless he’s Italian***. They are the only stylish, straight men. They have entirely different issues with their mothers, though.

*** No, not Argentinian either: gay; also not upperclass British: very gay; definitely not German: ubergay.

a perfect life (fin)

January 30, 2007

note: not ‘the’: ‘a’.

there’s an old man in an old town. he is a good man. a kind man. a gentle man. a wise man. a boring man. his smiling, happy wife died four years ago. he is also a lonely man. every day when walking down mainstreet he greets everyone as they pass, deciding who’s day it will be today.

if it’s your day he will stop you for a chat. he will tell you a story. he is not a natural storyteller. his stories go on too long. he get’s bogged down in meaningless detail. he goes off on irrelevant tangents but never forgets to go back to the exact point in the story and continue. he gets there in the end. you listen attentively. there is value to the story, if not the telling. you listen, nod, smile, absorb.

he is a kind man. you give him your time, your ear. time is the most valuable thing anyone has and you give yours to him because he needs it and he deserves it.

i arrive at my breakfast meeting 20 minutes late but not flustered. the others are waiting, having some early morning banter with the waitress and cook. i apologise and explain why i am late and they get it. the subject is closed.

at the meeting the subject of race comes up. jack tells a joke at the expense of jews. david is a jew and doesn’t bat an eyelid. it is unnecessary as both he and i trust jack and jack’s intent. even if he didn’t or it hadn’t come from someone he trusted like jack david would just dismiss such a thing as ignorant commentary not worth the trouble of getting upset.

after the meeting i go to the supermarket and off-license. it is owned by a local couple. they have two children, a boy and a girl. smart and decent looking teenagers with just the right amount of healthy disrespect for authority. the boy, who got a tattoo last week, pushed it a little far last summer and took a drunk joyride in a car belonging to a local. his parents made him repaint the courthouse and the sports club. the sheriff overlooked it since no-one got hurt and the boy got disciplined. his tattoos are spelled correctly.

the supermarket is 15% more expensive than the corporate one in the next town over. everyone knows this. none more than the owners. they make sure you are looked after. they remember your name. they ask gentle questions about your life. they remember your favourites. they sell so well you always walk out broke and happy. when they realised some people were getting jittery about going in just for milk or a paper (because the salesmanship was so good) rather than change their approach they organised a milk and paper round and saved everyone the trouble. so everyone knows: when you go there, beware! take cash only and a limited amount. happy and broke, everytime.

no-one bothers to go to the shop the next town over. better broke and happy than thrifty and irritable. the supermarket opens at 10 and closes at 5.30. last year on my birthday i was disorganised and arrived, late, at 6, outside the doors. everyone was gone. i went around to their house and begged them to help me out. if they came and opened up for me i would pay double. they looked at me like i was mad. double indeed. they gave me the spare keys and told me to scan the items through the front till so i knew the cost. i could drop off the money the following day.

there’s very little for the local kids to do in a small town. around once a month one of the parents give up their home and go to friends for the evening. the kids have a party and get up to no good. if it’s going to happen it may as well happen in plain sight. if something in the house is broken or damaged all the kids have to chip in to pay for it. if anyone gets hurt there’s usually neighbors on either side. the kids know that in a small town there are no secrets. solve the problem, don’t conceal anything, pay for your mistakes and everyone will move on.

a few years ago there was a strange face hanging around town. late 20s, blond hair, dark complection, ragged clothes. he was caught shoplifting and handed over to the sheriff. he was made to clean the police station from top to bottom, spotless. he was given a decent dinner and held over-night. the following morning 3 families came by and offered garden work. one of them had a granny flat and said for one day a week of work he could stay there. he stayed 6 weeks. stole a car from the family he was staying with and made off. he was caught by the sherrif in the next town and dragged back.

the judge gave him a week in a cell, made him clean out the town sewers for a further week and fined him an amount equal to the fuel missing from the car. after sentancing, once the stenographer had packed away her equipment, after the editor of our local paper had left the room and it was just him, the sheriff and the stranger the judge had a word with him.

he had been given a chance. it was his only one. if he was seen in our town again he would be arrested and thrown in a cell. charges would be fabricated, the trial would be quick and he would find himself in a jail cell for 5 years. everyone in town knows what was said, even if there were no witnesses.

as i’m leaving the supermarket the old man is just crossing over to the other side of the street on his daily walkabout. he is from a different generation. with his wife gone four years his neighbours still deliver a hot meal to his house five nights a week. one meal from each house on either side and the three houses opposite. every week someone invites him around for sunday lunch or a weekend dinner. usually any kids in the house bail out. after a glass of wine he tells stories of his youth, of when he met his wife. when he does his stories take on a living, vibrant quality. not the doddery confused, easily distracted stories of a monday morning or wednesday afternoon on main street. they are filled with light and colour and love and they fascinate and enthrall and remind whoever hears them of their very, very best days.

small towns occur everywhere. in the middle of open plains. in the middle of big, cosmopolitan cities. homes occur in mansions, hovels, internment camps, under bridges.

there are as many different perfect lives as there are people. probably more.

i have four.

