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Excuses, excuses

I know, I know, I promised to write you a lengthy epistle days ago.

And it’s not as if I’m unaware, or anything like that, of my duty to blog.

Rest assured: yes, with such a powerful voice comes a keen knowledge of the debt I owe your children, and your children’s children, to use it as prolificly as I humanly can. Every day above ground for one small man is a giant gift to mankind, and when at last the clicking of my keyboard falls silent it will be too late for regrets.  I do not think that you shall ever see the ilks of me again. Not any generation soon.

Loath as I am to give unsolicited advice, reader, I confidently fear you people are going to look back and curse yourselves, wishing against wish that just one of you had had the ass-getting-up-off-of to get up off of your ass and open a Patreon account for me (something YOU KNEW I was far too self-effacing to do personally).

Then maybe—you’ll rebuke yourselves, as you toss and turn in the hour of the sheep-proof fence—just maybe, Brad finally could’ve quit his day job as a Latin translator or medical student or comp-sci tutor or whatever it was (something in the hurting-people sector anyway, I think) to devote himself full-time to helping people. Oh, what fools we were circa 2013–2028.

That’s just my concern. Take it or leave it, I thought you deserved to know.

In any case, my absence from these pages in ultimate days isn’t your fault, reader. For once.

It was the future’s fault. As you probably know, the future is the children of Australia. And said future has been holding what we call a wag-off, or bludge-in.

All across the continent, the continent’s top pubescent minds have been on truancy strike for the last day or two (the press isn’t sure). Their point: to decry grownup inaction on today’s number one childhood fear, more popular even than the dark, closeted razor-murderers, dunny snakes and other classics of the Tween Terror genre. I’m talking about climate change, obviously.

Only in the last couple of hours have the streets of our capital cities* started returning to the local equivalent of normal. As koncerned kidz cede the seedy CBD of Sydney to their elders—the barking-mad thus making way for the barfing-drunk—discourse on the street has slowly but steadily begun to improve. You could almost think it was an ordinary Friday night, if only the chunder-lined gutters weren’t clogged with placards denouncing governmental sanity in suspiciously-mature handwriting.

In Canberra our elected betters spent the week showing off their inability to learn from conditioned stimuli, with a conga-line of suckers up to and including PM Scott Morrison falling into the same trap over and over: remarking, out loud, that it was a school day, and therefore shouldn’t these school kids be in school? Which is, of course, bollocks when the very atmosphere itself is at stake, and to the surprise of nobody with half a brain, said bollocks were gift-wrapped and handed back to their owners by a commentariat that skews heavily towards baby-boomer izquierdistas nostalgic for their own, decidedly less-pointless, student-activist days.

(Dear white male Aussie politicians, but I repeat myself: thanks for the laughs. I have twitten you about the perils of relaxing your cremaster so much that your brains fall out in the past, but I haven’t done so in the future, so I fully expect that your history of misplacing your bollocks will repeat itself every night next week on Tragedy Central. If I miss it I can always catch the reruns on the Comedy Network.)

So I think my excuse for failure to blog pretty much invents itself: the entire national infrastructure Down Here has been veritably paralyzed by civil disobedience. Differently-disabled. Specialympicized.

Teenagers are the pillar of the Australian economy, just as they’re the focal point of terrestrial existence in general. It’s every high-school teacher’s recurring nightmare to enter the room and find their class literally decimated to a manageable size as a result of yoof activism. Imagine how a St Johns Ambulance volunteer or a nurse at a refugee camp would feel if a sudden falloff in caseload meant they were finally in a position to give each patient the attention they needed. That’s the horror scenario countless educators faced this morning, as industrial [sic] action [sic] entered its first or second day in a row.

No, joking aside, it really is a major fucking inconvenience to a car owner like yours truly when the entire city he calls home is declared a 40km/h zone following sightings of escapees from the local Schoological Park, or ‘schoo.’ One thing climate crusades and children’s crusades have in common is that I can’t help feeling sorry for the participants, which forces me to brake. And when these two demographics come together in a perfect storm of pitifulness, I can’t even bring myself to inch forward from the braked position, gently ploughing the sea of future-humanity aside, as is my tactic of choice on such social-history-making days.

For a recovering believer like this author, today’s traffic was exactly the kind of stressor (which is how us overeducated types spell the word “stress”) that’s been proven to trigger relapses of Wishing Someone Would Do Something About It, where ‘it’ equals carbon, pollution, dioxide, overpopulation, ocean schweppervescence, dangerously low infant mortality rates, time since last hit, or similar object of jonesing.

With my very dignity thus at stake, I knew I had to find a distractor quick-smart. (If I’d wasted less of my life at university a mere distraction might have worked, as it does for regular folk.) A list of the top 2,500 porn bookmarks on my iPhone would be of little interest to CliScep readers, I’m sure, but during my refractory periods I did manage to fire off a letter to the local Communist gazette. Whether the Sydney Morning Herald’s subscribers ever get to see it is, however, another, more doubtful thing, so I might as well paste it hereunder. This is for entertainment purposes only, you understand; you’ll have to forgive the five or six concessions I’ve made to non-scientific, climate-innocent English.

Dear Sir,

I may not believe in the science, but I’ll defend to the death the right of semi-educated teenagers to skip Maths, History and Science in order to raise much-needed awareness of their opinions about adiabatic lapse rates, black-body radiation physics, proxy validity in paleoclimate reconstructions, and the countless other domains of knowledge required for the formation of a scientifically-literate stance on global warming.

