“Why should we not form a picture of the ideal life, built out of abundant information, non-hierarchical work and the dissociation of work from wages?”
“Why should we not form a picture of the ideal life, built out of abundant information, non-hierarchical work and the dissociation of work from wages?”
The following is a series of political classifications. I’ll explain my choice of title at the end.
Everyone is political. And those actively politically apathetic do themselves a disservice, because politics is a little like the weather: it affects you whether you take notice of it, or not.
Politics is a deeply personal issue. As well it should be. The way you vote should be little to not at all influenced by anyone you know, admire, detest, or, even, vote for. Although, there is every reason for how you vote to be affected by how you expect or wish your vote to affect others. Democracy, ideally, should be about uniting disparate groups of people as much as possible. And mitigating the consequences of any division between them. Unfortunately, western democracy today seems to be doing its utmost to create, deepen and widen divisions. Which is a shame, although it simply reflects that some people either want division, or are misled into thinking they do by people with an agenda who are more intelligent and/or powerful than them.
Ignorance or naïvete abounds in politics today, as it always has, and always will, to whatever degree. Below and in my own words are a series of classifications and clarifications of three political positions. Knowing where you stand is key to making your voice heard:
A regressive is someone who wants change, but change back to that of an earlier time. Usually a time that never really existed, in which the regressive thinks their personal life would have been better. If you are regressive, you are one or all of the following: racist, sexist, religiously zealous, capitalist (or even feudalist or tribalist), homophobic, a philistine, nationalist, and/or others along a similar vein. You don’t like that the human race is moving forward, and you don’t just want it to stop. You want it to go backward. Unfortunately, this is a rather futile position to hold, but one that many do, regardless.
Conservatives basically want things to stay as they are. This is fine in some ways. Catastrophic, in others. Many conservatives may have regressive tendencies. Just as many regressives may have conservative tendencies. Conservatism is also quite futile, as – as the old saying goes – you can’t stop progress. Often, the harder you try to stop progress, the faster progression occurs. Conservatism is to progress as a child throwing a tantrum in a supermarket is to their mother getting the shopping done. It’s basically just regressivism for the lazy.
A progressive wants change for the better for everyone, or as many people as possible. They want their society to be better. They want their environment to be better. They want technology to be better. And etcetera and etcetera. Humanity relentlessly progresses. That’s simply what it does. Even if you only hold a progressive outlook, and do almost literally nothing practical to actually further progress, you are still doing more to help the cause of progressivism than a regressive or conservative, and are thus more likely to reap the fruits of progress than the two latter. This is of course the only rational political position to hold, and in fact any arguments against it (especially those that are religious, racist, sexist, and so forth) are irrational.
*there is no such thing as political correctness. There is only correct, and incorrect. If your defence when someone criticises your views is that the critic is being politically correct, then your views are probably incorrect. And you probably know it – otherwise you’d come up with a better argument than two words which, when put together, are redundant, and sometimes even oxymoronic considering how often the truth is obscured or outright abused by politics and politicians.
The reason, as I failed to explicitly specify in previous drafts, for Political Correctness as my choice of title is twofold. 1) quite aside from whether there are objectively correct political positions to hold, or not (there is, one), it’s important that one is cognisant of the correct position/ that aligns with their needs and worldview; and 2) progressivism is the only correct political position to hold. Period. It wouldn’t be progressive of me to tell you you can’t hold other positions, but I can point it out. Although, unfortunately, many regressives and conservatives don’t know truth even when they’re slowly belted to death by it.
Actually, you just need to read nothing but the Bible and Ayn Rand, like the two numbskulls pictured.
But not just Rand or the book that created a religion with billions of followers out of one woman claiming immaculate conception to avoid punishment for adultery, in isolation.
Like the two numbskulls pictured.
Then you just end up fighting with each other.
Over corporate greed versus prudish morality.
Eat the rich, and let queer folk be queer.
