Is-salib u l-iskandlu


Tanja Cilia

Bħal donnu tbissem… Bħal donnu tbissem…

Min jaf kemm jingħataw rigali koroh u/jew strambi lill-mexxejja tal-pajjiżi u tar-reliġjonijiet. Jgħidu li darba tmiss il-Papa u din id-darba tabilħaqq li hekk ġara. Fil-mawra tiegħu fil-Bolivja, il-Kap tal-Knisja Kattolika ngħata Kurċifiss mingħand il-President Bolivjan, Evo Morales. Dal-Kurċifiss għandu għamla stramba, għax iwaħħad il-martell u l-minġel tal-komuniżmu mal-għuda tas-salib.

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Santa’s Blog 11

Saturday, December 19, 2009, 20:28 by Santa Claus


When They asked me to take over the Santa Stint the Missus had laughed at me and said I was too thin, too tall, too blue-eyed, too handsome, too dark-haired, too conceited and too everything to fit.
I think she was a bit peeved, frankly, that when They extended the offer to her, she had already committed herself to hands-on lecturing for The Natural International Traditional Practical Contemporary Gourmand Cookery School, and so she couldn’t very well be chief cook and bottle washer for Them, too.
It’s already bad enough that we’d had to knock down the walls between the pantry and the dining room and the kitchen, to make it an open-plan area (I feel uncomfortable if I want to dunk my doughnut in the coffee when there are twenty pairs of eyes stabbing my back…) so that the trainees could move around without a by-my-leave.
Anyway, just for the record, whatever she said was wrong about my not being suitable for Santa is turning out to be exactly what is being recommended for Santa to be, as from this Christmas..
The press was agog with snide comments about how the old man ought to share his reindeer’s snacks, rather than eat cake. And how his rotund figure, with a BMA of at least 30%, was a walking time-bomb, making him a primary candidate for a heart attack or a stroke and dementia.
There were rumours that PETA was going to sue him for animal cruelty, and several letters appeared in the press complaining that the people who protested about the Zoo in your country said nothing about the fact that this overweight ball of lard overloaded his sleigh with more than the amount of presents it could reasonably hold, in order to deliver the gifts on time.
Someone at NASA told me that crashing continuously through the fourth dimension, and black holes at warp speeds, and crossing time zones did the reindeer’s metabolism no good at all – it wrecked their reproductive systems (which was just as well, he said, because the gene pool was damaged anyway). It is also further endangering the ozone layer, but does he care?
And of course, the AA had its say too – Santa’s photographs on Christmas Cards usually showed him DUI, and it was only rarely that a cop appeared in the frame with him, slapping him with a ticket for over-speeding or being drunk and disorderly, even if his beard was askew and his face more florid than usual because of the alcohol he’d have imbibed.
So here I am, the tall, dark and handsome alternative. What more could you want? I don’t smoke – and yes, there are still cards that show Santa with stripy socks, lolling on an armchair beside the fire, smoking one of his priceless collection of Meerschaums and not giving two hoots about the bad examples he is giving without even trying.
My lifestyle is bleached pristine. I know that some of you may consider me too thin, but as you have seen, these last few weeks I have pigged out… My exercise routine makes my metabolism balance out… or something. To think that in some countries, Santa is even more recognisable than Mickey Mouse or Superman!
Or even Santa Muerte. But she’s a totally different kettle of fish…. which reminds me it’s octopus stew this evening (the Missus chucks in a couple of squares of bitter chocolate and a handful of walnuts to bring out the taste better).

Gaslight and the Forgotten Abuse



From Picard’s four lights to a teacher’s “apologise!” to a student, gaslighting exists all around us…

The other day, yet another charming young lady made a beeline to my door. Like the ones before her, and no doubt the ones to come, she presented her credentials and asked whether she could take up some of my time – in this case, fifteen minutes.

The topic of this particular survey was domestic and other types of abuse, as well as women’s rights, and the much-hyped “equality”. The last two items in the list set my teeth on edge; but I decided to see whether the questions lead before commenting.

Abuse by my partner would have included anything from being beaten up, whether or not he would have been blind drunk at the time, to being forbidden to associate with my friends; abuse from associates would have included being discriminated against because of gender, and abuse from strangers would have included flashing or inappropriate touching.

I was asked whether I was aware of any media campaigns on the topic – and frankly, whereas the repetitive Nista’ ones flooded my mind, I had to really wrack my brain to remember the Dignity for Domestic Violence Survivors posters in the street which urged us to seek help should we need it, as the woman in the picture who “used to be a victim” did. And yes – the persons portrayed in the posters were all victims of physical abuse.

Another question asked whether I knew of any entities that were “doing their best” for women’s rights – and, in truth, the very need that there is any need of “equality” unit sets my teeth on edge. Mention of Parliament made me say that politics did not interest me, but I am sure that if “they” had done something about it, we would have known for sure, because the MP responsible for it would have touted the news from the church steeples, not to mention the newspapers and sundry social sites.

The young lady asked me whether I had anything to add, and I said “lots”. She raised an eyebrow and opened her eyes wide, but which I assumed that I had been the only one on her list (“from the electoral register”) to say so with such vehemence.

In the name of all my friends and acquaintances who had ever been abused, I insisted that it was not fair that in the majority of the cases, it was the woman and the children who had to leave the home for their own safety, whilst the perpetrator usually remained and thumbed his nose at them… or else promised to ‘behave’ and repeated the abuse “as soon as she misbehaved again and ‘made him do it’ ”.

That was not all, however.

Although I was given a form with multiple-choice answers to some of the aforementioned questions, to fill in anonymously, and asked to seal it in an unmarked envelope, there is no way I noted it was not placed randomly in the sheaf of envelopes; and moreover, the company that commissioned the survey will probably check that the young lady did indeed interview me – and now they can pair my information, my details, and my telephone number.

This in itself raises several questions.

