I used to be a smoker. I smoked about 20 cigarettes a day for almost 20 years. If I went out for a few drinks that’d climb to about 30 or 40. Sometimes I’d wake up coughing and have a cigarette before getting out of bed. I didn’t think I’d ever learn how to stop smoking forever. But I did.
I stopped smoking 15 years before writing this book.
One day a friend asked me how I stopped. That started an in-depth conversation and a serious evaluation of the differences between all the times I’d tried to give up smoking before, but failed, and the time I actually stopped smoking forever.
I know for certain that I’ll never smoke again. And I knew it straight away the last time I gave up. I knew it because my thought process was different that time. It was the real thing.
Now I’ve developed that process into a technique that I believe will work for all adult smokers.
It worked for me, so it can work for you too.
This book is not for teenagers. They know they’re bulletproof and the future isn’t really real. And it’s not for people who don’t really want to give up. It’s for adults who genuinely want to quit.
It’s not a fun or funny book. There are no jokes in this one. But it should lead to a very happy ending.
When you’re smoke free I’d love to hear from you, because it makes me feel good to think I might have helped someone.
HG: To solve the greatest problem the world’s ever faced?
HG: But it’ll be like… twenty years before he starts saving any souls.
God: More like thirty. He’ll get a trade first. Something solid to fall back on if the whole preaching thing doesn’t work out. I’m thinking carpentry. There’s always a need for good carpenters.
HG: Let me see if I understand this correctly. Saving the souls of the sinners, meaning everyone on earth, is really, really important, the most important thing ever, but it can wait for thirty years while your baby son goes through infancy, childhood, adolescence, a carpentry apprenticeship and young adulthood before he’ll be ready to get on with the job?
God: Yep. That’s the plan.
HG: Unfekkin’ believable.
God: He’ll also need to be baptised before he starts his preaching. That’ll happen when he’s about thirty. I’ll get John to do that.
God: John the Baptist. Right now he’s still a kid. John the Nappy Filler. He’ll get famous for dunking heads later.
HG: You’ve lost me.
God: I work in mysterious ways, Holy. Mysterious ways. You know that. You know why this’ll be called the famous God and the Holy Ghost pre-Jesus conversation?
HG: At this point I really don’t care. Do you?
God: Because out of sheer frustration, you’ll inadvertently name him.
HG: Oh Jesus Christ.
God: And there you go. That’s what he shall be known as. Jesus Christ.
HG: What sort of a name’s Jesus Christ?
God: The sort of name I just made come our of your mouth.
HG: I thought this was meant to be a co-equal relationship.
God: Mmm… It has been talked about like that, but… Soon it will a triumvirate.
The reason that Evangelical Trump supporters are not hypocrites can be summarized easily. Trump behaves exactly like the God that Evangelicals have always worshipped.
Both of them are vain, selfish, narcissistic, vengeful and capricious. God even came up with a plan to teach mankind a lesson that involved impregnating another man’s wife. What could be more Trumpian than that? God also claims credit for every good thing that happens, and deflects all things bad, “mysterious ways” being God’s equivalent of “fake news”.
What Trump wants from his supporters is the same thing the God of Evangelicals expects from his. Obedience and unquestioning loyalty.
If Trump were to write a set of Ten Commandments they would probably be very similar to God’s top ten. Take the first four commandments for example –
God – I am the Lord thy God, Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
God – Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image for I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
God – Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. The Lord will not absolve anyone who takes His Name in vain.
God – Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord, your God commanded you.
The God of the Bible states clearly that the most important four, of the ten most important things anyone has ever heard, and will ever need to hear, meaning the four most important things for people to live their whole lives by, are all to do with praise, worship and loyalty. They are all about how great God is.
Would Trump have stopped at just four? Who knows?
God – Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord, your God is giving you.
There’s an implied threat in this one, just as there is with Trump needing to obey Putin if he wants his days of freedom to be long.
