The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Come as You Are, or you think you should be

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When I told several Sydney-based friends I would be living in Newtown when I arrived in the New South Wales capital, they gave verbatim responses about how I would find it.
 
“Newtown’s pretty out there,” one told me as I packed up my life in south-west Queensland.
“It’s different but I think you’re gonna fit right in.”
 
I wasn’t sure how to take the comment at the time, but ever since my maiden stroll down King Street almost three weeks ago, it now makes sense: Newtown is a place you really can come as you are.
 
In 1992, I was an angst-ridden, overachieving 11-year-old. Like thousands of others, I honestly believed a subdued Kurt Cobain was singing about my life when he slurred the lyrics of “Come as You Are”. At the time, I thought it was my personalised theme song. I was wrong. The song is a musical tribute to the inner-west suburb in which I currently reside.
 
At a cursory glance, Newtown strikes you as a place where downtrodden creative types come to escape the judging stare of the real world. In the past week alone, I’ve spoken to two unemployed journalists, a musician preparing to busk her way to dinner and a dishevelled, 50-something writer who has been working on a manuscript since 2002. Everyone here has a story, from the well-dressed corporate type frantically hailing a bus, to the barefoot bohemian couple who seem to be celebrating a 46-year Summer of Love as they walk their Labrador.

image

In Newtown, even graffiti is attempting to discover itself.

It doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress or how oddly you behave here – the grand Lady Newtown has seen it all before on her bustling main thoroughfares and narrow, terrace-lined backstreets. She won’t judge you and, because of her unique allure, neither will the people who call her ample, culture-filled bosom home. If you don’t believe me, just ask the bearded, tutu-wearing guy who was sobbing hysterically on King Street last Saturday.
 
Even the non-human aspect of Newtown is a multifarious mix of calm and chaos. As I write this from the relative silence of my courtyard, it’s hard to believe the lights, sounds and manic pace of Enmore Road are only 200 metres from here. Only the constant, near-deafening whine of descending planes overhead reminds me I’m sharing a city with almost five million people.
 
To me, it’s Newtown’s ability to offer both solitude and a strange sense of community and belonging that makes it so appealing. You can walk along the street wearing flippers and a tin-foil hat if you want to, safe in the knowledge you’ll retain relative anonymity.
 
Despite offering an eclectic range of cafes, restaurants and stores, as well as a vibrant lifestyle that is probably unmatched anywhere else in Sydney, the real lure of this historic suburb is that it provides a venue for people from every corner of the globe to listen to Cobain sing their personal theme song.
 
Within the invisible, council-determined boundaries of Newtown, you can be anyone you want to be, even if you aren’t sure who that is.
 
Just don’t try to be anyone you know you aren’t. If you do, the eccentric, welcoming old dame will eat you alive.

Hallmark cards, shopping fear and a TDoT dose of Christmas cheer

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If the lovely people at Hallmark are to be believed, Christmas is a time for giving, indulging and sending out vibes of goodwill towards all men, women and house-trained animals.

The reality of the festive season could not be further from the clichés, corny poems and pictures of goofy-looking reindeer the marketing gurus expect us to embrace every December.

Cheesy cards are the reason disillusioned people are stressed and angry by December 25.  Source: hallmarkcards.com.au

Cheesy cards are the reason disillusioned people are stressed and angry by December 25. Source: hallmarkcards.com.au

While the David Jones catalogues and Coles billboards depict well-dressed shoppers with Joker-esque grins peacefully perusing the aisles, apocalyptic scenes are playing out on the ground.

Is there a get-your-fucking-hands-off-that-last-trampoline-before-I-lose-my-cool card?

It’s all well and good to espouse the spirit of season but the fact is all textbook theory about appropriate Christmas behaviour takes a back seat to retail guerrilla warfare in the lead-up to December 25.

Those who doubt me should have been in the Townsville bottle shop I happened to be in at midday.

As I was filling my trolley with enough vodka and cider to anaesthetise a three-year-old gelding, I witnessed two women swap the Christmas spirit for a verbal stoush over spirits.