We are in danger of being swamped by Asians, is the gist of what I remember from Hansonism’s maiden voyage into the Australian consciousness. This was the ‘90s, when my focus was more on adolescent existentialism. But now we’re nearing the end of the first quarter of the 21st century, and history, as it does, is repeating itself. Now it’s a Muslim swamp we need worry about, apparently, which is not the least of the, nor the sole, irony, considering Islam sprung from the desert. What is a swamp, really? I see it as a stagnant body of water in which exist somewhat base creatures such as bacteria and fungi and frogs and birdlife. So was she saying Asians were bringing the swamp with them, way back when, or that our home was a swamp and they were going to en masse join us in the fetid pool? And surely she’s not saying Muslims are bringing the swamp, unless from certain parts of Indonesia or perhaps Malaysia outside of urban centres. So in this case ours must be the swamp? Or our home becomes a swamp upon letting them through the door? Or Asian and more recently Muslim culture is swamplike? Is she even capable of effective analogies?
Let’s leave the waste of consideration right there – is something I’d not normally say about anything. Because there is absolutely zero point in giving serious consideration to anything this crazy bitch and her political movement has to say about Australia or the outside world. Hanson is to a true reflection on this country what shaving is to using a broken, mouldy, rusted mirror: ineffective, distorted, and bloody. Now, forgive me for using the B word, but I’ve long been of the mind that if a man is a bastard or a woman is a bitch – especially those with baffling relevance and influence – they should be labelled as such. I guess a unisex term for the two could be: arseholes. But I’ll leave that up to you. There’s a reason why Hansonism, at least and almost exclusively (Cory Bernardi aside), deserves only some attention and zero consideration. It’s quite clear what her movement really is. Even clearer, now, than it used to be – as her policies and their appeals have not just expanded but also strengthened. Sometimes, this has occurred very recently, and on the run, such as in regard to vaccination. And obviously others are longstanding, and quite crystalised policies of hers.
Hanson is exploiting bigots and dullards’ ignorance and prejudices through her own intelligence and bigotry, which are just strong and restrained, respectively, enough to at all effectively do so. This is Hansonism II, and hopefully it goes the way of the first. I prefer not to believe that after this pimple of hatred whiteheads, pops, and heals, this country can’t learn from its two former mistakes and keep its damn face clean. I refuse to believe that Hansonism turns normally intelligent, tolerant people into stupid bigots, and that she simply empowers those who incurably are already. And I am absolutely convinced that the particular brand of hatred and ignorance she represents and propagates will be increasingly, if not ever totally, rejected by Australians in the future. It could get worse before it gets better. But if it were ever to become so strong it were considered mainstream, the tragic irony for me would be too much to bear. And if I at the time had children, I would fear for their future; and if I did not yet have children, I would never have children, to spare them the crushing dystopia their potential country had become.
The human race is at or approaching many of its to date most consequential crossroads – Hansonism and Trumpism and Putinism and Kimism and the like, being not the least of them. We must reject hatred and bigotry and exploitation and oppression and inequality wherever we can. Because if we don’t, or not enough of us do, or not enough of us do often enough, we may all be fucked.
There were concerned, freaked out even, people gathered above me. All recollection of a vivid, pleasant dream, immediately gone. I’d felt dizzy. Stood up to try and shake it. Couldn’t. Sat back down. Gone. Bruised skull and ego, but glad I’d been sitting down. The bar staff gave me a lemonade, then I went outside to be picked up by my used to the madness but not this particular type girlfriend. We fell asleep at my place to my mutterings about too many cigarettes and weird conversations and how much I enjoyed running into my grandparents earlier in the Friday I had off due to Deb the Bogan Cyclone.
My brother and I are making a habit of frequenting this particular southern Gold Coast tavern on Friday afternoons after work. It’s an enjoyable weekend beginning ritual, from which he departs my company after one mid- strength and two-light beers – on account of him working Saturdays. I tend to hang around afterward, if not seeing my girlfriend or someone else or having something else more constructive to do other than drink and smoke and talk with local characters and play the pokies – the latter of which I’d quit due to inadequate returns on my many, but modest investments.
It was the smoking and talking, together, that did it, I reckon. I’m normally a smoker, for hopefully not too much longer. And especially while boozing. I’m not normally a conversationalist, but can become so while drinking and smoking and being in the right state-of-mind. Which I was last night. Plus there was a band playing, with saxophone and errthang, so I guess I can blame over-stimulation, too. Not that I didn’t enjoy it at the time. So my brother had left. And I’d wolfed down a kebab from the shop next door. And returned to the bar. Then to the smoking area, where I was to later embarrass myself.