Would a woman whose partner abused her, or who had been raped (by a family member, friend or stranger) and kept it secret, actually admit this if there was anyone within earshot?

But the most important point I raised had not even been hinted at in the questionnaire – and this brings me to my point; nobody considers psychological tactics, or Gaslighting, as abuse.  It is assumed that if you have no bruises to show, they you are imagining things – or lying to get your partner into trouble.

Women who have been through this say that they actually believe they are crazy.  Their partners do not lift a finger, because they know this would leave a mark that may – probably will – be photographed.

And yet they continuously denigrate the woman’s cooking, he hair, her figure, her clothes, her family, her friends… anything that could make her feel good about herself.  They pick on her manner of speaking; they make her feel inadequate in and out of bed; they compare her to other women – and she never matches them in anything. Abusers use ambiguous words so they can claim “it’s not what I said, it’s what you think I did… and as usual, you’re wrong… because you’re stupid.” And anyone who does not share their point of view is wrong.

They stretch the truth and move her things about so that they are not where she put them last, and then accuse her of having her mind “on other things” when she looks for them. The implications of this are obvious; a man will act suspiciously on purpose, to make her think he has a lover, just to goad her into a reaction.

Alas, these women spend hours trying to figure out what it is they would have done  wrong; they may even resort to staying at home so as not to face a barrage of questions about where they have been and whom they have talked to, and about what. They know that the supermarket closest to your house does not have the items they want but fear going to the one across town because he “knows” that the man at the cheese counter flirts with you each time you go.

They think that if they sit their partner down and explain that they love him beyond life itself and that they would never do anything to hurt him or endanger the relationship, all will be well. The man says he sees her point – but rarely does he say he understands it, for to do so would mean he loses his power over her. He will tell her that he knows it, and that she is nagging. And she thinks this signals an end to the interrogations and the negative comments.  It does not.

These tormentors have their own version of the truth; a woman watches television because she has a crush on an actor; she was already sexually active as a child to have money for sweets and he has “saved” her from prostitution; she got her degree by sleeping with the lecturer, or that she is pretending to be a good wife but she is actually an evil woman; he is “only joking” and she is a “head-case” to think otherwise.

There is only a thin, barely discernable line between verbal, and emotional, abuse. Abandonment, accusations, anger, belittling, blaming, brainwashing, bullying, comparisons, control, criticising, cruel jokes, discrediting, devaluing, gaslighting, insults, isolation, judging, manipulation, name-calling, ordering, silence, unpleasantness… all these are abuse tactics.

But if even those who undertake nationwide questionnaires do not realise this, what hope is there for the “ugly, stupid, fat, dirty, scrounging whore” crying herself to sleep… again?



Private Dancers – In Public

Thursday, October 6, 2011, 12:45

The sticky, stinky brown stuff has really hit the fan. Some asinine attention-seeking (female) teens have been cavorting in front of their peers, and the media caught wind of it.
However, I was more shocked at the reactions and opinions of quite a few of my friends – mur ara, as one of them succinctly put it, than at the foolish antics of the girls.
One of the women to whom I talked justified her point of view by saying at least I know where she is; another chided me for being behind the times for not taking this in my stride, and another insisted that these days you cannot stop them or ground them because they will call the Helpline – oh, yes, you can; and so what if they do?
Some time ago, in Italy, there was a great to-do about under-age cubisti; youngsters hoping to be ‘discovered’ by talent scouts, who spent their evenings writhing away in suggestive and provocative poses on ‘cubes’ (raised platforms) in seedy clubs.
Whether these, and our local girlies, are offered the casting couch is anybody’s guess.
But I digress. This is much more than a sad case of finding an outlet for raging hormones and the wish to ‘experiment’
Beyond the “what a shame” fifteen-minute yearning for fame lie deeper issues.
Is it possible that these children cannot find a better way of using their talents? If they love to dance so much, how about their organising dance-based fund-raising activities? Rope in some wannabe models and singers, and Bob’s your uncle. I am sure some NGO would back their efforts – if they could find the time to organize their thoughts – and their wardrobes.
My eye was caught by the fact that they had been paid (or rather, given a tip, considering the paltry amount) €10, for frolicking and prancing about in beachwear. Their payment would not even by them a decent – and I use the term judiciously – bikini. So somewhere along the line, I will have to believe that they do not do it for the money.
To call these dancers “erotic” is to make fun of them – I would prefer to call them a pedophile’s wet dream. And let’s not talk about married men who insist that variety is the spice of life to excuse their constant (not seven-year) itches.
But, alas, these girls too immature to realise that they are merely setting themselves up as such. To them, it is ‘fun’. And perhaps, mud-in-the-eye of their fuddy-duddy friends who are not into risqué behaviour.
We have been told that the children’s parents are their ‘friends’ on social sites. This assumes that the parents know about the behaviors, and possibly approve of the fact that their children are getting, if not fame and fortune, at least notoriety and pocket-money.
But wait – does not the fact that money has changed hands constitute “child labour”? I am under the impression that a teen cannot even receive money I she baby-sits the children of a neighbour; how does this, therefore, square up?
Deutschmarks or dollars; American Express will do nicely, thank you…
Tell me, do you wanna see me do the shimmy again?… And any old music will do… All the men come in these places…And the men are all the same…
So sings Tina Turner. And this might explain why all the dancers were girls. They usually are, except in certain dives.
Ironically, one of the dancers was saying that like Greta Garbo, she and all teens want to be left alone – and then, they go and show off. This is illogical.
It has been said that the Police and the Children’s Commissioner is “investigating” this. The parents of babies, toddlers, tweens and teens do not want investigations – we want action.
I have seen enough drunken children in Paceville, despite the ‘prohibitions’. There are enough teen pregnancies, despite the ‘sex education’ lessons. I have seen more than enough children puffing away in the street, despite the ‘awareness campaigns’.
With role models such as Rihanna and Lady (!) Gaga, children are wont to push the boundaries of what is accepted by society. They say that “everybody does it”; but peer pressure works in positive mode too.
If the dominant girl in the peer group takes it into her mind that they will henceforth go jogging, her followers could well agree. In any case, if state school grounds were open after hours, they would even have a place to congregate without risking future repercussions from potential employers who run internet searches on job applicants.
If one bossy girl commands her troop to wear jeans and a t-shirt, and hie off to an old people’s home to perform Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, they will toe her line. Eventually.
However – I will have to add that this requires dedication and rehearsals. It is much easier to grab some underwear and improvise, is it not?
Because, inter alia, mindless gamboling in non-restrictive clothing this is easier to fit in with studies and home life than something that requires assiduity. And ‘instant recognition’ of people in the street tends to be inebriating to someone who is too young to cope with its ramifications.
And…any excuse is better than none.