Ideas for a more representative political process.

The increasing worldwide trend of branding and labeling in politics has decreased true representation of joe public (you, not the clothing store) in democratic politics. How, in fact, can any system where people are unaware what they are voting for be considered properly democratic? As I have mentioned in a previous post, marketing and advertising companies spend around $450 billion ($450 trillion if you’re an American- I use European billions) on learning how to manipulate you.

That means, on average, they spend 450,000,000,000 times more than your girlfriend/ parents/ kids on getting you to do what they want and I know how good my girlfriend was at that stuff. So you can take it, even if you think you’re a genius, that these folks know how to tap right into the lizard/ mammalian/ orang-outang part of your brain, which isn’t quite so smart, to get you to do what they want. usually this involves buying Pepsi or a burger made from flavoured styrofoam. In politics it means Americans call themselves Republicans or Democrats, South Africans (for all our progress) vote mostly along the old race divide, the English vote along old class lines for Tories or Labour.

In South Africa we used to have Ward Councillors elected directly by the ward of (white) constituents. His or her face was on the poster and they lived in your constituency so if the garbage men didn’t pitch or your house got burgled and the police were lacklustre you could accost them in the supermarket and make their lives miserable. Such are the joys of public service. These councillors, though, were still members of a political party and you tended to vote for the councillor who had the right badge. Parties did, however, tend to replace defective ward councillors rather quickly come the next election.

So, what if you had ward councillors who were not allowed to be official members of parties or funded by them? Who had to come up with their own manifesto aimed specifically at their ward? You would still vote along party lines, with a national and international agenda, in a national election but with indedpendent local elections I think you would see two changes for the better, three if you count panicky, nervous politicians.

First, local ward councillors would be more efficient at delivering to their population what they needed and councillors who did not would find themselves easily turned over. This would be because they, at that level, would be able to afford little marketing and branding and would be individually recognisable and approachable in the community. Everything would be down to the communication skills and credible performances of the councillor in question.

Second, local councillors who were reliable and did serve their constituents well would start to have a strong influence over how people voted nationally. They would be able to feed back to their constituents if they felt hounded, blocked or helped by a particular party in providing what their constituents needed. This would remove some of the power of the branding machine and place it back in the hands of someone trusted by the people of the constituency.

Comments?

Promise not to do anything dull and political for a while after these two.

political posts all at http://midnightjester.newsvine.com

Regional politics has no relevance any more.

In many democratic nations like the USA and South Africa politics and political leadership is still contested on a local, regional and national level. Is it not time to reassess the need for regional politics as merely a drain on resources?

Going through the main areas of government it is difficult to find reasons to maintain the regional structure. Although in the USA the regionally elected senate fills an important role in their checks-and-balances, much like the house of lords in the UK, their state governors seem redundant as do our provincial MECs in South Africa.

In the USA, a federation of 51 (I include, sadly, the UK these days) semi-independent states, the politics involved in dissolving these would be nigh impossible politically, but probably not so difficult logistically. In South Africa I doubt whether there would be more than a couple of years of logistical snafus, at least no worse than we have at regional level now. So in what department do we, in South Africa, need regional governance rather than just local and national?

Health. Health is best represented at local level, regional level health does not work. In a country where the only transport is public for much of the populace local health for all basic care is what is needed. For advanced care a third-world country cannot afford to run a wide-base of programs- cancer treatment, major surgery, bubonic plague* on a regional level and should centralise to one or two national points. Regional is unnecessary.

Security. You generally face two levels of crime: petty and organised. Housebreakings, muggings and so on are best dealt with on a local level- people are needed close to ground zero and information needs to be quickly and easily shared between officers and stations in localised areas. Organised crime seldom operates purely on a regional level and tends, in our era, towards national and international frameworks. Here you need analysis of large amounts of information, expensive, sophisticated search equipment and a national police service with international information sharing.

Housing. This is a big issue in South Africa but again works best on local and national levels. Regional housing MECs are too far from the problems to quickly and easily resolve them without the power or clout of the national body.