There was a brunette girl, covered in tattoos and cheap gold jewellery, of 27 there the entire night. Up until I passed out, when she was the only other person present and the most freaked by my loss of consciousness. More on her later. The first person I began talking to was a portly teacher with a unique laugh; a regular feature of the pub, with a penchant for Long Island iced-teas who I’d become acquainted with in my semi-regularity. Conversation was struck with him when I joined in poking fun at him for the shorts he was wearing, which I referred to as “yachting boardshorts” due to their horizontal white stripes over navy blue. But he has fascist-tending opinions – he’s a Trump supporter, which puts him massively in the minority in Australia, if possibly not the Gold Coast, for one – so we grew weary of each other’s irreconcilable yet eloquent differences soon enough, upon which time I began speaking with the second of this episode’s characters: a 27-year-old from Tamworth named, of course, Dustin.
Dustin was a jittery bastard. Like something was busting to get out of him. Or he just didn’t feel entirely relaxed or comfortable. Before we even started talking I overheard him saying he’d had his last beer. Then, a few hours and four or five or six pints later, he finally had his last beer and we parted ways with a fist bump. Ended up liking him. He didn’t like country music. Or once had, but had heard it to death growing up in Tamworth. His mum used to rent out his room during annual Country Music Festivals, but he didn’t mind because he spent most days of most weeks surfing mates’ couches, anyway. He’d moved around a lot since leaving north-central NSW probably about 10 years ago. Even done jail, possibly juvie, time, for reasons I couldn’t get out of him. Now he was camped out at one of the Mould Coast’s many corporate-owned bar/pokie/bistro wallet emptiers, with the likes of me. And this girl. Whose name escapes me. Think it started with a D, too.
At first she was just sitting in the corner for the first hour or two, on the phone, engaged in some vague drama with what seemed to be various family members. As is the way with taverns, she got talking to us – mainly me and Dustin. Turned out her mother had brain cancer and her brother was a junkie (So badly a junkie, it seemed, his life was as or not much less than imminently over as his mother’s.) Her dad had been kept from her for most of her life so far, under the false pretence, perpetuated by her mother, that her father didn’t want to see her. And that she didn’t want to see him. One of the last things I can remember is her crying. I asked her if she was ok and she responded, “Yes”, in such a way that I knew it was a polite lie to a sympathetic stranger. We talked for a few minutes more, until I started to feel dizzy.
It might have been too many cigarettes. Was less likely many, but no more than often for me on a Friday night, drinks. I think I was overwhelmed by the sheer, not entirely humorless but certainly tragic humanity of the experience.
I quite enjoy not immediately beeping someone when they delay moving at a green light. On the one hand, I’ve resisted being a dick. And on the other, they know what they’ve done. I can tell by their sheepish glance in their mirror that they’ve either learned a lesson, or regret that they never will.
Just A Second – http://wp.me/p1pIBL-2aI
The poor bastard. I get it now. He’s in over his head. He realised not all that long ago he was nothing but a brand. Otherwise useless to anyone but himself. So he ran with it. He put his name on everything he could. And in the superficial morass the late-capitalistic USA has become, it served him well. Money fell out of people’s pockets and, seemingly, the sky. Of course whenever he tried to do something entirely unfeasible, his brand failed. Brand power can only twist reality, not outright destroy it. But he held true to the brand because he knew he was on to a long-term winner that would serve him well until his death. Not that it would do his reputation, among from his closest friends and family to the most distant cave-dweller remotely aware of him, much good. But it was never about reputation. It was about money. And power. And both. And he was and is and always will be insatiable.
Now, he’s the President of the United States of America. This was not intended. He figured he’d run in the primaries. It would improve his brand. He won the primaries. It was unexpected. Hell, he thought, I guess I might as well go up against Hillary. It would improve his brand. He won. Totally unexpected. Somewhere in his tiny, simian brain he had earlier thought “Surely they won’t actually be stupid enough to vote in a man who has no political experience and heads a business empire that would be a spectacular failure if it weren’t propped up by little but his gargantuan ego and baffling celebrity and the couple of actually competent people who’d managed to slip into his staff”. But they did. And here we all are watching one man basically tell the rest of the fucking world “You’re fired!” (Or more crudely: “Fuck off!”) Except they’re not accepting his dismissal. And the frustration this causes him is hilariously agonising, or agonisingly hilarious, to watch.