I Am Not Pregnant…

Thursday, September 15, 2011, 20:34

… and frankly, I still haven’t got around to testing for any one of the various types of cancers that may be tested for, which have beset both maternal and paternal sides of my family over the years.

But that is not the reason I shall not be posting the pseudo-lie about how far into the Club I am, and what I am craving.

This is the third meme that is supposed to make us aware of breast cancer. In the first one we were supposed to inform people of our social networks of the colour of our lingerie, and in the second, where we place out handbags.

The first was supposed to elicit a nonplussed question; the second was meant to be a double-entendre.

This third statement, for some reason, makes a connection between pregnancy and awareness of breast cancer. Seeing that this condition often leaves women infertile – desperately wishing, in fact, that they were “six months in and craving pickles dipped in hazelnut spread” or some other disgusting concoction of the sort. And desperately wishing that they could have, eventually, breastfed the offspring they will now never have. I find it ‘distasteful’ – on all counts.

It is interesting to note that all three “chain letters”- for that, in effect, is what these things are- concentrate on sexuality. Moreover, they focus on a woman’s sexuality, totally ignoring the fact that males do get breast cancer too.

Would you pass on a message that threatens you with disaster and death of you do not make fifty copies forthwith, and forward them to people, asking them to follow suit? Does it sit well on you to play on people’s emotions and fears, and make them waste time?

Ah, you say, but this is “in jest”… rather as if breast cancer is funny.

It is not awareness of breast cancer that we need; it is education, information, and action about all types of cancers. Not just one of the many types that steal people’s lives when their deaths could have been avoided.

I speak from experience – two members of my immediate family were mis-diagnosed and told there was “nothing to worry about”. By the time someone realised we were not simply “making a fuss about nothing” and picked up all the clues and thought to investigate further, it was way too late for both of them.

However, silly pass-it-on messages are not the only way that the female body is being exploited in a pathetic way with regards to this notion.

Some internet sites have been specifically created for the posting of cleavage – no head, no torso, because “that” is the important part of the female – with the same warped view. And I use the term deliberately.

Because just as sites that show child models made up to look like adults pander to a paedophile’s dreams, so do these sites indulge voyeurs. In both cases, the perverts win hands down.

If you ostensibly want to draw attention to an illness, you do not draw attention to ‘perfection’ – despite fetching slogans about ‘protection’ and ‘reminders’. Just for the record, I also object to pictures posted by women who have had mastectomies, who do re doing this in a bid to counteract the obsession with breasts.

Women are stricken with many types of cancers – most of which effect men, too. However, since (probably) most of us consider man-boobs unattractive, and it is not necessarily those that get breast cancer, it would not be a good gimmick to include snaps of them in any site purporting to “care” about “awareness”.

A woman who has bone, lung, or ovarian cancer, or metastatic colo-rectal cancer, apparently cannot be “represented” by a series of partial snapshots of her sisters sporting variously bejewelled, frilled, striped, or polka-dotted bikini tops. Let’s face it; a face wracked in pain is not “sexy”. Neither are gel-filled prosthesis in a box.

The equation seems to be that if you say you are booting awareness of breast cancer, you can sell pink earrings, special edition pink sweets and rubber bracelets, pink cellular telephones… and have an excuse to parade your assets, if you are a ‘consenting adult’, because it’s “all in a good cause”.

If, like me, you do not pass on the e-mail, the social site posting, or the series of photographs, you are labelled an old sourpuss with no sense of humour.

Being ‘aware’ of breast cancer does not mean you will never get it. It does not mean you are free to compare and contrast photographs, either.

What it does mean is knowing that there are many other types of cancer. It means cooking a meal for a family that has one member so stricken, and offering to look after the children during those interminable hospital visits or stays…

It means getting the patient – male or female – something nice, which they would not think of getting themselves, or cannot be bothered to do so… because they know they might be going to die soon.

