51

The Hug of the Smug

Sylvia Shawcross

When you grow older it is almost arduous trying to remember what once was. I was trying to remember when it all happened—when did the world I understand disappear? What were the small things that should have clued me in more to expect what we’re in now?

One day I was watching a live YouTube video and they introduced some people called monitors. I remember at the time wondering who on earth would volunteer (and that means unpaid) to police their fellow citizens in a chat room? What kind of human? We had all pretty much become used to the morons, idiots, psychopaths and pontificators in chat rooms by then. It was part of the experience.

The argument could have been that it made the arena more pleasant and less aggravating. Eventually the argument was to abide by the rules of the purveyor of the platform. The platform itself to eventually dictate what those rules would be.

Eventually it was an accepted thing. Gone were those who created a ruckus, brought up politically incorrect ideas, used four letter words and/or went on the attack. Gone was the spice of life.

Not that I’m saying these things are pleasant and should be allowed but really… I’ve always thought it is better the devil you know. Devils will go underground if you attack them. Doesn’t mean they’re still not being devils. They’re just harder to find.

Even still, it bothered me to see other fellows accepting the police role and for no money no less. Was it the holier-than-thou presumption or the power over others that enticed? I noticed this but then decided to ignore it because well, it was the way it was. But that was the harbinger of a world we all would have to get used to. The world where hiring police wouldn’t be necessary, making laws wouldn’t be necessary as long as our fellow humans would police each other so well. And who gave them that right? I don’t know. It was the psychosis of the age.

Then one day I went to a party at a neighbours. Oh it was long ago and far away but still it was odd. In the front room the baby boomers were raising hell, laughing and drinking and being raucous and in the back room the 50s and under were being deeply quiet and polite and speaking softly in a strange dance of socially acceptable civility. You would see a few on their cell-phones. They were so damn quiet, it was almost as if they weren’t even there. I mean, in comparison.

Then one day a friend of mine and I went shopping at the local big retail store and he decided to introduce me to these things where you could check out yourself. I didn’t like it. It was a machine. It was not a clerk with a surly smiling face who talked about the weather. It was a bloody machine.

Then one day we didn’t have to go rent movies at the video store. We could get them on-line. And I was just getting used to the idea that we could even see movies other than on television in the comfort of our own homes. Gone were the special days of theatres really. We didn’t “really” need them.

Then there was the young’uns. They stopped looking at faces. We couldn’t meet their eyes if we tried. It was almost as if they were afraid of that. Afraid of eye-to-eye contact. How on earth, as a human being, was that possible? As if living in the actual real world was like being a fish out of water for them. And so, I guess it was. They would perish if confronted with real world things. They were swimming in the internet. It was their reality.

Then there was the time I moved and the mover was appalling. Late, all over the place, disorganized and just all round bad about things. And when it was done and he was leaving he wanted a hug. He wanted a hug? Really? I was completely taken aback by the question. This was his way of saying don’t give me a bad review. It was hardly something two complete strangers would do.

So I hugged him. And I didn’t give him a bad review. You gotta be desperate to hug someone for a good review. And that happened too with a handyman. Hug me and you’re forgiven for incompetence. I dunno. I don’t understand the world now. As long as we hug each other we can forgive ineptitude? I dunno. Really. I really really dunno.

We are a strange thing we humans. We really don’t know what the hell we’re doing and the pace of change is now just foolishness on steroids. Oh well, give us a hug.

Earworm for the week:

And to repeat my favourite quote of all times:

“It is no achievement to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Krishnamurti

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acd
acd
Jan 8, 2024 1:10 AM

“exactly odo quasi modo”
John Prine

David McBain
David McBain
Jan 7, 2024 8:16 PM

Give him a hug, but keep your hand on your wallet.

Hemlockfen
Hemlockfen
Jan 7, 2024 5:37 PM

In one year I replaced 4 appliances, had my home re roofed (by 2 bilingual and 10 Spanish only speaking laborers), 6 of the roofers later peeled off of another roofing job and repainted my house. None offered a hug.

