13 Sept 1999.
Index of earlier issues - click here.
THE RSI is still a little bit of a problem, so there may yet be further interruptions in the regularity of The Other News.
This week, the RSI continues, so articles will be short. Sorry they are not so bright this week.
(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site. Look at the Index of Earlier issues for a start. There are also some drawings and sheet music.)
I talked about this last week in terms of who we vote for, but I might equally have talked about it in terms of how we are told who to vote for - even to the extent that there may be ten candidates but we will only take two seriously, with maybe a third as market follower. The rest get either no attention or negative attention, and a few people who get labelled as 'oddballs' vote for them.
I was more interested this week in how this is done, and I cannot for the life of me work out how to describe it.
Obviously, we start off with the control freaks of the world, who either by sheer determination or inheritance are in the positions to make the decisions and tell us what to decide to reinforce those decisions, and from then on we need to explore how and why they do this - in a world which is all slightly unstable and unpredicatable in it's behaviour. To a control freak, any predictable behaviour (as long as they are in control) is preferable to any unpredictable behaviour, one must suppose.
So when we find ourselves with a dilemma like a population explosion, as we do now, nature requires us to go to war thereby reducing our numbers whilst civilisation doesn't like us doing this, and we are caught, and it is here that the control freaks, who have already decided what they want, begin to manipulate our perceptions, through television, newspapers, radio, the Internet (which is why they must already be trying to work out how to hijack it), that is, 'the media', to see either that someone is an enemy to be exterminated, or a foreigner who should be 'driven off our native soil', or whatever. In due course, the majority of us go along with whatever is decided because we have been presented with a highly specific picture of what is wrong and what needs to be done, even though the reality may be entirely different. The opposition to what we have been told to decide may well be a far larger number of people, but not having any access to the media (or if they do, so little it has no effect, or - even worse - have their efforts edited to make them appear foolish) are completely powerless.
So far, we have got to 'world leaders', and you may be wondering why I called this article The Corporate Stranglehold. The reason is this. If you leave a country alone politically it will organise itself, not necessarily at all well (but has the chance of doing it well), but 'well' may not suit the needs of large corporations who need their markets - probably ever-expanding markets - and cheap labour forces to expand. Their governments might consider the business prospects big enough to be worth interfering politically for - either in the form of selling arms to the said 'leader', which already brings a profit, or by de-stabilising the existing government, causing civil war and thereby getting the 'right man' into power.
So going on from this point, I suppose it might be reasonable to imagine that most of the strife in this world (that we hear about, which is not by any means all) could be attributed to big corporations.
But even then, it is PR companies who shape our perceptions of it.
(Well, maybe politics).
IF I TALKED ABOUT PARASITES in connection with economics, I would not be surprised if you thought I meant all those people living on Social Security who are such a feature of modern Britain. Even those who are not on Social Security but should be are only not on social security because the rules have been changed to exclude them.
But this is not really the case - I do not mean these poeple. My Concise Oxford Dictionary (about 40 years old) doesn't give a very enlightening description of Parasite, but it is sufficient: a Species that directly nourishes itself off another species. This is not what I was thinking about though. I was thinking about the way our society is constructed - very much like a highly complicated ant-heap. In the ant-heap, the queen (or is it king?) sits there and does nothing whilst the various ranks below work like maniacs to to support her. She has a use, but it is only a single use as far as I can make out. It is to bear the next year's ants. She has no other use, and so if the ants had another way of producing next year's ants she would be purely a parasite.
In human society we have something similar but more complicated. Taking the British model, we have the Queen, who has no particular use in that she does not produce next years population, and in a downward pyramid from this person to the very wide base we have a series of underparasites, all of whom have no tangible product (they manipulate money and claim to be organising things), and under-underparasites until eventually somewhere almost at the bottom we have some people who do the real things of this world, like growing food, nursing, and driving buses, and who, because they are so useful to the rest of us (illogical though it may seem) are the least well looked after - the reason being that there are so many of them available to do the jobs, and so few jobs that they are forced into near slavery to get work. Below this point people are on Social Security, and waiting to become slaves when needed.
Now we come back to the subject of PR. Currently, we believe that the above state of affairs is necessary, but I would like to question it. Is it necessary to have all those parasites supported to such a high standard when we have people who cannot even afford a bed for the night? Why do we believe it is? Do we believe it is because the persons we have been told to elect have manipulated public perceptions to the extent that we believe it is natural, normal and desireable to have such a situation? Have we been led to believe this because governments have failed to find an answer and wish to divert attention from themselves (for we live in a neurotically 'blaming' world) and have therefore spent large amounts of our tax on expensive and flashy PR firms telling us what to think about this.