Sex Appals

Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 12:10

The other day, Welsh international footballer Ched Evans raped a teenager. His friend, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald had sex with her.
Is there any difference between the terms, seeing that both men claimed it was consensual? Does it make any difference that she was drunk at the time, and that she has no memory at all of what happened, perhaps because one or more of her drinks (allegedly wine, double vodkas with lemonade and a Sambuca shot)  had been spiked?
The Court held that Evans was guilty of rape, and sentenced him to five years in prison; McDonald was deemed ‘not guilty’ of rape.
Sheffield United player Connor Brown sought to ‘defend’ his friend by calling the victim ‘a money-grabbing little tramp’. He then went on to use bad English and worse words in his Twitter account to insult the girl, but later removed his posts.
The aura of the rich, the powerful, the handsome, the popular, and those who consider themselves above the law, sometimes translates into these wannabe studs (correctly) thinking they can pick and choose women for sex. Some go even further and expect the women to think they are being done a favour, and, hence, no type of compensation to her would be due.
This, essentially, means that any girl who decides to complain – or, heaven forbid – press charges later, will automatically be branded a bitch, a liar, or  a  gold-digger, and sometimes all three at once.
Consider, for a moment, the current crisis assailing the American Secret Service.
About 11 Secret Service agents brought prostitutes back to their rooms while they were preparing the venue for President Obama’s arrival for the Summit of the Americas. Although such doings are illegal, the police in the area have some ‘tolerance zones’ – which apparently are both in the concrete and in the abstract.
However, as it happened, one of the women refused to leave the premises after 7.00am, as is the praxis. But she had a reason; she had not been paid adequately for services rendered. And this is, basically, what lit the fuse that exploded the bomb that blew the story open.
There will always be  teachers who will try to din into students’ minds that ‘sluts’ (read a girl who has sex before she is married, with one person or more) are merely fornicators with a more modern name.
There will always be people like Albert Locher, the Sacramento County District Attorney, who actually arrest rape victims to make sure they are present to testify against their aggressors.
But the worst thing of all is that there are a whole slew of myths, masquerading as reasons, why many people do not accept that rape would have happened.
We are asked to believe that it’s not rape if the woman:  didn’t put up a fight;  had been with another man twenty-four hours before or after the attack;  had no signs of violence on her body; has an active sex life; is a prostitute ‘anyway’;  is old, and ugly, and might not otherwise have had sex; is a lesbian; is young and  attractive, and therefore a temptation;  did not know what was happening anyway; ordered, tempted or dared the man to have sex;  uses birth-control; was dating the man; was dressed indecently; was drinking to make herself lose her inhibitions; was not supposed to be where she was; or went to his place of her own volition.
Moreover, if “her no obviously meant yes”; if the sex was consensual, and / or the man used a prophylactic; or of the act happened in her house or a neutral place, we are supposed to think that the woman is crying wolf as well as rape.
These conditions nicely cover just about any situation, do they not?
As far as I am concerned, a “slut” is someone who uses sex-related accusations to lie about a man for her own ends – when no sex at all would have taken place.
Yet it remains a sad fact of life that in most countries, sex crimes are treated differently from other types of crimes.
If you sell stolen goods, you are guilty of that.  If you help someone hide a murdered body, you are an accessory after the fact. In a nutshell, if you aid and abet someone in a crime, you have to pay the penalty.
Just because someone entices you to commit murder, fraud, theft, or perjury, you do not just play along willy-nilly. Whether the issue involves stealing a car for joy-riding, beating up someone, robbing a house, doing drugs, or jumping off a cliff, it cuts no ice to tell the judge that “peer pressure” made you comply.
Yet sex between consenting adults is sometimes considered all right; especially if it is the word of one person ‘with a reputation’ against an abuser who may or may not be in collusion with other witnesses.
Incidentally, most women who have had unwanted sexual relations, inclusive of rape, usually go home to scrub themselves physically clean from their emotional trauma.
This, too, may count against them – because they are ‘supposed’ to hie off for an examination that would document evidence of any kind available.

Why Does NORAD Track Santa?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Once upon a time, there was CONAD (The American Continental Air Defence Command). Since 1958, this has been known as NORAD (The North American Aerospace Defense Command).
Included in the nitty-gritty that was part and parcel of the workload of the former, passed on to the latter, is literally and figuratively a flight of fancy.

NORAD is responsible for tracking Santa’s Flight across the skies. This will take him past Mount Fuji , 100 times faster than a 500 series Shinkansen bullet train, and also to Britain, France and Switzerland – but for some reason he does not fly across the Mediterranean. This began through whimsical happenstance. There was a Sears Roebuck and Company advertisement with a typo in it. This gave the number of the agency rather than the Santa Hotline one it had been supposed to give.

When a little girl saw the advertisement, in a Colorado Springs newspaper, which said “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” She obeyed the instructions. Yet she got through to Colonel Harry Shoup, the Director of Operations on duty on December 24, 1955 at the time. He happened to be the right person in the right pace at the right time. Rather than being officious and telling the child she he had a wrong number, the Colonel, perhaps touched by the innocence of the child, decided to ask his staff for the radar readings of the whereabouts of Santa’s Sleigh. The children who called later were given updates – and so a cute tradition was born.

In 1997, Canadian Major Jamie Robertson took over the programme, and went on the www with it. The idea remains to track Santa as he travels across the skies to deliver presents – not only through the original radar, but through satellite systems as well. Thousands of volunteers staff computers and telephones at Cheyenne Mountain and Peterson Air Force Base in order to answer phones and provide Santa updates live – to children, adults, as well as the media.

This tracking scheme has now achieved cult status; this year, Google introduced its own 2D and 3D Google Earth maps, which indicate Santa’s position on lifelike maps. The NORAD Tracks Santa website offers a service in seven languages – English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

This year, new videos of Santa flying over Zurich, Switzerland; Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and Mexico City, Mexico were added on You Tube. Like all the others, it features a voice-over by a member of the NORAD staff, indicating Santa’s location, and showing the sleigh, complete with Rudolph’s hooter at full brilliance, approaching the city and then slaloming in the air currents over it, accompanied by the familiar jingling bells.
Those who were after a more personalised service, however, could email his team at and get updates sent directly to their inbox. There were also several social networking sites offering the service – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and

You can watch Santa’s message here, and the one by General Renuart, Commander of NORAD, here

