These Things

There are many, many, many things in this world that I do not understand. Many.

73 year olds becoming Dads.

Three seasons of Married at First Sight.

But chief amongst these impossibles of imponderables are the mates attending sporting contests who, upon an inspiring piece of play, do not cheer or shout. But instead turn to congratulate each other. High fiving and the like. As if they had the first fucking thing to do with any of it.

Well played. Good game.

The Furore Cycle in the Social Media Age.

Somebody in the public eye says or does something dumb.

A bunch of people are offended and take to their social media tool of choice to register their outrage.

Many more people see this, and although they probably never saw or heard the original offence giving item, pile on with more outrage.

Outlets of “proper news” pick up on the swelling outrage and although they probably should ignore such things, are very threatened by the ‘new media’ and want to appear hip and relevant so they report it as actual news.

The rest of the population who has so far remained ignorant of the offence are now “fully informed” and also pile on, registering their outrage.

Trolls will appear, usually sprouting things like offended people having no sense of humour.

The person who made the original fuck up is surprised and probably upset by all the anger. They may distance themselves from social media temporarily so as to avoid being called a cunt by all these people they’ve never heard of.

Other people in the public eye who are probably friends or otherwise like the poor, stupid soul currently being burned at the virtual stake think the level of vitriol is excessive, especially when contrasted with the vitriol fired at the last dumb thing Dermott Brereton said and will start to defend them in the social media.

The angered masses will then take task with these other public peoples. Discussions will start with “I can’t believe you…..” and likely end with “ur a cunt”.

Mass unfollowings, unfriendings and blockings will ensue.

At some point, depending mainly on the type of person who made the original fuck up, they may or may not apologise.

Everyone will then settle back into their lives and wait for the next furore to erupt.

On a good day, we can get through this whole cycle before lunch!

Gay Marriage

Seriously, how has this debate taken any longer than 15 minutes? This should have been sorted out on a Friday afternoon just before knock-off.

You just pick a stance and announce that as your policy and move on. Regardless of whether your decision is yes or no, you’re going to piss off a bunch of people. And a segment of those people won’t vote for you again at the next election. That consequence comes with decision making.

You announce that homosexuals will be able to marry and all the religious nut jobs will carry on like two bob watches. You announce that marriage is only for hetro couples and the homosexuals will be pissed off. There is no avoiding it, so just deal with it.

Instead we have this stupid situation where the government is hinting ‘no’ without any real conviction in the hope of stringing both sides of the argument along, therefore not pissing anyone off enough to vote differently next time we go around. The world famous ‘non decision’ decision. We’ve had studies, polls, debates and discussions. Now there’s talk of talking about voting for the possibility a ‘conscience vote’ at some point down the track. Even though everyone involved knows that such a ‘conscience vote’ has a zero chance of actually succeeding unless the opposition does the same thing. Which they won’t. Partly because they’re conservatives and partly to fuck over the government with the hopes of creating enough discord to raise the possibility of a no confidence vote. It’s like an episode of Yes Minister, only not funny or in any way entertaining.

Why all the hassle? It’s pretty simple really. I’ve long held the belief that politicians care foremost about holding power, and everything else becomes a very distant second. Politicians that are happy to flip flop on policy in order to maintain the afore mentioned power. So with a minority government that has taken a flogging for most of it’s term the number one policy is: Don’t do anything that could lead to an early election being called. Because we’ll probably lose.

What about observing the will of the people? Implementing policy that the majority of people want? Pfft! That doesn’t matter. It’s never fucking mattered. But at least in other times politicians seemed to have a little ideology about them! And give back the word “pragmatic” while we’re about it. It used to have a degree of common sense about it. These cretins have turned it into “politician who stands for nothing!”

Is There Anybody That Doesn’t Realise Smoking Is Bad For You?

I’ll ask again. Wander around and ask people if they realise that smoking is bad for them. I’d wager that you won’t find a single one over the age of two who isn’t aware. Not a fucking one!

So then why, oh sweet arse, why are we subjected to endless fiddling by self righteous busy bodies who think they know best how you should live your life? We’ve had warning labels, a ban on advertising, bigger warning labels, a ban on depicting smoking, even bigger warning labels, bans on where you can smoke, gory warning pictures, and twice yearly tax increases plus the odd extra special happy tax increase. And now we’re going to paint all the packets green to remove any branding. And yet the insistent fuckers continue to smoke!