The God of the Bible does not include rape and slavery in his Ten Commandments, and it’s highly unlikely that Trump would either, given his behaviour, although the Commandments are rules that don’t apply to the person making the rule. “Thou shalt not kill” isn’t a seamless fit with the story of Noah’s Ark, for example, if it’s interpreted as “nobody should kill”, but what it actually says is “you shall not kill”. God will do whatever he pleases.
God – Thou shall not murder.
God – Thou shall not commit adultery.
God – Thou shall not steal.
God – Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
God – Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to him.
And there endeth the Commandments.
Evangelical Trump supporters are not hypocrites becauseTrump behaves exactly like the vain, selfish, narcissistic, vengeful, jealous and capricious God that Evangelicals have always worshipped.
Any person who can be conned into taking a knee for either one of these megalomaniacs can likely be conned into taking a knee for the other.
Evangelical Trump supporters are not hypocrites. Stupid? That’s another thing.
KM: Jesus came down on earth the mystery of the Cross? “Jesus came down on earth”, what’s that supposed to mean? Doesn’t the Vatican have any competent translators? Did you see the Pope’s latest tweet?
God: I’m omniscient, Neel, I see everything.
KM: Of course you do. What do you think about the way that he states something is very simple and straight forward, as if it’s an obvious fact, and then calls it a mystery?
God: He may be reminding his congregation that I work in mysterious ways.
KM: You know what I think’s mysterious about you?
God: What’s that, Neel?
KM: Churches are called God’s house, right?
KM: And they’ve sometimes been touted as sanctuaries where good people can hide out against evil doers?
God: Uh huh…
KM: Well how come you’ve allowed hundreds of thousands of children to be raped by your own employees in your own house?
God: It’s one of the consequences of free will, Neel.
KM: Being omniscient and omnipotent means that you watched every single one of those children being raped and deliberately decided to do nothing about it. And you also watched as your church protected and enabled the rapists by moving them to new places to rape again. Either you aided and abetted the carnage, or the whole omniscient and omnipotent schtick is bullshit. Which is it?
God: Mysterious ways, Neel. Isn’t that what you wanted to talk about?
KM: Another mystery is why you allow so many rapists and pedophiles to become priests in the first place.
God: There’s a bit of a shortage of normal men, by which I mean men with a healthy sexual appetite for adult women, who buy into the whole vow of celibacy thing. Doesn’t make sense to most.
KM: Was that the point of the celibacy rule? To encourage those with abnormal desires?
God: I didn’t invent the rule.
KM: It’s your church. Aren’t you omniscient and omnipotent?
God: I thought you wanted to talk about the Pope’s tweet about the mystery of the Cross?
KM: Nice deflection, big boy. And by nice I mean, childish, simplistic and obvious. Never mind. I knew you’d have no answers for the tricky questions. So, back to the Pope. He says A causes B, therefore mystery. What the absolute fuck? Once again the pontiff tweets some inane bullshit and within hours, tens of thousands of people are liking and retweeting it.
God: Good to be Pope.
KM: Why did Jesus have to “come down on earth” as a baby? If he’d arrived as a 30 year old preacher he could have got on with doing his stuff straight away. As it is, the story has a decades long hole in the middle of it where absolutely nothing happens. You sent your “son” down to do something “important”, but not so urgent that it couldn’t wait for a few decades while the Jesus half-human-thing muddled along through a mostly unremarkable infancy, childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. Act One, a few days, a birth. Act Two, literally decades of literally nothing. Act Three, a brief flurry of activity, culminating in violence and gore. Good finale, but a terrible story structure. Also wouldn’t it have been more impressive and easier for people to believe his story if he’d descended on a light beam? Or a rocket-powered unicorn?
God: You can bag the story as much as you like, Neel, but it works. Billions of people love Jesus.
KM: Even though he doesn’t exist?
God: Not important. People love Harry Potter and James Bond. There are even people that love Donald Trump. Apparently because he “tells it like it is”. Ha ha ha.
KM: Wouldn’t the world be a better place if you hadn’t made such a large proportion of people so fucking gullible?
God: If I made everybody really smart, who’d go to church?