  Sorry, Not Sorry


Sorry, Not SorryResignation

Politicians, clergy, celebrities, journalists – I’ve lost count of how many of them shoot their mouths off with momentous yet monotonous and regularity. These persons ought to know better, all the more so because they are supposed to be role models, not to act in a manner unbecoming to their position.
If course, the ending of these chronicles is not always the same. Some of them assume we will think they were joking; some give us the infamous no-apology apology; some resign; some admit they would have misspoken, and leave it at that – and some, in order to retain their job and its perks, grovel. And the non-apology usually works against the lesser party.
Priti Patel is the latest in the list of hundreds, nay thousands, of such individuals to hit the headlines. This Brexit crusader was unceremoniously summoned back to Britain from her official trip to Africa by Prime Minster Theresa May. Her crime? It was not that someone found out about how her husband Alex Sawyer was being paid £25,000 to run her office, and that he still found the time to work as a marketing consultant for the American financial giant NASDAQ, and as a Conservative local councillor. That was common knowledge. It was because she breached the Ministerial Code, diplomatic protocol, by having off-the-agenda meetings with Israeli politicians… and lied about it.
Patel initially hemmed and hawed, but eventually admitted to having had the meetings. However, she has not offered full disclosure of what went on in the meetings.
Why is it that people lie, especially people who know that their every move is watched and documented, and expect to be believed? Why is it that people insult others first and then, when they realise that the tide of public opinion has turned against then, either say they were joking, or offer a half-hearted non-apology, and, to add insult to injury, try and remove all traces of what they would have written from their personal social sites, forgetting that there is such a thing as electronic memory?
We have Boris Johnson spouting off about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe; he has said he “could have been clearer” but the Foreign Office did not retract his comments as soon as he made them, thereby lending them credence.
“I apologise if I’ve offended more people than I usually offend.” This came from New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan. It was supposed to be a “get over it” funny comment, but it is indicative of how the soi-disant high and mighty treat the hoi polloi. It is a common stratagem for offenders to try and chuck red herrings at cameras and microphones.
It seems only a couple of weeks ago that presidents Obama was being interviewed by NBC. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he said about people whose health care options were not what they would have liked them to be. Actually, the situation had not obtained because of his assertions or declarations, but because of an enacted law…
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton had this to say about her use of a private email: “I’m sorry that it has raised all these questions.”
When the story about Harvey Wildenstein’s serial sexual predator behaviour came out, some of those who had worked hand in glove with him professed not to have known anything. Others (let’s leave the victims out of this) are now telling us they are sorry they did not say anything sooner.
Of course, there will always be those who, when called out on their behaviour, will sue anyone and everyone on some pretext, because of their “reputation” – and to take people’s minds off the main issue, i.e. their obnoxious behaviour and their lies about it.
And then there is the all too common “I am sorry you were hurt” statement, which, of course, intimates that the person who is being addressed is a Nellie, and cannot take it on the chin. We have Matt Damon whitesplaining the “Project Greenlight”. Producer Effie Brown (a black female) was lectured about the merits of “Hot Ghetto Mess” vs. “The Pivot” as a title, and much more. His words indicated that he held the reins of the project, not that he was sorry about what happened.
Oh, passive voice, what crimes are committed in thy name. Of course mistakes were made. But can you pin the blame in that sentence on anyone in particular? Socrates was put to death for his non-apology, by the way.
There are those who will apologise for something they did ages before in order to garner sympathy from the public… and this is as bad as “the devil made me do it”, either then, or now.
Lord Rennard had the temerity to “express his regret for any harm or embarrassment caused to them (four women who brought forward sexual harassment claims), or anything which made them feel uncomfortable.” Not a word of apology about what he had actually done; for had he not done it, he would have gainsaid the women.
Victim-blaming is another tactic that is used by those who apologise. Whether it is the “Your honour, she was so desirable…” or “I assumed she wanted it as much as I did…” or even, “I gave a high percentage of what I made illicitly to charity…”
The ending of these stories is usually that accountability is not to be enforced, for one reason or another. If we cannot find a statement because it has been deleted; if we cannot find an article because it has been pulled or even un-published from the publication (and it never appeared in the print version); if we have enough money in our collective bank accounts to live comfily… then we will assume that nothing ever happened, and that boys will be boys, albeit in a sense different from how the idiom is usually taken to mean.
And so it continues – here, there, and everywhere.


“As per Chapter XI, Section 8, paragraph 9(a)[b]#ꚉ, You will now interface with Xehelia, the chatbot selected for you according to your psychological profile. AI is making great steps. Please sign on the dotted line, and put on your headphones.”
Hello. I need to talk. yI’el.

œÅ\[SÜ~§Šÿà‡y °§¸„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨ ¸­‚¨¨¸­ I–/µ®”’Ý;­Ì<Ú k›¦É’¿çÉòµ{l“TÝ’, ûú$çðS×Ù¨¶+ŒÄŽÑéysxT øšõ˜RiûƸ„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨ ¸­‚¨¨¸­ò’šî ÿâ×ÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­