Basically, the second woman – let’s call her Little Miss Swear Jar – objected to the first woman – who we’ll call Mrs Three Bottles – taking what appeared to be the last three bottles of an unidentified dark rum off the shelf, even though the former obviously wanted to buy one of them.

Unfortunately, it was at this stage Little Miss Swear Jar forgot all about those warm Christmas card messages and launched into a tirade that would have made both elves and seasoned sailors blush.

Bearing in mind that I made a beeline for the opposite side of the store when the argument started, I’m pretty confident it went something like this:

Little Miss Swear Jar: You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ me.
Mrs Three Bottles: What?
Little Miss Swear Jar: Why the fuck are you takin’ all of them?
Mrs Three Bottles: We’re having a party and I need three bottles.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck off. Everyone’s having a party tomorrow. Give me one of those fuckin’ bottles.
Mrs Three Bottles: Get fucked.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck you, moll. You’re ruining my Christmas* and you can go and get fucked right up.

* Author’s note: Apparently, spirits really do maketh the occasion.

What were those morons at Hallmark saying about goodwill and compassion towards our fellow man?

After witnessing what should have been a pay-per-view event, I left the bottle shop thinking the advertising boffins should forgo the soft, heartfelt approach to Christmas marketing and focus instead on promoting a range of retail rage cards and light battle armour.

It could be worse. He could be snorting cocaine and texting strippers while having his photo taken with your child.  Source: news.com.au

It could be worse. He could be snorting cocaine and texting strippers while having his photo taken with your child. Source: news.com.au

In 2012, it seems the key to Christmas is just surviving the supermarket skirmish.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a fantastic festive season and stay safe while enjoying the company of friends and loved ones.

I’ve got a strong feeling my name will turn up in Santa Claus’ naughty book this year but the fact you guys and girls –this blog’s raison d’être – keep coming back day after day negates the lump of coal that will be stuffed into my stocking* hours from now.

* Author’s note: This is not a euphemism.

When Campbell dives and dinosaurs come alive

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In theory, the individuals we elect to represent us at a political level should be the cream of the crop.

Lamentably, somebody forgot to inform the Newman government of this fact.

What we currently have governing Queensland is a collection of Christmas geese, turkeys and those wind-up toy monkeys that clap cymbals together.

As 2012 draws to a conclusion, voters in Queensland seem to be realising that the goose has been overcooked, the turkey is a touch on the dry side and that the toy monkey is just a cheap, annoying novelty.

Following its landslide victory in the March election, the Liberal National Party held 78 seats in Parliament and took a stranglehold on politics in the Sunshine State.

After only eight months with Campbell Newman at the helm, things have gone decidedly pear-shaped.

While this is satirical, it also appears to be factual.  Source: greenleft.org.au

While this is satirical, it also appears to be factual. Source: greenleft.org.au

Former ministers David Gibson and Bruce Flegg fell on their swords in controversial circumstances, while the stench of nepotism surrounding the appointment of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Minister Ros Bates’ 25-year-old son to a senior AO8 public service job is nothing short of rancid.

When you throw Health Minister Lawrence Springborg’s apparent reluctance to admit that he – not the health boards – is ultimately responsible for health delivery in Queensland into the mix, it’s hard not to feel short-changed as a voter.

Things don’t get any better as you move up the LNP food chain.

The Premier rules the roost with a seemingly dictatorial attitude to democracy and has demonstrated his predilection to move swiftly against those who question the state of affairs.

Don't confuse him with questions about democracy and Clive Palmer.  Source: heraldsun.com.au

Don’t confuse him with questions about democracy and Clive Palmer. Source: heraldsun.com.au

Any lingering doubt about the internal dissent towards party decisions should have dissipated after Member for Condamine Ray Hopper defected to Katter’s Australian Party, and Carl Judge and Alex Dawson were read the riot act before being given no option but to exit stage right.

Even mining magnate-cum-conspiracy theorist Clive Palmer – a man who has poured some serious money into the LNP coffers – has spoken out about the apparent turmoil, swapping his life membership for rumours of starting a political party of his own.