One of the appliance guys told me I had an attitude. What?, I replied. After his clarification that, yes indeed, that was what he meant, I said, “GET. THE. FUCK. OUT. NOW!” That might have played a roll in not getting a hug from him and his assistants.

I assumed that the bilingual “yes man” foreman for the roofing and painting jobs was Mexican. Turned out he is from Guatemala and the rest were Mexican. He was offended. Go figure. And I tipped all of them a hundred bucks, including the second appliance crew. Yes, the same guys came back with the exception of the individual who said I had an attitude.

Fifty one thousand dollars later, no hugs.

A week after finishing the painting job, the Guatemalan returned and claimed the second check payment did not clear. He wanted me to pay him again. I said, “just a sec” as he and his family waited outside in his brand new crew cab diesel pick up truck. While they waited I went on-line into my bank account and printed a copy of the cleared check with his signature on the back. He then claimed the bank did not credit his account after I handed him the cancelled check photo. My first inkling after that was to go back in and get my pistol and tell him to get the fuck off my property before I reported him for attempted fraud.

Instead, I offered to follow up with the bank to find out where my check was deposited. I did and they would not tell me. He left. Never heard from him again.

Not even a hug from his wife. And I was hoping.

Must be a gender thing and you must be a well kept good looking woman for your age.

A lot of lonely men out there.

NikkiBop
NikkiBop
Jan 7, 2024 4:37 PM

Our small, gated community has a Facebook page that is mostly for updates like trash pickup will be Tuesday instead of Monday. But sometimes there’d be a colorful discussion that would just be mostly silly and hysterical. I was usually one of the commenters coming up with something ridiculous. Then one day the policing started. My comments were deleted, I was warned and the booted off as were others. Now no one talks at all. No one goes to the social events any longer and there’s very little interaction between others within the park for fear of offending someone. It’s just weird and yucky.

In Carl's junior we trust
In Carl's junior we trust
Jan 7, 2024 5:02 AM

Oh man, when did it all go wrong? I’ve often wondered, in a solipsistic way, did my going down the rabbit hole create the hell were in? But then I remember, even when I was 10 yrs old, God was mocked on TV, school erased his memory, and said his creation of life was random chance of evolution. Evol union my dear Morpheus. Because when you think about evolution, none of it makes sense. So this was a slave camp long before I went down the rabbit hole.

Johnny
Johnny
Jan 6, 2024 11:49 AM

I discovered Krishnamurti in my mid twenties Sylvia. That was a long time ago.
His wisdom and words still resonate through my heart and mind more than forty years later.
He was/is one of the greatest teachers of all time, but he wasn’t perfect.

Then again, who is?:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lives_in_the_Shadow_with_J._Krishnamurti

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 6, 2024 1:37 PM
Reply to  Johnny

Jesus Christus.

Johnny
Johnny
Jan 7, 2024 6:24 AM
Reply to  Erik Nielsen

Jesus was just a bloke who woke. To Truth.

Paul
Paul
Jan 6, 2024 7:33 AM

“Woe is everything and everyone else”.

Only Jesus can save you from your mire, Syl.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 5, 2024 11:16 PM

I can recognize this “hug”. In my society its done when someone has cheated.
“I was exchanging your $25 manual water meter in your house with a $250 smart meter without telling you about it. When confronted, its the politicians and we are all in it together, you too”.
“We were PCR testing all school children, everybody were happy and you should be too”.

Johnny
Johnny
Jan 5, 2024 10:50 PM

Thanks Sylvia.

comment image?utm_source=substack&am

mjh
mjh
Jan 5, 2024 7:47 PM

Great column Sylvia! My husband, a high school teacher in his early 60s, has often said how teachers in their 40s and younger are much much more willing to accept every social trend or government dictate than those around his own age.

Top Cat
Top Cat
Jan 6, 2024 7:33 PM
Reply to  mjh

But I thought the “boomers” were bad and stupid and the ones who follow the trends . . . I get mixed messages on this website.