Maybe we can talk about that later.
sÄߧüÉ›Š¸„¤ÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨ ¸­|¸„¤ÅÈÓ X‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­ºþò éɨ¹„yRw?ïùªš¥Ñܸ„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­ÕÈÇ?Y“­êXLàöÈ wÏ{çO‡ü »‰+#Ú mëØÅÈÓX ‚¨¨¸­¨¶+ Œ¨¶+Œ ÄŽÑÄžñ¸ „¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨
I’m ambivalent about most things – veganism and vampirism included.
¨¸­•ÅèóX ‚¨¨ ¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“æ ñõÏoéÐmëØ ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ ‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­ÊÒÈ}mëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­|iooŸþä-
Not always. I used to eat them when I was a child, though.
ñûMÖ ÈWÏ{ÇO‡ Ü»‰+#ÚMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ ¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄ ŽÑ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(ÚXL“Æ ÑÕÏ ÙÕmï?xºÏ?Å*+‹ õêðüñ²Ä¦y¶Èó¹óöäØù¸„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­/ðü…”v’Ü ‰ÂÄÙäû{Ÿ~tVû{o/ö:×û{<v`Já”åÎæÚ“û¿Þïï}vïwçâ-
Oh yes, I saw the film. Gore and guts….they make me queasy.
`ö”¢toQ,¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨ ¸­‚¨¨¸­?àÒ‘ièÇŠäÀ|à‹‚ßö ÈwÏ{çO‡ü» ‰+#ÚmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄ ŽÑÄžñ¸„¤Å ÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•Åè óX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“æñõÏ, ‰à~«”Ô㉻ɽÝ| ±öMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ ĎѸ„¤ÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ÀÆŒ“ Ãœâ.±ûÉÅ,ýÅèó X‚¨¨¸­
Funny you should say that. I had a similar argument on Facebook just this morning.
fÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸ „¤ÅX¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­íÅÕÒ¹ ÏÖÈWÏ{ÇO‡Ü»‰+#Ú MËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚ÈÓX‚¨¨ ¸­Ý°Í®ª(ÚX L“ÆÑÕÏIâ+„Û\›>øv:. ܏ðs?ËâÊK\ŒäT!É
Oh, you know – usual stuff.
Y[ظ„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­M ËØÅÈÓ‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽ ÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÓX‚¨¨¸­ úMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX ‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­< Ÿ½éÚØJl“á‡.’¡Ü õ¯öÈwÏçO‡ü»‰+#ÚmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸ „¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“ æñõÏK ]û¯¥+.ÛvoÇܪÅÈwÇÎáO».ËõÝv?]¯Ëýù>¬
I would rather live in a cave.
ŠýM ËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ ¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄŽÑ ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­ •ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ŠêmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨ ¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­°ˆüzÉÑwÄýxsÄߧüÉ›Š¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­|¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸ ­ºþòéɨ¹„yRw ?ïùª’¯ÈÍVÕ¤wðù
France and Thailand.
[zöÈwÏ{çO‡ü»‰+#ÚmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“æñõÏäÞMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄ ŽÑÄŽ Ѹ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­kŒ}‚«ŸKK— ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­MŒK?áßiéÄ—
Fantastic. But I Can’t swim.
“¸þ¨¶+ ÄŽÑXM ‰*Õè š¥Ñܸ ¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­ÕÈÇ?Y“ ­êXLàö ÈwÏ{çO‡ü»‰+#ÚmëØÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨ ¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Ú xl“æñõÏoéÐmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶ +ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÈX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­ÊÒ È}mëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­|iooÅ ÈÍVÕ¤wðù
How many languages do you speak?
[zöÈwÏ{çO‡ ü»‰ #Úmë ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„ ¤ÅÈÓX‚èóX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“æñõÏä+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­kŒ}‚«MÖÈWÏ{ÇO‡Ü»‰+#ÚMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+ Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(ÚXL“ÆÑÕ ÏŸKKMŒK?áßiéÄÑèðĉπăʫʤʭʯʠʡᴔᴓ ᴟfflקּ בֿשׁ§ªÅÈÁÐà“¸þ¨¶
I think it’s “nuq ‘oH ponglIj’e’?” in Klingon.
+ŒÄŽÑX M‰*Õè!‚¸„¤ ÓX ‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­|•ŽQ ¦^ÙÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ß\|¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ­>±å•‰ÄÏÆS/ $)lÃÆ/ŒØþì}´¿(ô›‡
No. In Esperanto it’s “Kio estas via nomo?”
â:è ¿¡cżMË ØÅ ÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒġÄŽ
Yes, definitely. But that would be taking the concept too far.
Ah. Hiroshi. He of the conscious robots.
I’m sorry. I wasn’t laughing at you. My comment was lost in translation. I meant, that was funny, not you are funny.
ð¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ´WmëØ ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄž ñ¸„ ¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•Å èóX‚¨¨¸­çðqºõ à ØöÈwÏ{çO‡ü »‰+#ÚmëØÅ ĊÈĠħÓX‚
Emotions are weird things.
Who’d have thought it?
¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ ŒÄ ĦċŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(ÚX L“Æ ÑÕÏO/’|.Æ“¤§j¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ‡-QÇ?q‚$¶ˆ¸„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­å/¯ý…ªä’$õÌ w׌¹ -lYòùñtã]ôVÙõýsO ¸kÈî渄¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­roÌL}½Ã œâ.±ûÉ Åġ
With your memory banks and connections, ha ha, you can watch them all, I assume.
ýÅèóX‚¨¨¸­„ÅÀżÄ)+ŸymëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX ‚¨¨¸­I§}úVxŒò’$âÆ »„qýüX:ñéâí,ßJ ÝmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ ¨¶+ŒÄŽ ÑÄžñ¸„¤Å ÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­íÅÕÒ¹ÏÖ ÈWÏ{ÇO‡Ü»‰ +# ÚMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¸­Ý° Í®ª(ÚXL “ÆÑÕÏIâ+„Û \›>øv:.܏ðsŸÅèóX‚¨¨¸­MŒK? áßiéÄ“¸þ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑX M ‰*Õèš ¥Ñܸ„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­ÕÈÇ?Y“­êXL àöÈwÏ{ çO‡ü»‰+#ÚmëØÅ
That was a pun. I was linking connections to data banks. My, aren’t you in a jolly mood this morning. Proper ray of sunshine, you are.
ĊżaÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤Å ÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“æñõÏoé ÐmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•Åè óX‚¨¨¸­ÊÒÈ} mëØ ÅÈÓX ‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+Œ ÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­|io ċoÅ.
Figure of speech. Sarcasm. Understatement. Irony. Whatever.
I wish I had never signed up for this. The feedback and background noises are annoying me.
ÈÍ.ċVÕ¤w ðùzöÈwÏ{çO‡ü»‰+#ÚċmëØ ċżħ‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“æñõÏ äÞMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽ ÑĎѸ„ ¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­kŒ?Ë
Never mind.
âÊK\ŒäT!ÉsÄߧüÉ ›Š¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­|¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨ ¸­‚¨¨¸­ºþòéɨ¹„yRw?ïùª’¯ÈÍVÕ¤wŒ:—Å–XÚ–ÞÇȉÈ)‘¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÍÒ½V mëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•Å èóX‚¨¨¸­šÊ
Quite. But it seems that you need some tweaks.
ó`V½Ô,(Së”W º‘( Ò¹|Ÿ¨|#( ċ⺠µö ÈwÏ {çO‡ ü»‰ +#ÚmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ Äžñ¸ „¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ ‚¨¨¸­•Åè óX‚¨¨¸­ Ý°Í®ª (Úxl“æñĠõÏçiW¦ Ö‚¤Ýä´²”ß (­Çʨ ¶+ŒÄ ŽÑ;ùÅèóX‚¨¨¸­<³ ò ,À•Šïáè>¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨ ‚¨¨¸­* ĠĊq!ÛË…§»j¨¶+ŒÄŽÑáæÉý¿<Y<‹rŒù ÀãÄàñ ë ÀLJI:Ö ã[»¨\î¹¥ Æ¡ŒL¦
Oh, if you had to believe all you hear…
vRYµŠÏ‹¸„¤ÅÈÓX ‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­Ƒ¥?Iª‹{¶/yüw YZ øÉ$® /Ór ¤â¥Ø^‘ ‹Q±ƒ º¦]’ÓÖë²xÈ*¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ®=®­ w´ÈÊŽÒ>’œ»jÈ…ç”ë\¨ ¶+ŒÑø`Q ½¡ÅèóX‚¨ ¨¸­jº¥Lý° jÌ ú½ŸÕ Ö È WÏ{ ÇO‡ Ü»‰ ġ+#Ú MËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŽÑ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈX‚¨¨¸­Ò¥ °Í®ª(ÚXL“ÆÑÕÏ‹o ÈÍżżġħ
I would have thought you had supersonic hearing. What I meant was…
VÕ¤wðù [zöÈwÏ{çO‡+# mëØÅÈ ÓX‚¨ħ ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨ ¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•Å èóX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(ÚxlæõÏ äÞ MËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨Œ ¸ „¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­kŒ}‚«MÖ ÈWÏ{ÇO‡Ü»‰ +#Ú MË ØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨ ¶+ŒÄ ŽÑ Ä ŽÑ¸„¤Å ÈÓX‚¨ÃI¸Á­ ÈġċħÓX‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(ÚXL“ÆÑÕÏŸKK Åè óX‚¨¨¸­MŒK? ĊáßiéÄ“¸þ¨¶
A cycle. A bicycle. A tricycle…
+ŒÄŽÑXM‰*Õè  ß+ƒ°àɝ“(Ž˜‘Ó¢è³ MËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ ĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓ X‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ÍãÓÍL´
Yes. Trains and boats and planes.
¸„¤èóX‚ ¨¨¸­‚¨¨ ¸­$»À ¢(„š!ÉÖ±X) ÿ µÚk ö”È’.ÝQ[Ï‡ À•­+¬<mÅ…zZ¶°ÖÈWÏ{ÇO‡Ü ÚMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­• Å È‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Ú XL“ÆÑÕÏv•;¡
In any case, you’re staying put.
\Ò:ÖZ•Î?Ё*^Š[ý+MËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ÖÀ§¤”ž> ÝèW^ïÙX‚mëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­ª°¨M®Lô–\’Šš¦=(*Åæø¥{Yú§ükµñû(ħ¯±•¸„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­$ýt
Actually, my brief was to see how much…
‰öêá(õIöi*ìÛþ{¡ð+¨¶+ ŒÄ Ž Ñ ÊËʼnð±Åù*û¦ÒT¯û‚QV,³KôRmÂª]½ô¯ Êt¥’¨¶+ŒÄ ŽÑo«Ô“w…ËRö ½OåSÛÒJMË ØÅÈÓ X‚¨¨¸­ ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­°ÂRӲȥ J´Ÿi—›$ÓŽªÛ²¡‡…[KJ<ËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­V”YzœÍ¯ºŠkÿ?x¬±mVìMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶ ¸õÀšªëM, õÀšªëM!Iöi*ìÛþ{¡ð+ Ž Ñ ‰ù*ÒT¯û‚QV,³KôRmÂª]½ô¯ Êt¥’¨¶+ŒÄ ŽÑo.