Titanic II jokes aside, the rats seem to be deserting the political disaster that is the Newman government.

When he's not talking about robotic dinosaurs and the Titanic II, Clive Palmer almost sounds rational. Almost.  Source: smh.com.au

When he’s not talking about robotic dinosaurs and the Titanic II, Clive Palmer almost sounds rational. Almost. Source: smh.com.au

If the current rate of attrition continues, the 78 seats the LNP held in March will be whittled away to about 64 by the 2015 election.

Queensland deserves a better level of governance than it is currently enduring.

You and I deserve better from the people we elect to represent us.

Is it conceivable that our state’s political saviour could materialise in the form of an eccentric billionaire with a penchant for dinosaurs and blueprints for a big ship?

Ifs, Buts and Political Peanuts: Why Salted Legumes Cost More in Canberra

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The last time I went to a circus, I was in Brisbane and paid about $75 for my ticket.

My most recent visit to a zoo was while visiting Perth and, from memory, the privilege cost me somewhere in the vicinity of $20.

Why does it cost so much more to watch dancing bears, juggling clowns and those dopey-looking penguins when the show’s in Canberra?

When you consider what we pay our Federal politicians to carry on like petulant children, it’s easy to see why so many people become disillusioned and why our elected officials rate somewhere between journalists, used car salespeople and serial killers on the scale of professional trust.

“I know the answer to that!” Source: theage.com.au

Prime Minister Julia Gillard hasn’t been able to use any words other than sexist, misogynist and offended this week.

For that, Australians paid almost half a million dollars.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott achieved the seemingly impossible and sunk lower than broadcaster Alan Jones when he slipped the old “died of shame” nugget into a speech during question time.

That will be about $350,000, thank you very much.

Yes, we elected this man. No, I’m not joking. I wish I was. Source: thepunch.com.au

You have to feel sorry for Peter Slipper, the disgraced former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

When Mr Slipper fell on his controversy-plagued sword on Tuesday night, he took a pay cut of more than $140,000.

Hopefully, he won’t struggle too much on his adjusted annual salary of a touch under $200,000.

Am I the only one who feels like we are currently getting short-changed on the Federal political front?

We need the best people representing us – being our voice – in Federal Parliament and I am all for paying top dollar to attract them, especially when you take into account the salaries individuals of that calibre would command in the private sector.

What we are presently seeing and reading about day after day in Canberra suggests that, in many instances, we have fallen well short in identifying the best candidates when we went to the polls in 2010.

There’s an old idiom that suggests if you pay peanuts, you will find yourself surrounded by monkeys.

Yeah, he’s worth $200,000 every year. I hope he’s not dreaming of text messages. Source: thepunch.com.au

Unfortunately, the peanuts the Australian public are feeding the current residents of Parliament Zoo cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per bag.

Worse still, once you have purchased a bag of the exorbitantly-priced legumes and realise it was too much to spend on the political animals performing behind the smudged glass, you can’t get a refund for three years.

If our Federal politicians continue to carry on like angry five-year-old chimpanzees, I for one will be advocating covering our nation’s capital in Nobby’s nuts.

Five things you always wanted to know about Twitter but were afraid to ask

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Twitter. It’s enough to reduce grown men and women to blithering messes, and send those with a passion for grammar and correct spelling to the back of a dark cupboard to cradle themselves in a foetal position.

Given there are now more than 500 million Twitter users globally, I thought it was an opportune time to answer five questions new Twits have about the micro-blogging phenomenon but are generally afraid to ask for fear of being laughed at or mockingly retweeted. 

I admit it. I’m a filthy Twitter whore. But I use my hashtags sparingly. Source: blog.socialmaximizer.com

1. What should I tweet about?

Ah, the timeless question. I’m reasonably confident there was once a time when people would only tweet news, information and the odd filthy limerick. In 2012, Twitter has unravelled to the point where, as long as it doesn’t take up more than 140 characters, people don’t give a fuck what they tweet about. Unfortunately, that includes random sentences about what they are doing and excessive use of the #catsofinstagram hashtag.