Hemlockfen
Hemlockfen
Jan 8, 2024 10:01 PM
Reply to  Top Cat

I am a Boomer. I ripped on Matt Walsh one day for stating that very thing. Matt is a little young. Maybe his father is a leftist. Not sure where he got that idea. I can assure you that most Boomers are pissed off at what has happened to our country because of leftist actions.

Hemlockfen
Hemlockfen
Jan 8, 2024 9:53 PM
Reply to  mjh

My 37 year old daughter-in-law jumped into the deep end on guns and the latest school shooting in Iowa.

I was quick to point out that overall majority of school shooters were being treated for being suicidal with drugs and nearly ALL of them became homicidal after stopping their drug regiment.

Academia and Big Pharma, in my opinion, are largely to blame. However, in the 70s I took a course in rifle and pistol. It was so much fun. Safety, safety, safety. Lock them up unloaded with the ammo located somewhere else. Basic stuff.

A good friend took his two elementary school aged children to a shooting range during a long weekend school break. They told their school friends at recess all about it the next school day. Next thing you know, there was a mandatory meeting with administrators and counselors. Leftist teachers and administrators…… No warnings. Nothing. School personnel are so fucked up. My friend, who shoots animals for a living, is a certified shooting trainer and a deputized county police officer. Responsibly teaching his children gun safety. So many kids that don’t have a clue find themselves with a loaded gun. NOT teaching them is the problem.

The mental midgets running the schools don’t have a clue. I retold that story to the daughter-in-law. You could tell by her glazed over eyes, she was already overwhelmed by the propaganda. Her propaganda driven mindset is etched in stone.

Meanwhile, any student who presents an inkling of self harm is almost instantly sent to counseling and drugged. Some may have their genitalia cut off. Some are just chemically castrated. All at the behest of counselors and administrators with or without the permission of the parents.

Something is missing from this equation.

rubberheid
rubberheid
Jan 5, 2024 6:59 PM

when my peers and partner wanted to be the characters on friends, live that lifestyle, instead of going down the pub on friday to be themselves, and slagging the system and putting our world to right (locally!!)… I knew we were fekt.

nobody wanted to know about Natzo bombing Serbia, i was being too serious (not the first time i’ve heard that!).

It’s only got worse, muchomassimo worse, as we know. Cheer up Syl, and. .

That article ended abruptly and lost . . . tuppenceworth.

Forward!!!

el Gallinazo
el Gallinazo
Jan 5, 2024 5:59 PM

Definitely to be included in your “best of” anthology.

I was a moderator about 12 years ago for an economic blog. But the only thing I moderated was deliberate attempts to screw up the site, such as repeating a post 50 times in succession.

underground poet
underground poet
Jan 5, 2024 9:33 PM
Reply to  el Gallinazo

American based no doubt.

el Gallinazo
el Gallinazo
Jan 5, 2024 9:51 PM

Actually not

underground poet
underground poet
Jan 6, 2024 12:31 PM
Reply to  el Gallinazo

Looks like gaslighting goes world wide.

Hemlockfen
Hemlockfen
Jan 8, 2024 10:09 PM

Help me. You mean this?
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gaslighting
: psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator

Hemlockfen
Hemlockfen
Jan 8, 2024 10:05 PM

Canadian. Way different.

mgeo
mgeo
Jan 6, 2024 4:23 AM
Reply to  el Gallinazo

Even here, some people repeat themselves almost daily. Could be “obsessive-compulsive disorder”. But why would it be both obsessive and compulsive, not either one?

javelin
javelin
Jan 6, 2024 1:56 PM
Reply to  mgeo

I have wondered this also– and as an old-school human, when I wonder about something I do this strange thing called “research.”

Look up the definition of Compulsive and the first is ” to be compelled or to compel”.. essentially means nothing. I tried synonyms and the first one listed for compulsion is…… obsession.

Another to add to the list of meaningless expressions created in the past 50 years to either control thought, speech or behaviour.