…as I was saying… it is not a matter of taking things literally. Nuances differ in languages, go figure non-language…

¤ÅÈ ÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¯*«’Ɖ›Š²ÿ¦èK–§sL¤çËâmݍ+ë‘âðršÉÆ’ÿÖX¨¶+ŒÄTù|Š”¬(­-)Çzû‡Ç…§Ž ²Âû•Î–ˆË!{Ýä¡¥ âÛŠ¿R¸„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨ ¸­‚¨¨¸­`¯³#ƒž¨¶+ŒY*µ¦ÂÀ O’q(Ńq¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ…›l^k}¶V~Èȏ¦Í|lÿÄ$ ‚›ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­ :­¬ékv瘤Ӷ³Îäz ¿W’°{”ÜÝÌÁ)씝Ê>íó¸

Very much so.
ŽS¥VO°‚t¿ë»#Ë„¥‘y¥øê Áw>’Ÿª’wÐ ºÇ®•[‡ñµKÿ¯yʇ¤åWsV¸„¤Å èóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­ò¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨ ¨¸­…rËöÈwÏ{çO‡ü» ‰+#ÚmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ ¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄ ŽÑÄžñ¸ „¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•Åèó X‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(Úxl“æñċĦõÏv(͸²œ|… §y­mÓÌ­ ìÍ!Ï«òâiÔôê¿”ø ¨Mí Õ“YXMËØÅ ÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­“ŽÆÈò¬ìrj»ÜÐÁmVmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄž

Thirty of our minutes.