So I guess I can sympathise if not empathise with him. I have my own weaknesses and character flaws, as do we all. The difference is I and many others who are not paranoid, delusional, megalomaniac narcissists, are discrete with our weaknesses and character flaws. We admit them where necessary. Deal with them. Manage them. Play instead to our strengths. Whereas he plays to his weaknesses so relentlessly – and only in America could relentless indulgence of weakness prove so fruitful – that if the man has strengths, I have no goddamned idea what they are. He might not know either, because in the upside down and inside out reality of the existence he’s crafted for and around himself, he actually seems to see his flaws and weaknesses as strengths. I mean, it’s fucking sad – to use a word he enjoys abusing in his unappreciated, ironically Orwellian Tweeting.
So where to from here? It’s hard to see for Trump. (Plus to be honest, I don’t really care.) If he’s not assassinated or impeached – the former being unlikely because all the assassinatey types are his supporters, and the latter because if he was under threat of being impeached he’d probably find a way to change the law so impeachment is impossible – I guess he’ll just get back to cashing in his dignity for more money and power. Only he might not have any dignity left that he doesn’t manufacture in his own damaged mind after what will surely continue to be an entertainingly sad – there’s that word again – up to but hopefully not including four years (eight!?) in power. And to repeat, to be honest, I don’t really care. For the world? Well hopefully we’ll all take a collective sigh of relief as Marine One takes him from the White House for the last time (or as he’s dragged through the streets and pelted with rotten tomatoes, then tarred and feathered and placed in a stockade for more tomato target practise for a while).
And ensure that an IGNORANT, EGOMANIACAL, NARCISSISTIC, HATEFUL, LYING, BIGOTED PSYCHOPATH IS NEVER AGAIN GIVEN THE POWER, THROUGH SUPPOSED DEMOCRACY, TO LITERALLY DESTROY THE HUMAN RACE! Ahem. I guess I’m reassured by the fact that his rise to power has emboldened his like-minded (magnanimous of me to refer to them as “minded” at all, no?). Why? Because if the world or at least the US, for starters, decides to vote into power men or women who actually wish to lead the human race to a better place – instead of divide us into easily controllable and perhaps crushable groups based on superficial barely recognisable differences – I know that their like-minded becoming emboldened will revolutionise the universe. If Trump doesn’t get us all nuked in the meantime. . . .
We were slumped deep in the Circus Circus’ bar, when the drugs began to wear off. 1pm – early morning by Vegas time. My amigo Samo was taking the effects of the previous night hard. He looked angry, bestial, yet defeated, like a coyote road-killed while mating. We’d just returned to base after recovering his wallet from the southern strip’s Luxor Casino; his ID and credit card from downtown’s Girls of Glitter Gulch gentleman’s club. His watch and one shoe were still missing.
‘Oh my God!’ he suddenly yelled, red-eyes directed hatefully toward the omnipresence of casino ceiling security cameras. And then, head in his chewed-fingernail hands, muttered something like: ‘I lost enough money to put a deposit down on a high class brothel.’ Then he started sobbing like a recently divorced, impotent insurance salesman. ‘And where’s my watch!?’ His missing shoe apparently gone unnoticed thus far.
‘He ok hon?’ asked the ex-call girl weary barmaid serving our breakfast bloody marys.
‘He’s fine,’ I replied, levelling my own night white light bloodshot eyes at hers. ‘My friend has suffered a death in the family. A murder.’ I looked at him and sighed. ‘Gang violence, you understand. He’s a foreigner. Probably Columbian.’ I threw what paper money I had left on the table and the floor, in front of her. ‘Are you prejudiced?’ I questioningly accused through clenched teeth.
‘No, I, er, I’m not. . . .’
I interrupted by waving her away and she scuttled off with a fistful of assorted cash. ‘Get it together, you miserable bastard,’ I muttered.
Hiccupping sobs were his only reply.
I lit a cigarette, drew, exhaled and said, defiantly: ‘We’re not done yet.’ It was about this time an enormous man of Pacific islander appearance emerged, stumbling, bellowing like a castrated bull, from behind a row of poker machines; wearing a two-man-tent-sized pink bowling shirt unbuttoned to his bulging stomach revealing a thick rug of jet black chest hair. He was followed by a shorter, slighter, balding man wearing aviator sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and sneakers, smoking swiftly from and chomping feverishly at an ivory cigarette holder that slid between grinning teeth; beneath wild, lighthouse eyes. The pair sat at the bar.