Top Cat
Top Cat
Jan 5, 2024 5:56 PM

I miss the ferocious flame wars inordinately. I remember they used to go on and on on Truthdig when the comment feed was just a kind of a simple, low-fi, DOS-looking thing. Nobody interrupting. It was wonderful! Anybody saying anything they wanted. Anything! Unbridled cursing, inside jokes, vicious insults flying like confetti. Scroll after scroll after scroll. Exciting, interesting, informative, and funny. Incomprehensible nowadays. I agree with Sylvia Shawcross. Down with moderators.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 5, 2024 11:35 PM
Reply to  Top Cat

Come on. A Moderator is much needed as our Police is needed on the streets.

First off course to clean out the most mental disabled trolls and “influencers”.
Second to moderate the most offensive or failed comments to HELP the commenters from embarrassing themselves too much online, as many of us are not professionals.

If some sites are censuring you too much so what? Go to another site where your type is allowed. Faecesbook fame for average Joe.
A discussion is a living thing which need to be competent, without “now its my turn to talk”.

Top Cat
Top Cat
Jan 6, 2024 3:49 AM
Reply to  Erik Nielsen

I think that perhaps you are too young to understand what I am talking about.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 6, 2024 4:52 AM
Reply to  Top Cat

From the time where people learned to speak correct gramma and language.
Before media campaigns, media advisors, opinion makers.
I think you are close to bull’s eye.

George Mc
George Mc
Jan 5, 2024 1:00 PM

Here’s how sick our society is:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-67872693

“Character.ai: Young people turning to AI therapist bots”

Whether this depressing item is a genuine report or a piece of predictive programming (and the latter is worse), it’s an appalling indictment of the wretched state we are in.

Adorno aptly reversed Kierkegaard’s “Sickness Unto Death” into the “Health Unto Death”. That is a suitable title for the vile requirement of our government. Our current moral directive centres on the woke agenda which is a supremely cynical programme to create an increasingly amorphous, vague and helpless mass.

Indeed the ideologies at either end of the social spectrum are opposites. Oligarchical orders have always been obsessed with the notion of “purity”.

Meanwhile, the whole woke project, aimed at the lower orders, is an inverted version of this whereby in place of purity there is a ferocious drive at increasing vagueness and shapelessness even to the extent of inventing oxymoronic demographics.

And it is no surprise that this woke move is being specifically aimed at children cf. The Xmas Dr Who whereby the new doctor (whose black skin would appear to be taboo to even mention even when another character attempts to give a description of him!) sports a rainbow shirt!

George Mc
George Mc
Jan 5, 2024 1:09 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Woke is a false diversity whose aim is division and diversion towards the irrelevant and the trivial. In some cases, the fantastical.

underground poet
underground poet
Jan 5, 2024 9:35 PM
Reply to  George Mc

They could be so lazy they want a bot to do their thinking.

Cloverleaf
Cloverleaf
Jan 5, 2024 12:07 PM

comment image

underground poet
underground poet
Jan 5, 2024 11:48 AM

From what I understand, you don’t chase the devil, it chases you.

rubberheid
rubberheid
Jan 5, 2024 7:01 PM

stalks

Straight Talk
Straight Talk
Jan 6, 2024 10:14 AM
Reply to  rubberheid

The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution on Netflix exposes the world of amateur day traders. Could pranks like Gamestop stop the game?

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 6, 2024 1:10 AM

From my place it looks like the sheeple are chasing the devil.
The devil is the one who is giving out false money, false titles, liar reports, charming you with false promises, false life, false tits, false love, pagan rituals and fame.

Attracted to all what the devil offer you, you bow and run after the devil to get a piece of his false cake. You bow for the devil!

Only Christ on his Harley gave the devil the finger when he was offered all the Kingdoms on earth. Christ only bowed and bow for God!

underground poet
underground poet
Jan 6, 2024 12:34 PM
Reply to  Erik Nielsen

But look where that got him, dead at 30, we should all be so lucky.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 6, 2024 1:47 PM

It didnt lead him to his death sissyboy. It was a planned death to make peace and release mankind from its guilt to God.