ütªš•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­µ¬tª•Üë“Êû ¨¶+ ŒÄŽÑšQÔ ÈÈtÔË æö!lQØÞíÁ“ìñXÜ›ñ+oÇ¿¶K¨¶+ŒÄŽÑQÞ¸‡Ô¨çê˜ý<–¢ÖÀ^ëÁÒ›±w‹å\ ÂÇ$‡ð’>ðç˜Í¸„¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­ÝŸ ÏÐmëØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ ¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÄžñ¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­>ãÐ ÆúÎÏây°èT ýÅÒ`>o!|QÃŽ ÖÈWÏ{ÇO‡Ü»‰+#ÚMËØÅÈÓ X‚¨¨¸­¨¶
Mostly I read. Real books, not interfaces or eBooks.
+Œ¨¶+ŒÄŽ ÑĎѸ„¤ÅÈÓ X‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅX ‚¨¨¸­Ý°Í®ª(ÚXL“Æ ÑÕÏ“ ÑrjœK¸„¤ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­Õç㸄¤ÅèóX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­YõžÀ= ’°;”Ý, =RÔsݜҐ• ÚÅèóX‚¨¨¸­`IðXi³q»¸¶Kv=³ÛÕÝ¡¨¶+ŒÄŽÑÊ›×çÓxœ›ªOM¬ ;‚º{⯝K ŠöŒ³ð?»Ã—ò,MËÅÈÓX ‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ªMáÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­ˆ<TY¬ç“Ìx[•••¢˜ÈÌÇèù²ƒ-$ÙMËØÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­¨¶+Œ¨¶+ ÅÈÓX‚¨¨¸­‚¨¨¸­•ÅÈħċġÓX‚¨¨¸­v¹ˆŒƒ»Â°;´¢¨¶+ŒÄŽÑ\•¹È…ŸÅµƒ>’Å^¦ìé¥j²›úV
Yes, I heard about that. It makes things artificial. The lazy way out.
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Oh, I still wrote longhand.
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I bet you could.
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Oh. There’s the bell. Game Over

The Human Zoo

– Real people.
– What do you mean?
– I’m not about to spend megabucks on safaris, when there’s raw material galore here.
– That’s nasty.
– Specimens, then. Natives.
– Explain.
– My idea is to have visitors. They come here and see… and pay.
– You disgust me.
– We feed and clothe these… persons… and…
– …make money off their backs. Isn’t that it?
– Why not? It has been done before, and no doubt, will be done again.
– I hate it.
– But you won’t hate the trappings of wealth that will come with it.
– Yeah, brilliant choice of word, trappings.
– Come on, I was only trying to be punny.
– The very idea of using real people as exhibits, disgusts me.
– I present to you the Great Paris Exhibition of 2013, in which…
– I know all about that. I’m a a history major, remember.
– I didn’t know the topic covers such esoteric niches…
– Oh yes. I won an award for my haiku;
“two by two they come
amphibians, insects, fish, fowl
heirs and masters of the earth”
– But as I was saying…
– I know, dammit, what you were saying.
– Listen to me. People are jaded, they need new things to pique their curiosity. My ‘inhabitants from foreign lands on display as article of curiosity’ is a sure-fire money-spinner.
– If you say so.
– It will be bigger and better than anything that’s gone before. I may even call it The European Attraction Unlimited.
– Oh yes. Celebrate the religion of post-modernist colonialism.
– Ah. I knew that sooner or later you’d start with the verbiage.
– Yes. Just as this ‘noble cause’ waffle in this pamphlet draft here.
– Awareness. That’s what it is.
– It’s a travesty. It’s man’s inhumanity to man.
– You are misinterpreting me. All I want is to make people aware. If it means I earn oodles of boodle into the bargain, I’m easy.
– Oh come ON. In a moment, you’ll be saying that you are challenging the romantic and exotic view of creating the stereotypical noble savage.
– Say that again, will you, so I write it down and add it to the blurb.
– The hell I will. What you are doing is violence. Racism. Bigotry. A rampant, misguided, moral superiority complex.
– It’s Art, with an upper case A. Art must challenge, provoke, stimulate…
– …make use of uncouth savages…needs must when the devil drives, and all that…
– I see you’re getting the picture.
– You don’t even recognise sarcasm when it hits you right between the eyes.
– Racism is not at issue here.
– Really? It’s just the second fowl of when you kill two birds with one stone.
– It is a latter-day voyage of discovery; a means to an end. Using the interest and delectation of the crowd to make me some dough. Stop being so self-righteous, for Pete’s sake.
– It’s not that I’m being smarmy or anything. It’s that this kind of twisted idea of what passes for entertainment, using others to line your pockets, that’s just not cricket.
– Look you have it all wrong. The term Human Zoo has probably put you in mind of the Theory of Races.
– Isn’t that what it is?
– No, not at all. My idea is to emulate the great international trade fairs of yore, without the tackiness. I will pay the inhabitants of the villages, and make sure that they have decent working hours.
– Really?
– Really and truly. I will even allow them to join a Union. If they want to.
– Oh yes. And, of course, they will have to re-enact their sacred rites and rituals, in front of paying visitors… when you know as well as I do that these are supposed to be shrouded in mystery and not even the lower castes may participate…
– If the celebrant is not really an ordained one, it is just a re-enactment…
– And you know that most native inhabitants of the pseudo-villages in historic Human Zoos had to eat meat – dog, cat, rat, whatever, just so that the oglers would see them disembowel and clean the animals…
– Well…
– I learned that their diets were usually gruel like. When they had to eat meat on a regular basis, they became ill and their blood pressure shot up.
– Well…
– You are beginning to sound like a cracked record, stuck on the chorus of well, well, well…
– “God has some work for everyone to do. There can’t be no idle hands in His Kingdom.”
– Quoting Hemingway now, are we?
– You’re a sharp one.
– Yes, amn’t I? I am not titillated by the spectre of cultural superiority.
– My version of the Human Zoo will respect traditions. Mind you, each adobe hut will have running water, air conditioning, and central heating; it will only appear to be primitive, from the outside. Visitors will not be allowed to peek inside them.
– Oh, isn’t that a relief.
– Yes. Oh, you were being sarcastic again.
– Won’t it get boring for the residents to do the same thing, day in, day out, without being able to roam to pastures new as they do in the life from which they would have been plucked?
– Oh, definitely not. They can switch between making body paste, making cornmeal, weaving, killing and skinning animals, churning butter, sewing, making jewellery, removing body hair… the list of activities is endless.
– I am beginning to feel sick. You’re serious, aren’t you. I thought you were kind of having me on, to gauge my reaction. This is nothing but slavery, albeit in a polite form. Sing for your supper, refined.
– You’ll do.
– What?
– Based on your reactions during this interview, you have been selected to head the next mission to Valida XI. You leave tomorrow.