Not at all long ago, I read a book (I do sometimes, though you might not think so) written shortly after the 'Second World War', covering the subject of propaganda. I can summarise it in very few sentences:
If you tell people the part of truth that you are interested in without telling them the underlying but pertinent bits, they will almost certainly swallow it on a permanent basis, and will probably be perfectly happy to go along with what you have led them to think, even though it may on analysis turn out to be completely irrational.
If you once lose the confidence of your audience they will refuse to believe anything you say, and will in fact automatically assume that anything you say must have been said for dishonest reasons - however right it may seem. (This, in the perception modifying industries, might be used by someone very skillful by telling you the opposite of what they want you to believe!)
Happy thought, isn't it?
This is a recycling site based in London, and offering materials to anybody. The organisation is a charity seeking to link suppliers of surplus materials with users. Especially good for the more ingenious designers amongst us.
The email of the people who run the above site is firstname.lastname@example.org. They are called Creative Supplies. Look them up for more info.
Here's an interesting education site - particularly for those who have young children and are not quite sure what to do to avoid the worst of what`s on offer in the mainstream of education.They are called www.edrev.org.
early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.
There were a few essays that went out with the early Other News as a freestanding item. You can read these by clicking below.
The Soup Designer`s Handbook.
London Journey - a trip from Docklands through Beckenham and back to Docklands.
(Friday Woodworkers are suffering a temporary break due to some of the episodes not having been fully edited at the time of writing. It may take some timne to fix this problem.
(These articles were written in 1988, and were my first attempt at writing. Some people when shown these fell about laughing, some smiled faintly - and some yawned. I thought I was going to write a technical book, but it soon became apparent that I was much more interested in the people than the technology - and that is the main reason there are no drawings - although it might be rather good to do a couple of caricatures sometime.)
Index of Friday Woodorker articles (and a means of access).
We are still redesigning The Other News From England. Noticed the change so far?
There is at least one new article this week, and articles on many subjects in earlier issues (which can be seen by clicking below).
Index of earlier issues.
A READER COMPLAINED that it was not possible to go back more than 6 articles in Gabriele`s area. Regrettably this is because there is no index, and I have not the time to organise one yet. However, for those determined enough to find the early ones, they should be accessible by going to an early Other News and clicking through from it. This will not be fast, but I think will do the job. They started about November 1997 I think.
(I wish someone would make a contribution before I am forced to put in some of my own stuff here).
So new, in fact, that there is nothing there. I want to open a section of this site to be used as a kind of green reference. Ordinary folks usually know what to do in order to be green, but there are times when (a) they don`t know the technology, or (b)they are short of ideas, or (c) they would like to see what some other people think.
So the purpose of this area will be for people to describe to others how they made their own electricity, or saved a great deal of domestic water being wasted, or captured the methane gas from their cesspit, designed their solar bicycle with regenerative braking and portable overnight windcharger, caused plants to grow in a desert, made a solar water pump, etc.
A site for forward-looking people, in fact.
It may be very difficult to edit, but I would like a few articles and tips that are concise, easily understood and ecologically useful. Authors will be named if they so wish. These will be left on the site, and gradually as the number of articles builds up hopefully somebody will construct an index. I won`t volunteer myself, as I have yet to make a subject index for the whole Other News site.
One week carried an article that might be of interest to anybody thinking of taking out an Abbey National mortgage - or those who already have one.
Interestingly, one of the London papers described them as being "among the greediest".
There will soon be a new twist to this story, but I am not sure what it will be until it happens. They are trying to make it as difficult as possible instead of as easy as possible to resolve the present dispute.
(see several weeks back).
This Lexmark business gets worse. I refilled the black cartridge with an ordinary cartridge refilling outfit and it won`t print despite telling me that the cartridge is full and that it is printing.
In an earlier issue I told you about my feelings regarding Tempo retailers and the Lexmark 3200 printer I bought from them. I have now found out another thing about it.
The Lexmark 3200 printer I got from Tempo must surely be the most uneconomical printer I could possibly have bought. The black cartridge only does about 250 pages of ordinary type - for £28! That makes each sheet cost 11.2 pence plus the cost of the paper and probably another 11.2 pence more if any colour is used! - ABOUT 22.4 PENCE A SHEET! Nearly a pound for every four sheets!
I wouldn`t recommend you to buy it - but also look at my earlier article for an idea of Tempo`s service.
A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email email@example.com
8- or more-track tape recorder. email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also want good working VW or Volvo 7 series 2.4litre turbodiesel engine. This is the type that goes in an LT van or a Volvo 740TD. email email@example.com
£2,000,000 at 0% interest would quite good too, although I would probably waste quite a lot of it employing musicians to do the great work.
All material on this site is copyright. Contact me if you want to use it. I am quite flexible. Educational non-profit use is free - but ask for permission and print an acknowledgement. If you can`t think what to print, put:
From The Other News From England. http://www.othernews.co.uk