‘We can stop here,’ I began, shaking Samo’s shoulder. Who looked up in the direction I was. ‘This is freak country,’ I finished.
The big man at the bar suddenly stood erect, waving oak branch arms around, screaming: ‘AAAAAAAAAAUERRRRRRRRRGAH! Why are female sports journalists’ voices so deep!?’
‘You fool!’ the little man yelled while jumping up, his stool hitting the floor behind him. ‘Most of their colleagues and bosses are men. They mostly cover men. They’re infected by the natural testosterone and brutishness of the proverbial Big Game. They’re fellow beasts at the atavistic competitive feast. How else do you think they avoid being treated like the dessert bar at a police convention? Now sit! Down!’
The big man complied. His partner left his original chair lying fallow. Took another. Samo put something in his mouth. I made my wary move to yet another stool close by.
‘If only old Dick Nixon was here,’ the little man continued, leaning over his partner who’d resorted to short, muted screams and, with his head in his folded arms on the table, looking around in fear at the air above him. ‘He’d put you right. He’d march a couple of his goons right up to you, and they’d stomp the bile from your stomach lining before dragging you off to some medieval-esque torture dungeon for democrats, hippies and foreigners.’
‘What about Trump?’ I ventured.
‘TRUMP!?’ he yelled, so much as he could with the cigarette holder between his lips. Then he grinned at me, the holder clenched in the corner of his fiendish mouth and its ember whipping into the air. ‘If Nixon is a whore beast, Trump is his and the devil’s mentally enfeebled hate child. If Nixon rolled back the tide of the American Dream, and Reagan funnelled it into the hands of a privileged, bloated few – Trump will drink the dregs and then piss it into the mouths of his insanely moronic followers.’
Then suddenly, his knees drew up into his hands. ‘The muck!’ he yelled, looking at the floor. ‘The steaming, stinking liquid refuse of this unholy election year of our dark lord satan two-thousand and 16! It’s everywhere!’ He jumped on to the bar stool.
‘Hey!’ the barman yelled, his attention pulled from merely shaking his head while cleaning a glass with a filthy rag. ‘Get down from there!’
‘Impossible to walk!’ ignored the little man, who started jumping from stool to stool along the bar. The barman came around to give chase.
‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!’ the big man groaned, standing up and knocking over his stool – which the barman fell over at speed, knocking himself unconscious.
‘You wretched sonofabitch!’ the little man yelled a few stools down, perched on it like a cat. ‘The floor is contaminated by the rotting carcass of western democracy!’
The big man scrambled on to the bar, stood and smashed his head into hanging wine glasses. He screamed once more, ran along the bar collecting and destroying more glasses with his large head and kept running off the bar and out of the room. The little man followed, gingerly coming down from his perch and walking away as if in thick mud, holding his nose from the imagined stench.
Samo came and sat next to me about when I heard screeching tyres and a woman’s scream from the street. ‘The fuck was that?’ he asked. He was chewing his bottom lip and looking around the now empty bar, except for us and the motionless barman, as if surrounded. Sirens blared from outside.
‘That?’ I started, reaching over the bar for a bottle of Johnnie Walker and two glasses. ‘I’ll have two glasses of whiskey, neat,’ I said, looking at the barman’s unconscious figure. ‘That was nothing.’ I poured the drinks. ‘Just your imagination.’ I took a sip.
‘Didn’t look like nothing.’ He took a sip.
‘It was literally nothing. The fuck’s wrong with you? You took too much man. Too much too much.’
‘One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small,’ I said, turning to look at him, my head starting to swell up. Samo stepped back off his stool.
‘And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.’ My head doubled in size, turned orange. Samo started screaming.
‘Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.’ Quadrupled now, topped by a golden retriever sized, combed forward wig. Samo raked his face and continued screaming.
‘And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall.’ My eyes caught fire, dripped lava, and a forked, purple tongue emerged from between my eggplant-sized and coloured lips. Samo backed against the wall, howling in agony.
‘Remember what the doormouse said: feed your head.’ Samo’s screams reached fever pitch as my orange head exploded and horse manure flew in all directions.
‘Feed your head.’