Jesus died where we should have died. Instead of us. Without Jesus we were all condemned to eternal death and hell on earth.

You can be a more tougher than the toughest bad arse man than that.
Jesus lived after God’s Commandments and protected women, children, elderly and the poor, saved people in need, precisely what a man’s role is here on earth.

Patricia
Patricia
Jan 7, 2024 2:52 PM

You should’ve kept reading- it didn’t end on the cross.

niko
niko
Jan 5, 2024 10:06 AM

“Free Hugs.” From a stranger on the street carrying such sign like an ad for alienation in a society reduced to the cash nexus. First coming across this was like a small step across a line to let me know how far from what once was I had come, no longer confident of any authenticity to memory of community and conviviality. I suppose all that’s left to leave me with no common sense of humanity is for robots to replace the flesh-and-blood huggers.
comment image

Sunface Jack
Sunface Jack
Jan 5, 2024 9:24 AM

monitors are the busybodies of society. Busybodies are really welfare-state fascists.

NixonScraypes
NixonScraypes
Jan 5, 2024 4:23 PM
Reply to  Sunface Jack

Welfare state fascists- communists!

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 6, 2024 1:19 AM
Reply to  Sunface Jack

Ich bin auch ein Berliner und ein faschist. Wir sind alles faschisten.

Willem
Willem
Jan 5, 2024 9:09 AM

“It is no achievement to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

I used to believe that quote and then covid happened. As could be witnessed by all who had eyes, the population at large (aka the ‘mean’ population) had no problems to adjust themselves to the most ludicrous rules for a new disease that did not exist, and which, even if it did exist, could not act as an excuse to get roles and roles of toilet paper, lock yourself up in your own own house, inject oneself with poison and shun people who did not go along with the sadomasochistic ritual. That taught me that most people are born stupid and need no adjustment for anything.

Of course one hopes that there is more to find in a human than blind obedience, and sometimes I am surprised by how empathic, realistic, intellectual, forgiving minded, seeing one own’s faults, cultural and spiritual fellow human beings can be, but it is more like the exception to the rule instead than a general rule to find such character traits in others. Yet, it does give some consolation if you find such traits in yourself.

AntiSoof
AntiSoof
Jan 5, 2024 12:22 PM
Reply to  Willem

People are not born stupid. The are borne blank. Television and other massmedia are the ‘devil’ that gets in human minds. How does someone know about a virus? Television say so. Radio also, films, books. The mind of people is just as that of children that are programmed to like the big ‘M’, so are adults under the spell of films, books etc. So the mass media are the instruments of the aristocratie. Stop the mass media and it stops. Easy as that.

mjh
mjh
Jan 5, 2024 7:37 PM
Reply to  AntiSoof

But people, all of us (except maybe the severely mentally disabled and those with advanced dementia) have a will — they can choose. They can choose not to believe or to believe; to evaluate or to accept; to listen or to tune out.

Veri Tas
Veri Tas
Jan 5, 2024 11:50 PM
Reply to  AntiSoof

Don’t forget family, school, church… Our inner knowing is driven out of us from early on before TV.

el Gallinazo
el Gallinazo
Jan 5, 2024 5:37 PM
Reply to  Willem

In my opinion, most people are born smart, neither stupid nor neutral. It takes a huge effort on the part of the parasite class to make them stupid. And it often fails at that.

Paul
Paul
Jan 6, 2024 7:19 AM
Reply to  el Gallinazo

The more edjewcation one receives (emcompassing everything, not just school) and believes, the more stupid one is.

Nick Baam
Nick Baam
Jan 6, 2024 5:46 PM
Reply to  el Gallinazo

My experience, 98 percent of the people have roughly the same intelligence. Maybe one percent are noticeably smarter, maybe one percent are noticeably dumber.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 6, 2024 1:30 AM
Reply to  Willem

Say those with empty pockets. “Love is something poor men invented to get it for free”.