Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Stupidity Factor

I used to have what I considered a fairly good list of Stupidity Indicators. Paying money for homoeopathy, believing something was true because it was in The Sun, insisting that Angels by Robbie Williams was  the most moving and beautiful song ever recorded, all those were fairly high on the list. Doing any of those things were likely to make you a person I wouldn't terribly want to be friends with. You'd have to have some outstanding other qualities to compensate.

But this week, I'm thinking of recalibrating that index, as this week has scored nearly as high in terms of blatant, unashamed mass stupidity than the week Diana forgot to do up her seatbelt. I'm not even sure what order to put these demonstrations of fuckwittedness in, except to say that no one who's bought into any of them is someone I'd be able to keep as a friend, on Facebook or in the flesh. Eeny meeny miney moron, let's start with B for Bulger.

If you 'shared' that photo on Facebook, you are not just stupid, you are malevolently, dangerously stupid. What you did was horrible. There are, apparently, at least two photographs going the rounds. Of different people. They can't all be Jon Venables or Robert Thompson, and it's quite likely that none of them are. This means that at least two, if not more, individual men of a certain age who may be secular saints, innocent even of overstaying on a parking meter, are now identifiable to deranged vigilante mouthbreathers and knuckledraggers and in danger of being assaulted or killed on the grounds that they are 'child killers'. 
In an interesting aside, the story of the traumatized paediatrician so often mentioned when less-stupid people worry about mob hysteria is itself massively exaggerated. But that's probably because it's neater and more cartoonish than exploring the cases of individuals attacked, killed or driven to suicide after being mistakenly identified as child-abusers. Or, indeed, the  Maxine Carrs, victims of a preposterous hate campaign against a woman whose only actual crime was to tell a lie.

You might just want to hate Heather Frost, a cancer patient who looks after her grandchildren, along with her own younger children, so her adult children can work. But she dyes her hair, you see, and has 11 children,has had sex with more than one man in her lifetime, and is being rehoused in one of a number of properties being built according to green energy specifications - a house that suits her needs and frees up a couple of other council houses for other families. Branding her a 'dole queen' and revelling in the chance to bring out your inner misogynist might distract you from the real housing crisis, which came about due to a combination of selling off and not replacing the stock of council homes, and the frenzied speculation of buy-to-let which fucked the private rental market by filling it with greedy speculators who couldn't cope with being landlords. Nothing like digging up a highly unusual situation ie a very large family and using it to insist that the poor should be punished for poverty, rather than addressing issues such large corporations not only dodging tax but paying slave wages and stropping that the poor 'won't work'.

Perhaps the last stupidity Red Flag is the least worrying in that it's a matter of opinions being aired and condemned, though the number of people who wield a lot of power but aren't even capable of reading an article before screaming for the author of said article to be punished is scary. Actually, it's perhaps the scariest stupidity indicator of the lot because of who has tested positive for utter, utter stupidity on the issue.
Yes, this is Hilary Mantel VS Kate Windsor. Here's the actual piece. An intelligent and compassionate essay on royalty, media and myth-making that has been turned into Jealous Fat Cow Attacks Goddess by people who wield a lot of actual power but can't be bothered to fact-check. What does that say to you about how much the likes of David Cameron and Ed Milliband can be trusted to know what they are talking about?

So the next time you are getting your undies in a bundle about something someone told you in the pub or shared on Facebook or pointed out to you in the newspaper, before you pass it on, why not actually look into what you're passing on? And think about it a little? Because having your friends point and laugh at you for being a gullible fuckwit might only be the beginnin.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Minor Erotic Writer Fail

Back in the days of the Guild, when erotic writing was on all of our minds a lot, we used to discuss the way in which almost every experience could be turned into some form of erotic story. I have, admittedly, long maintained that there is nothing in this world that someone, somewhere, wouldn't want to have a wank over, and I say this as a former reader of erotic fiction submissions who is still haunted by the Bloke With A Thing About Teatowels. Whose manuscript was illustrated with little drawings of... oh go on, work it out.

(image 'borrowed' from seller of fabric items)

And I did also have a bit of a chat with the Countess at the weekend over where and how Stuff turns into Stories, and it's not just a matter of 'Oh, I'll put you and your entourage of naughty boys into a book, because there's all  these filtration processes and clever stuff wot I does and all that...' It is, in fact, quite entertaining to look back at a piece of work and pick out the odds and ends that almost unconsciously made their way in there.  But I'm going to have a job putting this week's experiences into a horny one-handed read, I think.

Basically I have been, very briefly, in hospital, and I am now utterly baffled by medical fetishists. I couldn't find anything arousing at all in the blue pyjamas and nylon hats most of the staff were attired in. And, as a top in BDSM terms, I'm not wild about being chopped into and given pain, even if the drugs were pretty damn good. I suppose if I ever decide to have another go at horror fiction I might utilise the Walk of Doom, where you follow a medical professional down endless corridors, in your barearse nightie and your own slippers, to the place where you will be laid on a bed and operated on, but it's probably been done already. 

Though the main gripe I really had about the whole business was the lack of anything good to read once my own choice of literature (a fairly lame bit of vampire romance, since you ask) had been locked away. Four month old Mail on Sunday supplements, leaflets on incontinence or planning your funeral, or the final horror: Hello magazine. I think perhaps I should gather together some of my stock of out-of-print erotica by other people and donate it to the local day unit. Or, if I have to go back in there again, maybe I should try to think of this poor chap.

(image found somewhere on the web and used by someone else taking the piss out of it)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Back to business...

Hello again, bet you thought I'd died or buggered off. No such luck.
Anyway, no rages or rants this week, just a great deal of positive thinking. Positive drinking, too, with a bit of luck.

Because this weekend, the Countess and I are hitting the Herofest.

(fairly random clipart of a larper who has found out the bar's closing. Or something)

Larper fairs are always fun, in the same way that any scene which depends on making your own entertainment rather than watching 'famous' people do stuff is fun. I have often thought that one of the reasons mainstream culture seems to hold DIY-style social scenes in such contempt could be the lack of opportunity to profit from them.

That might sound daft when you remember that I'm going to the event to Sell Things To People, but while Larpers (and pagans, perverts and morris dancers) are not averse to shopping, what they don't tend to go in for is aimless, flappy, insecurity-based panic-buying. They're not wild about big corporations telling them that whatever they want or do is wrong and they need to Buy More Different Stuff instead. To participate in an unusual hobby, you have to be quite sure of yourself and comfortable with your own tastes. And the Evil Lizard Overlords don't care for that.

Mostly, though, there will be booze, congenial company, and interesting stuff to look at. Which is always good.