Education. Primary and secondary education is most definitely a local concern and tertiary education more easily handled nationally.

Public transport, roads, fire. Again regional is unnecessary. Local transport would need co-ordination for standard work-home-social movement and national for intercity/town movement. Fire needs to deal with individual needs and national disasters.

Ultimately, there may end up being the occasional national department which needs subdivisions dealt with differently, like the parks board, but that, for example, could be done within the ‘national’ framework with appointees per park.

I know that in my dealings with government that national-level politics are beyond the influence of the individual. For that you need a lobbying or interest group to affect change. But a local ward** councillor voted for directly- not always on party lines, which South Africa used to have has to listen very, very carefully to his constituency. Constituencies are small and word spreads easily. With the ward councillors appointing a mayor in a separate vote you have a mayor beholden to the interests of the local ward areas.

With localised politics the needs of a community can get quicker redress. With national politics you get a cohesive economic, transport and education policy to direct the country’s wealth and talent in a single(ish)*** direction. If you allow local tax collection (rates, etc) to go directly to local government you remove the national departmental drain on those funds as they filter back down. poorer areas would obviously benefit from more support from the national body than the wealthier.

Jester

*- well, what the hell.
**- voting geographic constituency of ‘x’-‘x+10%’ number of voters
***- this is politics, after all.

political posts all at http://midnightjester.newsvine.com

Idiocy on the Web

January 27, 2007

Beth Robbins is not a clever person in any sense of the word clever. She can write with decent grammar and either her magazine reading or her spell checker is up to date, if American in disposition. Nonetheless, Beth is an idiot. I use the word idiot advisedly: the freesearch dictionary describes an idiot, quite simply, as “a stupid person or someone who is behaving in a stupid way.” So we have her coming and going. This definition can leave her and her ilk in no doubt as to what I refer to.

I came accross the idiot Robbins because of my new favourite Internet site, the self proclaimed ‘best page in theuniverse’. The reason why I enjoy the writing can be expressed by his opening statement:

“This page is about me and why everything I like is great. If you disagree with anything you find on this page, you are wrong.”

In this age of deference, political correctness and religious tolerance it is refreshing to come accross someone who is opinionated, bigoted, nasty, confident and (most importantly) well spoken. He writes like a man who finally cracked at the unrepenting idiots of the world (just like Beth) and needed a place to vent. For instance, in his piece titled “Five shitty movies that everyone loves” he matches my feelings exactly:

“Ever watch a blockbuster movie that blows so much that you feel like you have to scrape a layer of turd-shaped photons off the back of your retinas, yet everyone else in the universe can’t wait to fellate the director of the big-budget shit festival you just watched? I know I’m not the only one who walked out of “Willow” thinking “too bad I don’t know any midgets so I could remind them that the golden age of midgetry will soon pass and that I will always be taller.” Just kidding, that was mean; there was no golden age of midgetry.”

Our dear, idiot Beth wants maddox shut down. Eradicated from the internet. Destroyed and probably hung, drawn and quartered (although she probably wouldn’t want it done in front of children). Her website, called MAM or Mothers against Maddox, is dedicated entirely to this ideal. Her reasons? Maddox is offensive! Maddox is making children unhappy, angry and hateful! The good news is she believes in free speech on the internet. Hooray! Oh, wait. Except when it harms children. Really:

“To start off, I support freedom of speech on the internet, but not when it HARMS children.”

I’m sure she supports cars- except when they harm children by running them over and turning them into small, wet speed bumps; food- except when it harms children by making them obese, flatulent and without hope of sex in their future and I’m sure she supports children- except when they’re beating the snot out of her child at school for naving being raised with no backbone or ability to deal with adversity.

Note in her writing what I like to call ‘idiot capitalisations’, originally designed by advertising companies to sell shit that doesn’t work to idiots. Name one great literary work that needed to use bold, italics or capitals to get it’s point accross*. If you’re an idiot just try to name one great literary work. Spider-Man comics don’t count, no matter how much you (or I) want them to.

What Beth has failed to grasp is what we, in the (vaguely) civilised and literate world refer to as a sense of humour. Since Beth was raised with no critical evaluation faculties she assumes her son has none either. Naturally, if maddox encourages suicide, 50cent encourages shooting cops and being ‘a nigga’ or Marilyn Manson encourages whatever it is he is meant to encourage (dressing badly and making a shitload of money?) her son will do them BECAUSE HE HAS ONLY EVER BEEN TAUGHT TO DO WHAT HE IS TOLD*.

I don’t often write to people I know, let alone people I don’t know, but I had to.

