Quick Quips: A New Year

30/12/2018

As we approach the end of 2018, looking back at all the events in the year, whether personal, national, or global, it’s been interesting to say the least. The new year for me will consist of starting my last year of university (for my current courses), the search for a new job (RIP Sizzler), and… other stuff, I guess. But one thing I know I want to do is dedicate more effort to this little slice of the internet I have. December was (with the exception of September, but I only started in the last days of that month) the quietest month in terms of posting, the majority being shot up in a single day of mild guilt for not having posted much. I could use my trip to New South Wales and the Christmas week as an excuse, but that’s just a weak justification for what was, admittedly, just mere laziness.

If I want this small project to actually mean anything, I need to motivate myself to build something with it. I usually don’t adhere to the whole ‘New Year’s resolution’ stuff, but given it’s a couple of days away it’s a good starting point for a time related goal. My intention is to try and write (at least) one post a day on something, regardless of word count or topic, as long as there’s something. Will I adhere to this? No promises, but I intend to backtrack if I miss a day, e.g. if I fail to post on the 14th of some month, the aim will be two on the 15th. By December 31st next year, in one way or another, the goal will be to have at least 365 posts, and my logic to stick with that is I don’t want to reach December and end up with over 200 posts to write.

As I said, who knows, and it’ll only be me affected if I don’t achieve that. We will see; if I can’t achieve this goal, then my only other hope is to find a place with a reasonably priced and delicious halal snack pack (also RIP that beautiful kebab place that never resurfaced). So, to ye few who attend this site, hopefully the New Year will treat you kindly, and let’s hope 2019 is as eventful as this past year! Come on, I need something to write about! Now for another ‘quick quips’ bit, because that format was pretty fun and I’ve been meaning to do it again.

  • I’ve recently read The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Reading books of philosophy (The Prince is more political science I know, but the two genres complement each other in my mind), combined with drinking weak alcohol, for enjoyment, at the age of 20 and currently unemployed has really hit me this past week. I’ve essentially missed the prime of my life and, as one high school friend pointed out, my only course of action now is to become a rambling fool and question everything as some discount modern philosopher. That wouldn’t be such a bad idea if… I didn’t actually mind the sound of that. Shit.
  • Look, it’s already started – I came to this conclusion after reading those books: “Just as Machiavelli held that your own men, as opposed to another’s or unbound men, are required for the betterment of your kingdom, so too is your own mind, not another’s, required for the betterment of yourself.”
  • Perhaps my favourite quote from Meditations is this one:

“If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.”

 

I find that many of the people I talk to have, comparatively, no knowledge on certain issues that I’ve learned about, so it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that I am a self-taught ‘expert’ on those issues. The idea is laughable though, because realistically I know very little overall, and that’s why I consistently read and learn more. It is also why I am, more often than not, corrected. A harsh realisation at times, to be sure, but better than remaining in ignorance. More on ‘discourse’ in a later post.

  • The Guardian – one of the ‘vanguard’ papers of the ‘left’ – has once more set out to shred Jeremy Corbyn’s reputation. Round one was the farcical allegations of anti-Semitism against the UK’s Labour Party, which had about as much justification as the Royal Commission into the Australian Union movement: just enough to gain traction in ‘trusted’ media, but nowhere near enough for the ensuing smear campaign that ultimately benefited the other side. The Guardian parades itself against Brexit but appears to just be alienating voters from the one Party that might actually make something out of it.
  • All that being said in defence of Corbyn, I tend to agree that his promise to commit to Brexit is stupid. There are absolutely legitimate reasons to be sceptical of the European Union, or the United Nations, such the undemocratic nature of representation or (whether you agree with the laws or not) a lack of sovereignty over one’s own country. Both of these are debates worth having, along with countless others, but dropping out of the EU won’t fix the flaws within the system. What any real leader should be doing is campaigning for reforms from the inside, not throwing a tantrum and still not getting what you want (Conservatives) or using that legitimate justification to awkwardly stumble over an issue that could actually cost the decent party the election (Labour).
  • If Trump can just shut down the border with Mexico at will, why does he need a wall?
  • Explaining this situation to my youngest brother – “The orange guy is blaming the blue people for something the red people have control over while the black (for simplicity, read Latin American) people die”.
  • Trump said he’d own the government shut down and has instead blamed the Democrats. Just as with DACA earlier this year, until the House officially flips, the Republicans still control all three sections of government.
  • I wonder how Trump will explain the fraud and hypocrisy involved in hiring illegal immigrant workers at his golf clubs to his support base? Surely there must be a tipping point, a realisation that the guy blaming immigrant workers for stealing jobs is actually the guy hiring immigrant workers ‘stealing jobs’?
  • Venezuela just got some bombers from Russia that are capable of holding nuclear bombs – a deterrent, perhaps, like North Korea, but that is a non-issue. Those dirty people seeking asylum are a much greater threat!
  • Will I talk more about Australian related topics instead of the US or other global issues? Probably not, our politicians are dolts but all the sex scandals are consensual and quite frankly disturbing, nothing that exciting.
  • On that note, “Fifty Shades of G’day” is definitely one of my favourite quotes of the year.
  • My most read post was, unsurprisingly but embarrassingly, the most clickbait post of them all. I suppose given Andrew Laming’s status as a ‘lefty mashing’ meme it is only fair that he gets more attention on my site than, say, my post addressing the lack of proper education on Aboriginal history and customs.
  • Speaking of Laming, he recently posted vague and blurry pictures of policemen at a beach in Victoria. I think the purpose was to push the whole black crime gang story, but you couldn’t really tell because there was a dose of Labor bashing in the way – given how the Victorian State LNP got wiped out in Victoria, it seems they’ve had to outsource aid to a Federal Queensland MP.
  • It was also promised my area would have the NBN by now, but my place is still averaging 700kb/s download speeds with ADSL2+. Almost like the LNP lied again, and Laming still tries to claim it’s all on schedule.
  • Dutton accused Turnbull of ‘not having a political bone in his body’. Well, at least not his spine, but that’s a rich accusation coming from a guy who lost his attempted leadership coup to that guy and the guy without a brain.
  • While the US will undoubtedly find some other false pretext to remain in Syria, the idea of them withdrawing troops is a double edged sword. It leaves the Kurds in the awkward position of looking to Assad for protection which, if given, will lose the US it’s only kind of stable ‘ally’ in the conflict. While the Kurdish fight for independence and against Turkish oppression is worthwhile, should Assad, and by extension Russia, aid them they’ll surely just be adopted as a puppet state against Turkey and NATO. No right side there, all wrong, but like the rise of ISIS after Obama pulled out of Iraq, there just seems to be a lack of any long term planning (although, one could well argue that it is all part of the plan; endless war indeed).
  • My next read: The Trial by Franz Kafka. I knew Orwellian, and now understand Machiavellian – the next author adjective is Kafkaesque. Just finished Pine Gap by David Rosenberg, a good read about the role Pine Gap plays in Australia. Despite the author’s efforts, I’m still not convinced that I want the NSA to have a base in Australia, but it clears up and reveals a fair amount about the nature of the site itself. Along with his opposition to the invasion of East Timor, the threat to close the site down is another indication that Gough Whitlam was unfairly dismissed with CIA interference. Pure speculation of course, why would the US ever interfere with a democratically elected government to get its own way?
  • Favourite song of the year – The Future by From Ashes to New. Quite possibly my favourite song full stop.
  • Not sure about other areas, but anyone near Brisbane, the Lifeline Bookfest is coming up in mid-January – worthwhile cause and endless rows of books to find!

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