No surprises really. We’ve all seen well meaning passive aggressive relatives brainwash children into hiding Mummy or Daddy’s cigarettes because they’re dirty or bad. Then we have the whole smoking is bad industry that targets kids from school age on. So clearly, all these people who insist on smoking and tolerate the bans, price hikes and eye rolling warnings and advertisements realise that smoking is bad but don’t fucking care. They’re a slave to that foul whore nicotine. This is why I don’t understand why we’re going to the hassle of this plain packaging bullshit. I can’t see any way on earth that it will have any effect.

I have known two breeds of smokers: Those that smoke the same brand always and those that smoke whatever is cheapest per smoke. The second group doesn’t care about branding at all and I’m pretty confident the first group won’t forget that they smoke Winny Blues regardless of the colour of the box.

Aha you say. Or Bollocks. Or something unprintable. Experts have said that by removing the branding, the ‘cool brand’ factor from teenage smoking will also be removed and teenage smoking will reduce. Which is when the majority of smokers take up the habit. QED. Now hold on there a second poindexter. Let’s look at why smoking is cool. The whole world is set up around smoking is bad, don’t do it, you’ll die a gruesome death (at some point, maybe). So to smoke is to turn your back on that, and to tell society that you don’t care, that you’re your own man (or woman) and you’ll do whatever you want. Counter culture. Rebellion. Taboos. And that has always been cool.

Aha you say again (and frankly, I wish you’d quit that). The majority of teenagers are mindless sheep, not capable of that sort of reasoning and are merely hopping on the piggy tails of whatever trend is perceived cool in the hope of raising their social status. Exactly! (Wait, what?)

A brand is cool because that is what some bad, bad, Leroy Brown type character smokes. That’s it. So changing the branding will have no effect. You still have to smoke Leroy’s brand to be cool. It’s just a tiny bit harder to find out, and might take a tiny bit longer. But Leroy will help you. Trend setters need followers after all. 🙂 Back in my day, Peter Jackson light blue were the cool smokes of choice. To be seen with anything else was social suicide. I even knew guys who would steal a pack of Benson & Hedges from their parents (B&H? So uncool!) and then put the individual cigarettes into a Peter Jackson packet scavenged from the rubbish bin in order seem cool. The cool brand also varied by major social group. At the High School in the next town, Escort Red’s were cool. It also varied by age group. When I joined the military at 17, Winfield Blues were cool. All this was in the timeframe when B&H spent millions on cricket sponsorship, etc. so you’d think they would have been cool somewhere, but nada.

Of course this didn’t stop the powers of be from banning advertising though, which resulted in only benefiting the tobacco companies. Sales remained much the same, but they no longer were able to drop all those millions into advertising. Turns out, people were loyal to their brand, or just bought what was best value. Whoda thunk?

So in summary, won’t work, stop wasting your time and our money. If the government is truly that concerned they can just ban the things. (Yeah, right, and give up all those tax dollars, plus the impact of all those tobacco based jobs disappearing. And I’m sure the tobacco companies would be a little annoyed and deploy a phalanx of high priced lawyers to challenge the legislation and therefore cost the government (ie us) a fortune.) I mean, they could raise the tax on smokes and use that money to subsidise quit smoking aids, but no, they can’t even manage that.

So what’s my stake? Why am I calling bullshit? Despite what you’re probably thinking, I am a non smoker. Sure, if I’m honest I actually appreciate the banning of smoking in bars and restaurants. It’s much nicer to be able to pop out for a few beers and not come home reeking. But my issue is with the people behind it. Those insidious, meddling do gooders. If anyone thinks that once they’ve conquered smoking that they will just congratulate themselves on a job well done and disband, you’re mad. These people are committed to making you live your life like they think you should, because they know best. And once smoking is conquered, they will, energised by the victory, move on to getting the next great horror conquered. And I may actually care about one of those, like alcohol or bacon double cheeseburgers.

But they’d never put warning labels on booze or try to restrict who can buy bacon burgers, right?