Dear Beth,

An interesting site you have, it is important for parents to stick together for the benefit of their children. And it is, of course, perfectly reasonable for you to inflict whatever viewpoint you have on your son. Western governments are kind enough to admit that they don’t have a ‘proper and correct’ methodology for raising children and so allow us all our best shot within a few practical limitations of violence, social cleanliness and sexual perfidity.

Having read the article on suicide you hold in such esteem I would confidently affirm that anyone with an IQ allowing themselves to cross a road unassisted would be able to tell that the article was not meant as a serious treatise. Anyone unable to cross the road unassisted has bigger things to worry about than suicide.

Regardless of your views on the subject I would hope that you would not wish to impose your views and restrictions on to me, an innocent some thousands of miles away who thinks of maddox’s site as one of the best and funniest on the web, regardless of whether I agree with his opinions or not. It is a welcome break from the rubbish turned out by almost everyone else.

As to your problem, perhaps some sort of restriction of your son’s surfing habits is in order, or perhaps you could remove his computer entirely and make him play a little sport. If necessary some sort of chaperone could follow him around 24hours a day making sure that he does not step outside of your clearly defined moral guidelines or, god forbid, become moody.

Perhaps now that it is 2007 and your son still lives you may look back and realise that the deep moodiness you observed was puberty. After all, sexual maturation is a fearful thing when what little you know comes from a combination Hollywood movies and talks with other pubescent teens at lunch.

Nonetheless it is not your place to have maddox banned any more than it would be mine to have panicky, controlling parents ritually and publicly beaten for passing on their somewhat fascist phobias of conflicting views to their children. I think both our chances of success are limited in this regard.

Sincerely,

Jester

I am sure Idiot beth and her ilk would be fuming if they had read this piece and got this far. “He’s just the same type of person!” They would shout, “It’s just them trying to stick together!”

This is not true. I am, in actuality, far worse than maddox. I think of everything as entertainment. Things at least appear to make him actually annoyed and emotive where I only get annoyed or have an emotion if I think it might be amusing to do so. If her child had been dumb enough to commit suicide after one of maddox’s pieces I would find that hysterical (and a relief to the species that his genes were not passed on). I lied about the last use of quotes from your site, by the way maddox, here is an extract of what she fears her 14yr old son read:

“Thinking about suicide but you’re not sure if it’s the right thing to do? Here are some tips to help you decide whether or not killing yourself is a good choice:

1. Do you live at home but your parents are always making you clean your room and do your homework? It’s a sure sign that they don’t love you and that they want you to kill yourself. Why else would they make you clean your room? What are they going to do next, ground you? Make you wear braces? Don’t kid yourself, the message is clear.

4. Spill a drink at a party? Drop a plate of food in a restaurant? Nobody else has to live with that kind of embarrassment; you know what you have to do.”

Yes, if that piece had made her son commit suicide I would laugh like a drain. Smartest species on the planet: my arse. And before you think there is a conspiracy of people like me and maddox against Idiotbeth (and her… Elk?) maddox doesn’t like people like me, either. This is what he has to say about bloggers:

“If the thousands of mid-sentence links don’t annoy you, the long slender columns of text will. Most of the screen on a blog is blank for an imaginary populace of readers still using 640×480 resolution. I didn’t buy a 19″ monitor to have 50% of its screen real-estate pissed away on firing white pixels, you assholes. They don’t print books on receipt paper for a reason. Every time I see this layout, I want to choke the creator with my dry, crackled, and bleeding hands for making my fingers so calloused from having to keep scrolling the mouse wheel to read your dumb ‘blog.'”

I’ll have you know, that’s grey pixels, maddox. Grey! The real irony is Idiotbeth is trying to save kids from “believing Maddox, or else they may grow up to become violent, prejudice adults like him.” I cannot speak for the violent part but prejudice comes from isolation and insular upbringing, not the reverse. Bigotry is a result of the breakdown of critical evaluation faculties (sometimes known as ‘thought’ or ‘thinking’, Idiotbeth) or the lack of access to a broad base of information and opinion and the subsequent parroting of someone else’s ideas and ideals as your own.

No-one should “believe” maddox. Or me. Or their teachers or parents or preachers or uncles who “just want to show them how much they love them”, Idiotbeth. But in maddox’s case you can at least enjoy his opinions, entertainingly presented as they are.