Leaving the Catholic Church is not usually as difficult as leaving other faith-based organisations, such as Scientology or Islam, where the consequences can be brutal. A Catholic doesn’t have to renounce Christianity in order to leave the church. There are many non-Catholic Christian churches that will happily welcome ex-Catholics. A Catholic could also decide to keep the Christian faith, but pray in private. Both options avoid having to address the veracity, or any other aspect, of the faith itself.
Yet, even with the constantly growing number of revelations of the magnitude of the sexual abuse pandemic in the Catholic Church, most of the faithful still feel a strong allegiance to the Vatican.
Why? Vatican Syndrome – a variant of Stockholm Syndrome.
In 1973 four employees of the Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm were taken hostage during an attempted bank robbery. They were held for six days in one of the bank’s vaults. Nooses, guns and dynamite were initially used to scare them into submitting to the robbers’ instructions. One of the hostages was heard screaming as a robber held her in a stranglehold while on a call to the Swedish Prime Minister.
The police moved into the apartment above the bank and drilled a hole in the ceiling of the vault. The bank robbers fired bullets through the hole, but eventually they surrendered after the police pumped tear gas into the vault.
After the event, none of the hostages would testify against their captors. In fact they raised money for their defence and visited them in jail. The police were baffled by this behaviour and called in criminologist and psychologist, Nils Bejerot. He said the state of mind of the hostages was the result of a type of brainwashing. Bejerot coined the term Norrmalmstorg Syndrome, which became known internationally as Stockholm Syndrome.
In 1974, heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. They locked her in a closet for long periods, blindfolded her, gagged her and raped her. She eventually agreed to join her captors’ cause and was famously seen on surveillance video carrying an assault rifle during an armed bank robbery.
At her trial the defence tried to establish that brainwashing was the cause of her actions. The judge didn’t buy it. Hearst was sentenced to seven years, although she served less than two before being pardoned.
Following her release, Patty Hearst never showed any sign of reverting to the behaviour she exhibited while under the influence of the SLA. Her free will had been reinstated. She returned to normalcy.
There are many more examples. Today Stockholm Syndrome is widely understood and accepted. It not only applies to hostage and prisoner scenarios, but also to the sexual abuse of children.
“Aspects of Stockholm Syndrome could be identified in the responses of adult survivors of child sexual abuse, which appeared to impact on their ability to criminally report offenders. An emotional bond, which has enabled the sexual abuse of children, has served to protect the offender long after the abuse has ceased.” – Shirley Jülich, Stockholm Syndrome and Child Sexual Abuse, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 2005.
Recovering from Stockholm Syndrome usually involves counselling, in which the patient is helped to understand that the feelings they have are part of a normal survival instinct. The recovery process involves a return to normalcy in the lives of victims.
An abused kidnap victim would have much less chance of recovery, including a return to normalcy, if the perpetrator was a famous and revered person who regularly appeared in the media, on magazine covers and billboards, everywhere the victim went.
The Catholic Church gives the appearance of being omnipresent and omnipotent, especially through the prominence of Catholic Churches, which are often the grandest structures in towns and cities where Catholics reside. So it’s not surprising that Catholics, any number of whom may be experiencing Vatican Syndrome to a greater or lesser extent, can’t begin to comprehend a mental escape, or a return to normalcy.
Which means that Vatican Syndrome, sadly, is likely to be with us for a very, very long time.
Vatican Syndrome – Definitions
Stockholm Syndrome – An emotional attachment to a captor formed by a hostage as a result of intermittent stress, abuse, threats and a need to cooperate for survival.
Vatican Syndrome – A strong, ideological allegiance, within a congregation, to an institution that beats, threatens, abuses, and intimidates them. A psychological survival strategy.
Beatings – Copiously reported from Catholic schools and orphanages
Threats – An omniscient God, Hell, eternal damnation, pain and suffering
Abuse – Sexual, mental and physical abuse by clergy and teachers
Intimidation – Priests learn of sins in confession Speak out and you will be ostracised
Vatican Syndrome – a variant of Stockholm Syndrome.
When was the Catholic Church NOT a Haven for Pedophiles?
Kneeling Man: Oi, God! You there?