More power to them. If I were young and naïve enough to mistake an IPCC report for a scientific paper, I imagine I’d also feel an ethical responsibility to decry government inaction on behalf of the planet I was about to inherit.

If the PM wants to blame someone for today’s civil strife, he should confine his criticism to the education system itself. It’s an open secret that teachers of everything from English to Religious Studies use An Inconvenient Truth as an electronic babysitter. Teaching is the hardest and most thankless profession in the world, but if you’re struggling to come up with a lesson plan, how about devoting a couple of periods to critical thinking skills and skepticism?

Yours faithfully,

[my real name]

[my address]

[where my kids go to school]

[my daily jogging route]


* Of course, the only cities we have in Australia are capital cities, for which you can blame our cathedral-wary Founding Farmers. The pleonasm was strictly for the benefit of international readers.

26 thoughts on “Excuses, excuses

  1. Thanks. I didn’t know about that. I skip everything in the Canberra/Washington Guardian about politicians I’ve never heard of, so you can’t expect me to make a sensible comment on your piece. You should have explained that the SMH is the Sydney Morning Herald, though. And maybe added a lexicon for humans. I’m ok with “adiabatic” – it’s a common un-pc slang term round here too – but not “bludge.”

    Now bludge has disappeared. Or was it my imagination?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Now bludge has disappeared. Or was it my imagination?”

    Dunno about was, Geoff, but it has been your imagination.

    I will grudgingly decrypt the initials of NSW’s paper of record.

    But a lexicon? A clef? A glossary? A Brad-Human decoder ring?

    To quote Kant/Heidegger/Morgenbesser, on being informed that his freshman class ‘Sophomoric Apocrypha’ had reached double-figure enrolment:

    I will not lecture to the masses!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bludge
    verb (intrans)
    to veg

    Exemplar sentences:
    He bludged yesterday.
    I will bludge tomorrow.
    She had obviously bludged the answers off of a mate but.
    “Are you bludging,” he asked, “or are you free to spend precious time revealing the meaning of a quotidian and self-explanatory term for pursuing Australia’s national pastime, preferably with the aid of sentences from the corpus to clarify its already-crystal-obvious usage praeter necessitatem?”

    Like

  4. Anyone got a spare English-Stryne dictionary I could borrow? Mine has just corrupted itself (with extreme prejudice).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alan, I’m always happy to help a reader native to England read at, or near, the proficiency of a native English reader. What’s challenging you today, guv?

    Like

  6. All right I’m going out for dinner. The missus is an honest woman and I’ve grown to like her as if she were me own mob, but srsly, her spag bol grows fulsome after the umpteenth night in a row. So Chunder’s it is.

    Do you guys have North Indian cuisine in the UK? If not, I strongly suggest expediting the visas of Aryan—and Dravidian while you’re at it—applicants and enriching your culture with the erstwhile subjects of your tausendjähriges Raj. They can
    1. cook
    and
    2. do mediciny stuff
    like you wouldn’t believe.

    Like

  7. Do you sometimes conclude that Brad inhabits a world of his own that sometimes, without purpose, blunders into our own? And that the only links that keep us together are Professors Oreskes and Lowenthingy? This fiction that he inhabits the great land of Oz – I ask you is it feasible that he lives in that great turnip field wherein Beth the Serf toils?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beth, not to freak you out or anything, but I’m a bit like a Fifty Million Climate Refugee—I’ve been in continual existence, undetected by the human authorities, since 2010. I don’t know your address, but that said, I’m probably in your house right now for all I know. Alan’s meandering metaphysical peripetica are stumbling closer to the truth than they ever realize, in their inebriation. Any closer and someone, not Brad to be sure, may find it necessary to fill out an Application to Abduct.

    Like

  9. I have noted a very strong correlation between someone contributing a pingback and the near imminent demise of that post.
    Here pingi, pingi

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Rest assured: yes, with such a powerful voice comes a keen knowledge of the debt I owe your children, and your children’s children,…

    “I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not for our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex.”

    – Jack Handey

    Liked by 2 people

  11. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bludge

    Did You Know?
    Though they can be annoying, people who bludge – bludgers – are relatively harmless. On the other hand, a bully armed with a bludgeon – a bludgeoner – can cause serious harm. In the 19th century, bludgeoner was shortened to bludger and used as a slang word for “pimp.” That bludger was certainly a kind of bully, one apparently willing to wield a bludgeon now and then to insure his livelihood. In the early 20th century, bludge became the verb for what a bludger does. By then, a somewhat softened bludger had appeared in Australia and New Zealand: the pimping and the bullying were eliminated, and the parasitical tendencies reduced to mere cadging or sponging.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Are all the classic fears of Aussi children really associated with toilets? DUNNY snakes, CLOSETed razor-murderers. How quaint.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey, Alan,

    No one’s playin’ two up but trickery,
    say, that’s deep in the human psyche,
    Mann-ic AL Gorithms, Oreskes /
    Lewyndowski fake surveys,
    way back thro’ history’s chequered
    history of broken promises and
    double dealings…Trust but verify?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Was it that mythical farm, bigger than Texas, that Americans bought and split up? Now that would have been lonely!

    Like

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