I encourage anyone and everyone to go and observe the evil that is maddox on

http://maddox.xmission.com/

and for further amusement check out Idiotbeth at

http://www.geocities.com/mothersagainstmaddox/main.htm

jester

* Yes, I am using things like capitals and italics and bold after vilifying them. this is called irony, or sarcasm**, or something. Look them up. The rest of the world has known about them for ages, like evolution.
** if sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, at least it is wit. Which is better than witless, idiot.

ref: http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net
ref: http://www.geocities.com/mothersagainstmaddox/main.htm

Postscripts

People like idiotbeth lead to the vilification of those people who keep the wheels of the (under)world lubricated- the porn stars, drug dealers, hookers, comedians and fences of stolen goods. All my favourite people, in fact.

I love the fact that her site reads like an advert for maddox if you have an ounce of freedom of thought. See if you aggree:

“Here are some examples of why Maddox’s site needs to be shut down:

Here, he tries to fool kids into believing that suicide is the “right thing” to do.
Here, he promotes child abuse.
Here, he insults “unfit” people and makes them seem like they’re inferior to others.
Here and here, he promotes hate against women while using stereotypical insults.
Here, he promotes the killing of whales.
Here, he makes fun of a group of people just because he doesn’t agree with their life choice.
Here, he tries to offend young kids by insulting their art.
Here, he promotes killing animals, while insulting vegetarians.
Here, he promotes littering.
Here, he insults children and promotes child abuse.
Here, he promotes violence.
Here, he attacks feminism.
Here, he promotes violence against the elderly.
Here, he attacks environmentalist groups and our world.”

Hell, I know I want to read every one of those pieces. Idiots like this need to talk to someone who doesn’t agree with them occasionally.

http://www.freesearch.co.uk- dictionary

 

idiot

noun {C}

a stupid person or someone who is behaving in a stupid way:

– Some idiot left the tap running in the bathroom and there’s water everywhere.

– {as form of address} You stupid idiot – that’s a month’s work you’ve lost!

Confidence

January 25, 2007

Warning: if you are beyond jingoism and too intelligent to be emotionally swayed, without reason, by the actions of 22 men of questionable character and a ball on a small but immaculately maintained piece of open land 10,000 miles away then this post may well shock you, or bore you to tears. You have been warned…

Never before in a match have our dear Tottenham Hotspur’s frailties been more in evidence. Losing a two-goal lead to a second string Arsenal side after the previous travesty that was the football match at Fulham is painful indeed.

In the first half with everything to play for Tottenham were, at times, magical. I speak not of the ‘disappearing team’ magic act that had so little commitment going forward against Fulham they looked like a gay bachelor in a shotgun white wedding, no. This was the real magic.

Forty-five minutes of nothing-to-lose, all-in, aggressive, stylish football. Spurs, a side that is notorious for only arriving 15 minutes late in many of it’s games, had even noted the kick-off time correctly.

Arsenal’s first 15 minutes were designed to take advantage of Tottenham’s frailty and lack of confidence against sides that close down aggresively and all the way up the pitch. Instead the men in (mostly) white turned it around and defended all the way up the pitch themselves, risking the back two being exposed and creating some wonderful attacks in the process. Even Gardner, who has always been my ‘mistake a match’ man and has had little first team football, looked comfortable. Arsenal, in turn, looked preplexed and even Flamini, with no supporting cast, found Zokora and Huddlestone too much.

I sat at half time hoping against hope to see more of the same in the second half and, for 10 minutes, that’s what I got. I was bouyed. Ninety minutes of attacking, committed football? Surely not!

I have spent the last 5 years screaming ineffectually at various television screens here in South Africa, trying desperately to get 11 men 10,000miles away to hear me. Shouting three important words we should all hear, from time to time, from the mouths of those most dear to us: “close him down!”. In retrospect perhaps an email would have been more effective. Or a text message.

Actually, once the appropriate prepositions and expletives have been added it’s more like seven words: “close him the fuck down, you bastard.” But that is less than relevant, “you say tomayto- I say tomarto” stuff for it was this, yet again that let us down.

First little BE-K at left back who had had a pretty storming game up to that point decided that the best course of action at the edge of the box was to stand six feet away from his opponent looking pensive and French. There are bad habits that can be picked up in France that are, on a good day filled with light and sunshine, forgivable. A man who wears a silly hat with no discernable front or back may still be my friend. A man who bakes bread in such a fashion and shape that it is unable to carry conveniently without causing destruction and devastation to all who pass withing three feet of me may be passed off merely as a man with a charming and jockular sense of humour. The man who delights in the flavour of the legs of small amphibians may not feel my wrath or dishumour.