God: Of course, Neel.
KM: Right, stick your fingers in your ears and bugger off, you’re not going to want to hear this.
KM: Piss off, I’m not in a good mood. This is a rant and I don’t want or need your input.
God: Oh… Okay, bye…
KM: Rhetorical question –
When was the Catholic Church NOT a haven for pedophiles?
The story that follows is fiction. It doesn’t invoke works of ancient hearsay, so heresy cannot be claimed. Neither can blasphemy, because blasphemy’s not relevant unless something that can’t withstand rational scrutiny claims to be true.
One day, more than a thousand years ago, a parish priest made an unscheduled visit to the largest landowner in the district. On arrival he heard unusual noises coming from the basement. The priest descended the steps and found the landowner engaged in buggery with a ten-year-old boy. Also present, in varying states of undress and arousal, were three of the landowner’s friends. The priest gasped and turned to leave. One of the men grabbed him and dragged him back inside. The peasant boy was sent on his way with a warning to keep their secret, on pain of death for his whole family. The priest was tied to a post.
The landowner and friends had been caught in an act of such vile debauchery that their execution would surely follow. A plan was hatched. The priest was killed and buried right there in the basement. One of the landowner’s friends was a visitor from another province and therefore unknown to any of the locals. On the following Sunday he appeared in the pulpit and announced that he was the new pastor of the parish and that the previous priest had been reassigned to another parish far away.
After one particularly depraved session with a young alter boy, which included a few flagons of consecrated wine, the conspirators realised that not only was the church providing a good cover for their activities, it was also facilitating them. Perhaps it could provide a whole lot more besides. Soon the rapidly expanding group had killed and replaced priests in eight neighbouring parishes, and eventually took over the cathedral in the provincial capital.
Sensing that they couldn’t continue to expand through violent acquisition, the newly installed bishop and his cronies declared a split from the established church and set themselves up as a committee of cardinals to forge some new rules. Promises of a better heaven and a more terrible hell helped to swell attendances but it was the forgiving of sins through confession that really appealed to the masses. This was a masterstroke as it gave the priests the power of knowing the secrets of the flock along with an ability to extract extra donations from serious sinners to ensure their secrets remained buried. They also implemented a celibacy rule, so they’d have no further need to maintain a public pretence of being socially acceptable, “normal” heterosexuals.
This new version of the old religion was a runaway success. With income from donations, confessions and indulgences, the church started charities, orphanages and schools. Initially this was a way of keeping stocks of juvenile sex slaves readily available, but also, through clever brainwashing, it increased the numbers of new followers.
In the early days of the church, there was no way for any of the victims of this pedophile empire to know what they a were part of. Each individual victim, sworn to secrecy by their priest, could only believe that were indeed a very unlucky individual. The church continued to grow and spread its system of institutionalised child rape to the point where the victims numbered in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, world-wide.
In the second half of the twentieth century, developments in communication meant that victims began to hear stories of other victims and when they realised they weren’t alone, many began to come forward. The church attributed the complaints to a few bad apples and worked hard to protect its status and, more importantly, the true history of its establishment.
And there ends the fiction. But think about this –
Had such an organisation been established a thousand years ago, and grown and become massively successful, would there be any obvious difference between it and the Catholic Church of today?
When was the Catholic Church NOT a Haven for Pedophiles?
( Post Script – The Vatican has always known that thousands of priests were, and are, serial child rapists. Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope following 20 years as the chief enforcer of the Crimen Sollicitationis, the secret, 39 page, Vatican instruction manual for maintaining secrecy of sex offences in the church. It advises on appropriate punishment of victims for disclosing what happened to them, but says absolutely nothing about helping them. [Sex Crimes and the Vatican, BBC, 2006] The Church claims it’s doing all it can to address the problem, although its actions indicate that self-preservation has always been the paramount concern.)
KM: Oi, God!
God: Yes, Neel?
KM: What do you think about that?
God: You told me to go away.
KM: Yeah, but you never listen. At least you never answer prayers.
God: Just because I don’t answer prayers doesn’t mean I’m not listening.