As somebody – possibly the old dying guy in Spider-Man – once said, “With 140 characters comes great responsibility.” That responsibility involves not subjecting the Twitterverse to your lunch options. Or what your favourite moggie is doing every 39 seconds of the day, even if Fluffy happens to be writing a haiku on the wall while smoking a pipe.

2. What the hell do RT and MT mean?

Strictly speaking, RT stands for retweet, where you do nothing more than share someone else’s tweet with your followers. MT refers to a modified tweet, which involves shortening a tweet and adding your own witty or earth-shattering commentary before sending it back out into the Twitterverse.

For me, constant retweeting is the calling card of the sheeple. Or the sign of a labrador who is chewing on their owner’s iPhone. Sure, every Twitter user – including yours truly – retweets from time to time but if you stumble across a user who is all about the retweet, block them and retreat to Facebook to regain your composure.

While a modified tweet has the potential to combine personal opinion, news and information, many Twits well and truly miss the mark. Witnessing somebody adding “LOL” or “that’s so true” to a tweet makes me weep for humanity.

3. Why does that boring person have so many more followers than I do?

The simple answer to this question is the Sheeple Principle. What the hell is that, you ask? I’m not going to explain it again, so clicking here will bring you up to speed.

After an in-depth study* of Twitter, I’ve determined you should tweet prolifically about the subjects below if you are aiming to gather as many followers as Kim Kardashian has unsubtle endorsement deals.

1. Any band, musician or celebrity that makes a sane person cringe at just the mere mention of their name. Examples? Think One Direction, Justin Bieber or any flavour-of-the-month reality television star.
2. LOLcats.
3. Political retweets. For some reason, there are several Twits – who aren’t actually political journalists or commentators of note – who have accumulated thousands of followers because they apparently have the unique ability to press the retweet button. Just like 377,503,201 other Twitter users. Want to boost your numbers overnight? Just retweet everything @JuliaGillard and @BarackObama release into the Twitterverse.

* Author’s note: I looked at about seven random profiles. Hey, I was busy.

Yes, I’m kind of embarrassed about including a LOLcat animation. What the hell have I become? Source: lolcats.com

4. Is it okay to abbreviate words and essentially make up my own language in order to keep under the 140-character limit?

No, it is FKN not K 2 make wrds up & abbrv shit so U can make ur own version of War & Peace fit into 140 chrctrs. Poor form, a-hole.

Basically, if you can’t say it in 140 characters, find another way to say it. Better yet, if you are Alan Jones or Cory Barnardi, just don’t say it at all.

I lost followers for tweeting this, yet the Twit who shares a photo of their cat with its head in a jar will gain at least 407. Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

5. How many hashtags I should use per tweet?

The only thing worse than being a Twitter whore is people calling you a hashtag whore. How you use hashtags speaks volumes about you as a Twit and you don’t want to get a reputation as someone who flashes their hashtags around for the world to see, especially after a few drinks.

Generally speaking, two hashtags per tweet is perfectly acceptable. 22 is neither acceptable nor healthy.

Now that your embarrassing questions have been answered, you have no legitimate excuse for making a fool of yourself on Twitter. That said, I have no doubt you will.

A simple, scientific look at #socialmedia and the rise of the sheeple

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This will be the shortest, most mind-numbingly boring post you will ever see on this blog but it doesn’t matter, because the point of it isn’t to entertain.

The point of it is to test a theory that social media is turning many of us into sheep who will like or follow something just because they are told to, or because “everybody else is doing it”.

As much as the part of me that loves Nineteen Eighty-Four, intellectual debate and music on vinyl doesn’t want to believe it’s true, the rational part of me has seen enough evidence to suggest sheeple are about to take over the world.

If we’ve progressed to the point as an electronic-based society where we do things just because we are told to, we really are screwed.