The man who stands around looking pensive, artist-like and broody while smoking Gauloise, however, deserves punishment as only the Germans know how. Yes, a lifetime of Bratwurst and Wagner. For a moment BE-K was short only the cigarette hanging loosely from his lips and an unfinished novel full of angst, passion, sex and people sitting in coffee bars discussing existential ideas.

The problem with these little French flashbacks is not only the effect it has on that player but also the contagious, disconcerting effect on others, especially those from French-speaking nations. Minutes later, on the halfway line, the previously heroic Ivorian, Zokora, found himself doing a formidable imitation of Marcel Marceau stuck in his glass box, afraid to tackle (I cannot be sure that Marcel Marceau was afraid to tackle, but odds are: yes). This allowed time for Flamini to pick out a pass down past our surprised, arty left back and the rest, as they say, is me historically storming out of the room refusing to watch another moment.

In my day-to-day business I build teams and I coach football in my spare time. Let it be noted that part-time football coaches are the worst sort for ‘back seat management’, but I cannot help but feel, here in my ivory tower, that there is something lacking in this Tottenham Hotspur side all the way from Robinson up to Jol. It is a certain kind of confidence: the confidence to make mistakes.

Benoit Essou-Ekotto was afraid he would be left standing for pace and so stood off too far- possibly he was not fit enough coming back from injury as he had coped pretty well up to then. Admittedly his cover was late in arriving. When our Ivorian stalwart Zokora stood off he had just had a series of unsuccessful tackles, although most of them had still shepharded play into safe pockets. Neither had the Freund-like confidence (misplaced or not) to jump on in regardless.

Whether this is because of the expectations of the board are making Jol uneasy and that him inexpertly passing that on to the players or the expectations of people like me, the fans, I do not know. I will say this: as a fan I would like to see the players giving it all and making their mistakes. If that gets us into European football, fantastic! If it doesn’t I am fine with that. As long as we stay above relegation and play attractive, attacking football I’m there. I’ll buy the shirt at ridiculous prices. I’ll pay excorbitant fees for satellite television broadcasts and help bring in that 900million pounds a year.

I became a Spurs fan at the age of 7 in a rugby-mad nation not for trophies or boasting rights. I did it to be entertained by players of talent, grace, guts and determination. And sportsmanship. Players to look up to and admire for their skill and enjoyment of the game. When it comes to supporting a football team it really isn’t, for me, about winning. The old cliche stands: it’s the way you play the game.

Self-help books

January 20, 2007

The plethora of self-help books for the misguided that plague the shelves of my otherwise rather pleasant, proficient and airy local book store have driven me to provide some opposition to these “celebrations of the mentally incapable, for the benefit of the psychologically feeble, as transcribed by the mentally unable.”These are books that openly boast that they are compiled specifically for ‘idiots’, ‘dummies’ and, had I stayed in the section and continued to pay attention, probably for ‘porn stars’, ‘television producers’, ‘pop and sports stars’, ‘Chicken McNuggets’ and ‘parliamentarians.’ Listed here in decreasing order of intelligence. They prey on people at their most confused and vulnerable, much like orange robed Hare-Krishnas at international airports.

Of the few people I know who have ever flirted dangerously with ownership of one of these books none denies that the handing over of a sum of money, representing as it did even a minute of their working lives, for one of these travesties of the publishing community was, by far, their lowest point.

These books are capable of causing great harm not only to those of us with intelligence who find ourselves, in desperate moments, allowing our egoes to be destroyed by this pornography. They are actually most dangerous in the hands of those who do not realise that the books are, quite simply, beyond their level of understanding.

In famous circles the less-than great Jeffrey Archer was seen procuring the first edition print of ‘The Idiots Guide to Writing.’ in late 1975 for just a penny less than a pound. An act that was doomed to cause widespread suffering in the English speaking world as the ‘Idiot’s Guide’ was unquestionably aimed far above his head.

The ‘parliamentarians guide to comprehendable short memos,’ released only three months later would have been much more Mr. Archer’s style and would not have resulted in the British government having to jail him on trumped-up charges. These charges fabricated to stop the nation all consuming their own feet in protest should he be allowed to release another novel.

More recently another political figure by the name of George W. Bush was seen in late 2000 carrying ‘The Middle East for Dummies’ into a White House meeting. A book that could, possibly, have done a lot of good in the hands of a person of the calibre of a daytime talk-show host or school janitor but was quite patently too advanced for the alcoholic, Texan, ex-‘Oil Farmer’.