KM: It was a question not a prayer. You going to answer?
God: It’s a more plausible story than most of the shit the Pope comes out with.
Is the Pope too enthusiastic about the flavour of Jesus Christ’s flesh?
Kneeling Man: The flavour of Jesus. Holy shit. Oi, God, you there?
God: Sure am, Neel. As always.
KM: I was concerned a while back when the Pope talked about becoming sexually aroused by faeces, but I think his enthusiasm about the flavour of Jesus might be worse.
God: Hard to imagine.
KM: Cannibalism vs turd triggered turgidity? Could be argued both ways I guess. Whatever. Cannibalism seems to be his latest thing.
God: The Eucharist has always had a bit of cannibalism about it, Neel. Eat my body, drink my blood.
KM: True, but he’s getting into it with too much relish for my taste.
God: Oh, Neel, that’s pretty corny, even for you.
KM: Sorry about that. Flavour of words and deeds is okay, but the taste of death and the fragrance of spirit? It’s one thing to symbolically acknowledge his body and blood, but to fantasize about the taste of his flesh and the smell of his rotting corpse…
God: You really think that’s what he means?
KM: This is a man who talks about poos making him horny.
God: There is that.
KM: “… the taste of His Death and Resurrection, the fragrance of His Spirit.” There’s a level of enthusiasm about the flavour of Jesus that’s not far short of arousal. Almost as if he was fantasizing about eating Jesus’ liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti, then making that little clicking sound with his tongue.
God: Now you’re going too far.
KM: Okay, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and pretend he’s not being creepy and disgusting. So, apart from serving up yet another bowl of theological word salad, what the hell is he talking about?
God: How would I know?
KM: They say he’s got a direct line of communication with you.
God: So they say.
KM: Well does he?
God: Have you forgotten that I’m imaginary and you’re just talking to yourself?
KM: I’m only human, God. A lot of us make that mistake.
God: Too true. One day, just for fun, I’m going to answer the prayers of every single person in a football stadium. All at the same time. At the end of the game, everyone, including all the players, will believe that their team has won.
KM: How would that work?
God: Mass delusion, Neel. It’s very common. Every person of faith thinks their team’s the true winner.
KM: Just back to the football for a second, if you’ve got thousands of fans believing they’ve won, and they see all the fans on the other side waving flags and cheering like they’ve won, wouldn’t that spark a huge fight?
God: Ya think?
KM: Oh, yeah, I see what you’re getting at. We do a lot of fighting over mass delusions.
KM: I think I’ve had enough of prayer for one night.
God: Sleep well, Neel.
God: Yes, Neel?
KM: Could you tell me something comforting? To help me sleep.
God: I love you and care about you.
KM: Thanks, God.
God: And I won’t send you to hell.
KM: Thanks. That’s nice to know.
God: So long as you keep believing in me and praising me.
Idiot Donald Trump unaware of Dunning-Kruger effect
Many people are using the term, “The Idiot Donald Trump”. Many more are merely saying that Donald Trump is an idiot. His Chief of Staff, John Kelly, is reportedly one of them. It’s also reported that Kelly regularly mocks Trump’s ignorance.
Rex Tillerson was fired after refusing to deny that he called The Idiot Donald Trump a moron. (Although it may have been because Tillerson angered his erstwhile sponsor and medal-awarding buddy, Vlad Putin.)
So how did an idiot get to be President of the United States? James Clapper says it was because of Putin. And James Clapper’s one of the few people who’ve seen more than enough classified information to allow them to reach that conclusion.
Although Putin supplied the last straw, a significant minority of voters do actually support Trump. They believe Trump’s a straight talker. Because Trump tells them he’s a straight talker. The fact that The Idiot Donald Trump contradicts himself on a regular basis and straight out lies the rest of the time seems to elude them.
America is in the process of providing evidence that humans may not yet be sufficiently intelligent, on average, to ensure the survival of a decent democracy.