Here’s how we’re going to test my sheeple theory:

1. I’m going to provide the links to both The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page and my Twitter account below.
2. Then I’m going to tell you I’m fucking awesome and possibly the smartest – and funniest – human being on the planet, and that all the popular kids are following my musings.
3. At this stage, I’m going to tell you to follow me because, if you don’t, the universe will ostracise you as you disappear into a black hole of social media oblivion.
4. This is the point where the sheeple will pick up their smartphones or iPad and click the follow button simply because I said to, without giving a moment’s thought as to why they are doing so. It’s also the point where the anti-sheeples* will consider whether they want to follow a vodka-swilling lunatic or flee terrified from cyberspace.
5. Step five is where the anti-sheeples who decided to follow me will do so, even if it’s just to make them feel a little more normal about their own eccentricities. But, in order to prove my theory, I want the anti-sheeples to also leave a brief comment on this post as to why they followed me, so I can compare the number of new sheeple v anti-sheeple followers.

* Author’s note: If this isn’t real thing, it soon will be.

In all honesty, I’m expecting to gain more followers than I am comments, because it doesn’t take any time or independent thought to be a sheeple. If that turns out to be the cases, the anti-sheeples should kiss their loved ones goodbye and head directly to their Judgment Day shelters to wait out the reign of monosyllabic stupidity. If my calculations are correct, it should only last about 147 years.

If you have an aversion to 140-character bursts of communication and refuse to become a Twitter whore, you can always like The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page.

Either way, please don’t be a sheeple.

Written by disseminatedthought

September 26, 2012 at 12:19

Ridic-tionary dilemmas: why laughter and vagina glitter prove society is screwed

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I’m sorry, but I’m not lolz-ing.

The Oxford University Press announced the latest inclusions to Oxford Dictionaries Online this week, some of which defy logic.

I used to enjoy perusing the quarterly updates of “current English” but now, the three-monthly read leaves me with a numbness in my special place and a strong desire to stick my head into an oven.

How the hell does formally acknowledging nonsensical words – or in the case of “mwahahaha”, a stupidity-inducing sound – as part of our lexicon make us a more evolved society?

If anything, recognising words like “douche” and “photobomb” demonstrates humanity is now officially catering to the lowest common denominator.

It’s almost as if we’ve waved the white flag and submitted to an army of faceless, iPod-toting, monosyllabic overlords who communicate with grunts , fist bumps and group hugs.

In a nutshell, it’s fucking ridic.

There was a time when people would consult a dictionary to become smarter. Source: flcenterlitarts.wordpress.com

If an alien race was to attack the earth tomorrow – which would be a pretty douchey thing to do – the first laser-wielding ET wannabes to hear us communicate could be forgiven for assuming the zombies had already eaten our brains.

When I discussed the list of latest inclusions with a friend, they played the “our language is dynamic and ever-evolving” card.

Until they reached the word on the list that pays homage to genitals that resemble rhinestone-emblazoned disco jackets.

Ladies and gentlemen, could you please stand and put your hands together for “vajazzle”.

Mankind has not only conquered space, it has also made room in Oxford Dictionaries Online for a verb that means to “adorn the pubic area (of a woman) with crystals, glitter, or other decoration”.

I feel like I’ve woken up after sleeping for 20 years to find out Kim Kardashian is the president of the world.

Despite my friend being more than 1000 kilometres away and on the end of a scratchy mobile phone connection, I could pinpoint the exact moment when their eyes locked onto the word that describes genital crystals.

If you ever want to pull out a lay-down misere on somebody’s argument about how the current evolution of our language is a good thing, show them an Oxford University Press reference to pussy glitter.

While the vodka-loving boozehound in me approves of “dirty martini” getting recognition, the inclusion of “vote” – as in a specific reference to reality television – saddens me and reinforces my belief that humanity has pushed boldly past the point of being astronomically fucked.

It can’t be long now until Skynet becomes self-aware and the living dead commence their attack.

The moment you see “ROFLMAO” in a dictionary is the very instant you should descend into your Judgement Day bunker and wait for the language-destroying hoi polloi to succumb to our zombie masters.

For all those Twitter users who have a yearning to become one of my tweeps, clicking the button below will unleash the 140-character lunacy.