These are books that are insulting to most of the human population yet dangerous in the hands of those who do not realise that upgrading of their intelligence to ‘idiot’ or ‘dummy’ would require the expansion of their vocabulary to over 55 words, abstinence from ‘Baywatch’ reruns and at least six months of intensive eloctroshock therapy.

Other innocents recently harmed by these books are: George Michael seen purchasing ‘the porn star’s guide to positive publicity’; Freddie Flintoff with ‘The Dummies Guide to winning the Ashes’; Michael Jackson, in 1996, seen buying the audio book of ‘The Idiot’s guide to Reliving Your Childhood’ and, in the same genre and the ‘mother of all self-help tat’ (so worth a mention in context), Jacob Zuma** (our next Winnie Mandela***) with ‘How to win friends and influence people.’

My response to this self-help invasion, my small stand against an invading tide of feckless hot air, my Alamo, My Rourke’s Drift, my crumbling gesture as I hear of Jeffrey Archer’s new book deal, will be a series of ‘not how to’ articles.

Written by someone who refuses bluntly to read up on imminent tasks no matter how complex, dangerous, intricate, difficult, embarrasingly public or obtuse. One who trusts to improvisation and innovation and that “things probably don’t hurt when you’re dead.”

In this series I intend to cover, “how not to climb a mountain”, “how not to ride an ostrich”, “how not to sink yourself and a ‘rowing eight’ on the Thames River in the middle of winter” and “how not to time a fourteen day video recorder to record Gillmore Girls for your intemperate other half”. Amongst others.

That way others may learn from my fortitude, courage, pain and outright ineptitude without having to endure the suspect vagaries that are the result of the self-help book.

* Cricket. If you don’t know, don’t find out. Cricket can be addictive and unlike cocaine and crystal meth a fix takes up to 5 days.

** Jacob Zuma is a less than charming, intelligent gentleman currently ‘absolutely not running to be the next President of South Africa’. You have been warned.

*** Winnie Mandela was the last militant idiot who struck fear into every paranoid white person in South Africa as a “Possible Next President” and thought she could run against the tide of the old-school moderates in the ANC. She is now living somewhere in the wilderness shielded by 3 bodyguards and 5279 criminally large hats.

I was just thinking of a logical extrapolation of my ‘static time’ idea: (1) that time is a set dimension, unchanging; (2) that we occupy a set part of; (3) that we can only experience a small part of at any point in the same way that you only see the bits of the other 3 dimensions that are right in front of you, too. (ref#1)

This must come from a unconcious connection with a theory I read in New Scientist from Nick Bostrom called the “Simulation Argument” (ref#2) from around 2002, shortly after the release of “The Matrix” and “Thirteenth Floor”.

His format is useful here so I will nick it. This theory would assume that we are not, as his suggests we probably are, actually living in a computer simulation run by sentient computers or, alternatively, other humans, plants, hyper-intelligent bacteria, attractive female aliens with beehive hairdos saying “show me more of this earth thing called kissing”*, trans-dimensional beings with an uncanny resemblance to white mice, the Monster Raving Loony Party or any combination thereof.

At least One of the following propositions is true:
(1) the human species will go extinct before mastering the dimension of time and our movement through it; (2) any human civilisation mastering time would decide not to use that ability or technology to interfere with events; (3) post-human beings from the future are now, and always have been, around us affecting events and we now live, and always have lived, in the best possible world that we as a species possibly could at any point in time.

So, if you don’t like it, lump it. Or if you wish to remonstrate with “the management” about how things are going: leave a complaint buried in a ‘time capsule’**.

* Red Dwarf. British Comedy. If you haven’t seen it: do.
** a dull excercise forced on children in the 80s by deluded but well-meaning teachers who thought archeologists of the future might be awed by uncovering a sealed, plastic container containing a Star wars action figure, a picture of the class’ pet hamster, “Harold”, and a half-page synopsis of international affairs written by a 9-year-old.

ref#1: https://midnightjester.wordpress.com/2007/01/11/the-nature-of-time/
ref#2: http://www.simulation-argument.com/

Summary of “Simulation Argument”: his paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

What is ‘Freedom?’

January 16, 2007

I have surprised myself recently by coming to the conclusion that television needs to be censored, controlled or, with current innovations available, entirely changed as a medium.

I despise the concept of state-controlled censorship. I grew up in South Africa, a country with a government so out of it’s mind at the time that ‘Black Beauty’, a book about a horse, was banned on the name (promoting anything black as good) alone. So I like, for instance, that in the USA even having your film rated for age is voluntary. But all our anti-censorship laws around the world have been set up to protect us from exploitation from the state. No censorship laws have been set up to protect us from expoitation by each other or by companies.