The following excerpt from Not Very Intelligent Design discusses the Dunning-Kruger effect and a perfect example, The Idiot Donald Trump –
Below average intelligence. To utter those words in public is to risk being chastised by any social justice warrior who happens to be within earshot. But half the population does have a level of intelligence that falls below the median, regardless of how you define intelligence. It’s merely stating the obvious. An indisputable fact. At least among those who don’t need to redefine words in order to try to explain their woolly thinking.
It’s said that if you don’t know who the mark is at a poker table, you’re it. It’s the same thing for intelligence. If you can’t tell who the stupidest person in the room is, you’re probably it.
But that doesn’t take into account the Dunning-Kruger effect. Which explains why the stupidest person may believe that they’re actually the smartest. The reason for this is that really stupid people have such limited knowledge that they have absolutely no idea how much they don’t know. Which can cause them to think that perhaps they know a fair bit about something when in fact they know very little.
People who score 95 percent or more in exams, usually estimate their result will be two or three percentage points below their actual score. Because they know exactly what they got right and don’t give themselves the benefit of the doubt on things that they may have got right by luck or guesswork. People who score 75 to 90 percent generally estimate they’ll get pretty close to what they in fact score. They’ll know what they got right, and add a few points for things they may or may not have guessed correctly. People who score 50 or less usually overestimate their result, sometimes by a lot, because they’ll give themselves credit for all their answers, even though a lot of them will be wrong.
Einstein, or somebody else, said that one of the effects of a great amount of learning was that it made one aware of how much one still didn’t know. Which is not a realization that occurs to the brutally ignorant. As Bertrand Russell said, “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”
Donald Trump is pretty much always the stupidest person in the room, or in fact the stadium, but nevertheless he rates himself as a genius. Nobody, believe me, nobody demonstrates the Dunning-Kruger effect more effectively than Trump. The most extreme example the world’s ever seen. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it. Never. Thinking everybody else is not as smart as him might explain why he tells so many lies. He thinks people won’t know he’s lying. About a third of the population rate Trump as a straight talker who says what he means. They also don’t recognize that he’s a barely-literate ignoramus. Which is testament to the first paragraph in this section. And that they are so stoic in their support is testament to the above Bertrand Russell quotation.
If you’ve spent any time in conversation with stupid people, you’ll realize that the designer of mankind once again failed in terms of dishing out a reasonable amount of smarts to a reasonable amount of people.
Thankfully the highly intelligent minority have contributed disproportionately to the advancement of humankind and civilization, and with the collective pooling of knowledge since the invention of the printing press, that advancement is likely to proceed at an ever increasing pace. There are some potential handbrakes to our continuing advancement, notably nuclear war and/or the ascendancy of groups of people who regard science and human rights as blasphemy, but hopefully those threats will not further metastasize.
Intelligence – 0/10 to 9/10 (It varies. The 10 is reserved because the most intelligent people are probably yet to be born.)
God: An insult with your very first question? That’s not very nice, Neel. Had a tough day?
Kneeling Man: Nothing five or six drinks can’t take the edge off. How old are my grandparents?
God: Is this a trick question? We both know they died a long time ago.
KM: Yeah, but how old are they in heaven? Are they old like I remember them? Or are they in their twenties? Or maybe they’re just kids. Do people get to decide how old they’d like to be in heaven?
KM: God? You still there? If everyone’s in their twenties what’s to stop you trying to hook up with your great great great great grandmother? That’d put a kink in the continuum.
God: There’s no such thing as age in heaven.
KM: Really? So how do people look? Young or wrinkly?
God: People don’t have physical characteristics in heaven.
KM: So why do you look like an old man in all the pictures?
God: I’m God. Those rules don’t apply to me.
KM: Do any rules apply to you?
God: Yes and no.
KM: God, I hate that answer.
God: I mean yes the rules apply, but I make up the rules, and I can change them, so in that sense, no.
KM: Moving on. You’re saying we’re designed in your image for life on earth (a Not Very Intelligent Design in my opinion), but we’re not designed in your image for life, or whatever it’s called, in heaven. Seems like the wrong way round don’t you think?
God: Mysterious ways, Neel, that’s how I roll. I’m going to ignore the blatant plug for your blasphemous book.
