Another Dark Little Corner
Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.
There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought. Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]
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Preditors and Editors
Everything you wanted to know about literary agents
On the getting of agents
(and my Wish List)
The modern Trojan Horse
Though people are objecting to particular examples of how this "Free Trade
Agreement" may affect us badly, I'd ask us to look at the ideology at its
base. This Trojan horse provides a legal way to lock us into an extreme
economic kind of fundamentalism. The same as in a world trade agreement
rejected a year or two ago.
The ideology also affects any government or charitable ("non-profit")
regulation or involvement in almost any part of society, including public
schools, hospitals, heritage, arts, the environment & natural resources or
national parks, even parts of defence, and calls it "unfair" or "subsidies".
Eventually things like the Trade Practices Act, and many other legal
protections for the land & the people (PBS, OH & S, etc) are struck down as
It says that the basis of society and democracy, particularly the Australian
version*, is wrong. That public good and public service should only ever be
a by-product of the drive to private profit; that the "best and highest" use
of human effort and intelligence is to serve that aim, not to improve the
world, express humanity, or whatever.
Any improvement or service provided in order to make money is to be the least
possible, produced as cheaply as possible - whatever this means for your
staff, your providers or the natural resources you use - for the highest
possible price (called "efficiency" and "productivity"). This, for example,
drives farmers to poor long-term land management to meet short-term price &
supply demands from a buyer with the whip-hand, a situation common in Third
Another example will be the future history of NRMA, originally set up as a
community based, though private, non-profit service-provider. Most of its
recent troubles have been conflict over changing from that to this other
basis of operation.
The costs - human, social, environmental - may be dumped on whatever
poorly-funded government services are left, or in an ironic twist, also used
as a source of profit, say by setting up a services company to bid for tax
money provided (because government responds to public pressure) to help with
the damage, as government services are cut, corporatised or privatised to
follow the managerial ideology.
Representative government and accountability are, like following the letter
of the law, perhaps necessary evils, but to be used as sparingly as
absolutely necessary. Law-makers should be lobbied &/or "donated" to, to
make the laws, including tax, as favourable as possible.
It is better to pay this, or lawyers, public relations firms and advertisers
to give an impression of a "good company" than pay the same money on *being*
a "good company". That might set an expensive precedent, and not be noticed
by consumers who would prefer to use a "good company". Sponsorship should
similarly be not just tax deductible, so tax money is either paying much of
it or reduced by that amount so public services are disadvantaged, but the
splashiest for the money, not necessarily applied in the most useful way, or
to the neediest cause. (Sally's "spin doctors" will confirm this, but use
language to justify it).
Don't let people tell you "it's inevitable". So was the Thousand Year Reich,
so was the Divine Right of Kings, and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
They say that because they want you to believe it & give up. They say: "Don't
ask 'Who moved my cheese, and who has it now?' "; just accept it & adapt.
But remember evil can only triumph when good people do nothing.
It's taken between 500 and 1000 years of struggle to get a legally-bound and
legally-removable ruler, representative government with voting rights for all
adults, support for the mentally & physically ill, injured workers & their
families, legal rights for women & ordinary people, and everything that
distinguishes a decent human kind of society from the rule of "strongmen" &
their enforcers - the human equivalent of a baboon troop, ruled by force,
fear & furtiveness. Why prepare to throw away all those blood-bought
lessons? Why knowingly step back down that path when we've seen, over & over,
how destructive & brutal it is?
[* Australian version - A Tale of Three Prison Camps. During the Pacific war
(there's an oxymoronic name), perhaps in Singapore, the Japanese army set up
three camps for prisoners-of-war from British, Australian, then American
forces. They provided better supplies to the officers in each camp. The
British camp kept its distinctions & privileges, with antipathy between
officers & enlisted men; The American camp descended into 'free trade' of
rations, medicine, etc, so that some ended up sick, poor, without help, and
others became "King Rats". In the Australian camp, the officers & men shared
and each helped the other, so the survival rate at the end of the war was
better than the others.
This is the legend, and I'm sure it's simplified, but it points to the best
purpose & moral foundation of Australian society as evolved from the
mid-nineteenth century until about the 1980s, when the "Free Trade" push --
so reviled for many years for things like exporting wheat from Ireland during
the Great Famine, because English markets could pay for it and starving Irish
couldn't -- made a comeback.
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