TV has always been accepted as a ‘learning medium’ as well as an ‘entertainment medium’. We have school and university education classes broadcast across our nations. We always hoped that the teachers that mad it on to TV would have more personality, charm and appeal than the ones we got in the classroom. our dreams were rarely fulfilled. We also have documentary and increasingly optimistically named ‘news’ programs to tune into.

Recent debate, sparked by new scientific advances, on the idea of ‘free will’ has swung toward the probability that it is just a mental illusion. That we really are just incredibly complex computing systems.

This does not mean that we do not think, just that what we think and what we decide is inevitable based on a combination of our genetic predispositions and life experiences. This does not make us, as humans, any less remarkable in terms of evolution and the animal kingdom.

What it does do is put greater pressure on us in terms of how we raise the next generation of humans. If free will is an illusion then the liberal beardies have always been correct. Society is, at least partially, to blame for the crime it has and the actions of the criminals. And not just the previous generation in the society, either, but the one before that and the one before that all the way back. Recognising this, if it turns out to be true and we accept it, could give us great power rather than, as many people (including me) instinctively react, take power away from us.

The difference between brainwashing and education has always been ‘free will.’ You are, in theory, able to choose whether to accept things you learn in school or off the television as opposed to when you are being brainwashed by, say, the CIA or aliens. With ‘free will’ gone, all education and entertainment could potentially be called brainwashing too. But who out there is the most interested in influencing, educating or brainwashing you?

No-one spends more on learning how to manipulate us than the advertising industry. They spent an estimated $404 billion on influencing you (well, me too, and a few other people) in 1995. That, to make the point, is $404,000,000,000,000 (ref#1, British article so I assume British or European billion). The much lampooned advertising industry does know it’s business and the brains least equipped from experience to resist or even recognise when it is being influenced are young minds. It is no coincidence that we are surrounded by the most label-conscious youth generation in memory.

At the same time most of our western education systems have been moving away from teaching ‘critical evaluation’ and more toward ‘information absorption.’* A study performed in the UK every 10 years showed that the ‘evidence-conclusion’ abilities of 8-year-olds has decreased, not increased, in the last 40 years. (lost article reference, sorry)

In recent studies of happiness around the world the richest countries didn’t rate at the top. These are the countries that have most successfully sold the ‘wealth and happiness’ story. It is a very easy story to sell. Any basic critical evaluation will logically make a connection between financial well-being and happiness. Except that the evidence points away from it being a successful aim for a society. Those who do make it to the top of the wealth pile find there is plenty of fun and enjoyment but that happiness itself has to be found through other means. The people who buy the story but don’t make it to be wealthy get disaffected thinking they have missed out on happiness instead of looking for it elsewhere.

The happiest countries had a few things in common. Most notably: many were poor, the countries have low crime rates and they were, for the most part, not english speaking. Make of that what you will.

So, what is ‘freedom’ without free will? Perhaps is it to be given the best chance at finding happiness with as little influence from those who would take advantage of your evolutionary predispositions to security, love, friendship, self-esteem, and respect (from Maslow’s Heirachy of needs. Ref#2). That would mean tighter control of the most broadly influencial medium ever created, television.

Who, of course, do you give the control to? Ultimately, we do not yet have a ‘best plan’ for raising children so we rely on the biological model, we rely on the parents. That way you get a broad selection of methods, some good and some bad. I think television as a ‘push media’ is massively unhealthy whereas the internet, as a ‘pull media’, is far healthier. The technology is now available to turn TV entirely into a ‘pull media’ with people deciding their own scheduling and viewing habits allowing parents some control, at least while the parents are at home. You would also, with ‘pull media’ be able to censor advertising for products aimed at under 21s before, say, 8 or 9pm.

I think of myself as very independently minded but often find myself sucked into fantasies of how good life could be if I had one of these or some of that or a bit of the other. Would it be easier to meet someone special if I had those clothes, lived there or had that car/ aeroplane/ pornstar’s huge member? I have to remind myself daily that all the evidence around me indicates that my own personal hell lies in that direction.

A loss of the concept of free will means that honing the ability of critical evaluation in youngsters as much as possible is crucial to them having anything that could be regarded freedom of choice. And if a substantial portion of people having good critical evaluation skills turn to crime that must raise intriguing questions about either the human genome or the state of the society.

*South Africa, thankfully, is trying to move in the opposite direction with it’s ‘outcomes based’ education system.

ref#1: http://www.myadbase.com/cgi-bin/newsletter_archive.cgi?issue=44
ref#2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs