Friday, 9 January 2015

Ooh, ooh, my ears are alight…

True satire is not just posturing, in a cosily collusive middle-class milieu, as “anti-establishment”. It is freedom laughing in the face of tyranny. That takes courage of an order demonstrated by the assassinated journalists at Charlie Hebdo, whose slain editor simply stated that he would rather die than “live like a rat”.
– Hugh Hetherington: The Guardian

Free speech comes at a price; it even costs human lives. The bottom line for an open and free democracy seems to me to be that I have to accept that someone, somewhere, sooner or later, will say something that offends me. But I have to live with my feelings, and not assuage them in any violent way at all. In fact, we can all have a “right” to cause offence, if we do not also demand the “right” to take offence too. It is likely that some of those who reject this principle, whatever their religion, or lack of it, will continue to make martyrs of those who practise it.
– Fr Alec Mitchell: The Guardian

Editor’s note
This morning, I received an email purporting to be from a certain Charlie Tyso, and his esteemed colleague Xavier O’Duss. I here quote it in full, for your edification and, I hope, amusement…

And it came to pass on the third day in the evening, at the seventh hour, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick clod upon the hill, and the voice of the strumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that were in the House of Words trembled. And Supposes brought forth the people out of the House to meet with the Great Lord Sod, who must be obeyed in all things; and they stood at the nether part of the hill, in the Parish of Tysoe. And the Hill of Tysoe was altogether in a smoke, because the Great Lord descended from His moated mansion upon it in a rusting diesel 4x4: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a fire of damp, unseasoned logs, and the whole hill quaked greatly.

And when the voice of the strumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Supposes spake, and Sod answered him by an angry voice. And the Great Lord Sod graced the mass of people with his almighty presence, coming down upon the Hill of Tysoe, on the top of the hill; and the Great Lord cast his shadow over Supposes and summoned him up to the top of the hill; and Supposes went up. And for Supposes there was much going up, and much going down: because the Great Lord is obeyed in all His contrivances.

And the Great Lord said unto Supposes, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the True Plan to gaze on its reality, and many of them get pissed off thusly: Give them in its stead this Tablet of Sand, which showeth well my Word and its Meaning, even though it appeareth as the Word of Supposes, all guised as the Law of the Land: And let the parish priests also, which dare to approach near to the Great Lord, pacify themselves, lest the Great Lord break forth wind upon them. And Supposes said unto the Great Lord, The poor mass of people, thy humble and obedient servants, cannot come up to the Hill of Tysoe: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the hill, and protect it from wind power.

And the Great Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and thy servants; those who trade with thee: the candlestick-maker, who stands high with his candles but sheds but little light; and the baker, who produceth humble pies of puff pastry and filled with fluff. But let not the parish priests and the mass of people break through to come up unto the Great Lord, lest it be to dance at His bidding of a summer’s day in the grounds of his moated mansion. So Supposes went down unto the people, and waffled unto them. And they considered that they saw much light in his endless words; and believed those words bright, and gave much praise: although, verily, the words were dull and hollow to their simple minds.

And Sod spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy Sod, who knoweth everything, which have brought thee out of the land of Braveheart, out of the house of porridge, and into the mire at the foot of the hill, where floods and pestilence cometh at my whim. Thou shalt have no other Lords before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven bloggage, or any criticism of any thing that is in the Tablet above, or that is in the footnotes beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (even when it rises above the earth): Thou shalt not bow down thyself to mine enemy of mine own making that is Braveheart, nor serve the critic that is but Bardolatry, nor yet even the parish priests: For I the Lord thy Sod am a jealous Sod, visiting the iniquity of all that is written in the Tablet of Sand upon the common mass of people unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing insincerity unto the two or three of them that can abide me, and keep my suggestions.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy Sod in vain; for the Great Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. Remember the Tablet of Sand, to keep all that is written therein holey, for it ticketh all the boxes that be in the land: And disavow all that might be espied within any True Plan, lest it bear the false witness of base common people. Six months shalt thou cheweth upon the Tablet of Sand, and be all thy flummoxed at its meaning: But the seventh month is the Referendum of the Great Lord: In it thou shalt not vote “No”, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; nor thy badger: For in six months the Great Lord manufactureth great policies and rules, through His servant Supposes, as the Tablet of Sand, and all that in it is (and then buggered off to the pub in his 4x4: wherefore the Great Lord blessed the pub, and drained it dry as the sand from which the Tablet was made).

Honour thy compost bin and thy rainwater butt: that thy days may be long upon the New Tysoe which the Great Lord giveth thee, and all the lands therein which He shall order according to His Word that is a fathomless Algorithm. Thou shalt not question. Thou shalt not commit bloggery. Thou shalt not oppose. Thou shalt not bear witness against the Tablet of Sand. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s ironstone cottage. Thou shalt not query thy Supposes’ spreadsheets, nor his solar panels, nor his checklists, nor his calculations, nor his assets, nor any thing that is thy Supposes’, or his servants the candlestick-maker and the baker and all that they serve and that serve unto them. Thy shalt build thy noddy-houses out of stone, and render them identical, as unto ticky-tacky, and exceeding ugly unto the eyes of the Bard.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the strumpet, and the hill smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Supposes, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not the Great Lord Sod speak bollocks with us, lest we perish of tedium. And Supposes said unto the people, Fear not: for Sod is come to prove to you the Tablet of Sand is great, and that His fear of censure may be wiped from your trembling faces, that ye oppose not. And the people stood afar off, and Supposes drew near unto the thick darkness where the Great Lord was. And the Great Lord saw that it was good, and saw that the Bravehearts and Bards that slithered upon the face of the earth were as fork-tongued serpents: creatures crafted by the very claws of Beelzebub.

But, lo, even as he understandeth them not, the Great Lord thought mightily that he could smite them from the height of His New Tysoe which bore the yester imprint of His great boot; and trample the serpents’ tongues before and beneath. But he was mistaken sorely. For, verily I say unto thee, he had no true power within or without, except that which the mass of people could remove from him in the twinkling of an iPhone, obliterating the very ground beneath His boot. And the serpents’ words were not as He opined; nor even were they serpents, but mere twine; and their words mere leaves of multitudinous colours, blowing in the winter wind. And when they saw this, the people trembled, and quaked, and spoke many tongues of Babel and Stratfordonavondistrictcouncil.

And then the people, renewed with great hope, girded their loins with vast mornings of coffee, dunkings of biscuit, ravings of music, and growing rumblings of mutiny throughout the parish and in all the places thereof that were increasingly hidden from the Great Lord. And thence the people saw a yet brighter light and rose up with joy, and with it manufactured the True Plan.
At this, the Great Lord raged, giving off a furious roaring as big as to a whining mouse. But the people and the parish priests had grown deaf and blind to the Great Lord Sod. And when the people looketh past the smoke, and behind the glass of looking, that kept shrouded so much and yet so little, the Great Lord was no more to be set eyes upon, verily nevermore, until the end of time. And, in the place of the Tablet of Sand, which crumbleth and vanisheth as it shifteth and moveth with the desert wind, came forth the True Plan which they had made, and bound with the golden twines of Veracity and Desire. And it was good; and truly had concrete meaning unto them all, and even to their neighbours, and the strangers within the parish and without. And the mass of people rejoiced greatly for seven days and seven nights; and went forth sustainably: lo, unto the fifth generation, and the sixth, and for evermore.

Here endeth the lesson. Clays be to Sod. Amen.

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