The Null Device

Bread and circuses

Spiky-haired dude with a bozotic name goes on some reality TV show or other and stages a sit-in protest with a sign reading 'FREE TA REFUGEES'. People look away anxiously, as if he had started masturbating in public or ranting excitedly about giant lizards or something, or else raise an uproar about this humorless right-on radical-leftist tosser violating their right to feeling good about being apathetic. Nobody likes a smartarse, you know. Meanwhile, the paper of the elitist inner-city latte-socialist chattering classes decry this as a shameful indictment on Australia, tripping over Godwin's Law in the process:
Rod Cameron, chief executive of the Australian polling organisation ANOP, was quoted recently saying, "Those who think about issues, read the newspapers, discuss events, make up only about 10 per cent of voters." If you are reading this opinion page of a broadsheet metropolitan newspaper, relax. You may count yourself as one of that 10 per cent. But sadly, you are vastly, horrifyingly outnumbered. So was Merlin.

Isn't that the case everywhere? I'd be surprised, for example, if half as many Americans paid attention to the Abu Ghraib scandal as the last episode of Friends.

Discussing the plight of the Jews at tea parties in Nazi Germany would no doubt have produced reactions similar to those we saw on Sunday night; jeers, taunts and entreaties to stop all the depressing talk. "Please, mein herr, sit down. Have some more tea and cake."

The chattering classes on, however, say that that Merlin chap is a "fucking coolsie chat", i.e. a wanker, mostly because of his hair and wardrobe. Meanwhile, you can make your own Merlin sign here, by editing the URL (if you don't know how to do that, then y0re not l33t enough, beeyatch). (via Alex)

There are 10 comments on "Bread and circuses":

Posted by: Richard Tue Jun 15 23:14:35 2004

Apparently in the interview with the Big Brother host (who is apparently a Name these days, though I don't know it) Merlin was berated by her for making her audience think (though I don't know her exact words - this is all second-hand). I wonder whether any of her felt insulted by that.

Posted by: dj http:// Wed Jun 16 00:23:40 2004

Looks like some of the great minds of our century can be found on

Posted by: Graham Wed Jun 16 02:37:54 2004

Interesting, 10 percent also seems to be the proportion of the vote that swings.

Posted by: Richard Wed Jun 16 02:38:16 2004

Damn. "her felt" should have read "they felt", of course.

Mmm. Comment preview. All the kids are doing it these days :)

Posted by: Richard Wed Jun 16 02:39:05 2004

Or even "them felt".

Man, I need a copy editor.

Posted by: Graham Wed Jun 16 02:42:11 2004

By the way, it was actually "FREE TH REFUGEES". The E fell off the sign.

Posted by: acb Wed Jun 16 06:09:57 2004

I realised a while ago that most people don't like to think. This doesn't mean they're stupid or incapable of thinking, just that they consider it to be an unenjoyable exertion. They have to do enough of it at school/work and certainly don't want to be made to do it when they get home and crash in front of the TV.

Posted by: Graham Wed Jun 16 08:53:21 2004

Well, they say you can only concentrate fully for about an hour a day. The rest of the time you're doing your tasks by rote or they don't need quite as intense as concentration.

Posted by: Alex http:// Wed Jun 16 22:52:12 2004

Hmm, that 'Bandwidth provided by' message wasn't there yesterday. Guess they must be getting hammered at the moment. I blame jimmy darcy evan dandy chocker fully depeche-head coolsie web mafiosi like acb.

Posted by: Graham Thu Jun 17 02:34:48 2004

Yeah, the first time I clicked it yesterday there was a message saying that the bandwidth got hammered because of everyone hotlinking it in various phrases in forums and such. People are so stoopid.