KM: How will I recognise my grandparents if they don’t look like they used to? If they don’t look like anything?
God: There’ll be a spiritual connection, Neel.
KM: Where would that come from? We hardly even knew them. We used to hate going to visit them. It was a really long way, winding roads, all the kids got car sick. It was like going to the wicked witch’s house. It smelled of old people. When we arrived grandma would plant big slobbery horrible kisses on us which we couldn’t wipe off fast enough. Why would there be a spiritual connection?
God: You won’t have to spend time with them if you don’t want to, Neel. It’s heaven. You get to do whatever you want. You enjoy yourself all the time. It’s great.
KM: What if their idea of enjoyment includes spending time with me?
KM: God? You still there? God?
God: They’ll get to enjoy spending time with you, without you actually having to be there.
KM: They’ll be tricked into thinking they’re spending time with me, even though I won’t be there? So it’s just smoke and mirrors.
God: There are different versions of heaven for different people.
KM: Sounds like you’re making shit up as we go along here.
God: Isn’t that what we do?
KM: Is dirty old Uncle Johnny up there?
God: The kiddy fiddler? Of course not.
KM: But he repented, made peace with God. Then he went to church every Sunday. The priest forgave him. Are you saying the priest’s forgiveness doesn’t count?
God: He might be in Catholic heaven.
KM: There’s more than one heaven?
God: There can be as many as you like, Neel. As many as you can imagine. For some people, heaven’s all classical music and wispy goodness with not a trace of sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. For others, there’s wine in abundance, mile long rails of coke and hordes of randy virgins, who happen to be quite expert at the sex act, despite their lack of experience.
KM: So you’re saying heaven exists only in people’s imagination?
God: Where else are you going to find it? You don’t have any trouble imagining it’s not there do you?
God: And other people find it easy to imagine it is there. A loose concept of heaven keeps everybody happy.
KM: You’ve just admitted that everything about heaven is imaginary.
God: So what? It’s what you believe isn’t it?
KM: I come to you for an argument, God, not meek acquiescence.
God: Perhaps if you get some rest, you’ll be able to imagine me as a more cantankerous old bugger next time.
Be best. Be fastest. Be tallest. Be richest. Be stupidest.
Kneeling Man: Oi, God, you up?
God: Yes, Neel.
KM: What do you think of Melania Trump’s Be Best campaign?
God: I suppose she tried her best.
KM: Ha, ha. Not much evidence of that. Not much evidence of any affort at all. The pamphlet was an old one with a few changes. That’s not being best, that’s just plagiarism. It’s not even clever plagiarism. It’s just laziness with a few more deliberate, White House lies thrown in.
God: It’s a good word, plagiarism. It’s almost Biblical. Like blasphemy.
KM: You really don’t care about this do you?
God: What’s the big deal? Nothing new about plagiarism. It’s been around since before the Bible. Some say…
KM: All right, all right. Enough with the Bible stuff. How about the bit that is new? The logo.
KM: It’s not only Not Very Intelligent Design, it’s bad grammar. Isn’t the point of the campaign to encourage people to get educated, to learn a skill, rather than just having a go and being satisfied with crap?
God: How do you know she didn’t study graphic design?
KM: Ha, ha, good one.
God: She had to do something.
KM: I’m not so sure about that. I think a low profile might be a smarter option for her.
God: Is that it? She used an old pamphlet and you don’t like the logo. So what?
KM: Apart from being bad grammar, there’s also the whole concept of being best. Being better is something that can be aspired to, but there’s only one best. If you don’t win, you’re not best. Therefore, you’re a loser.
God: Sounds familiar.
KM: Exactly. Are we sick of winning yet? It’s the same sort of crap people like Lewis Hamilton say all the time. I want to inspire young people. If I can do it, so can they. No, they can’t. That’s just bullshit. Only one person per year can “be best” as in World Champion. Everybody else trying for that has to fail. If Lewis Hamilton inspires a hundred thousand kids to try to become a champion like him, ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety something are going to fail. There’s simply no space for everybody to be best. It’s a logical impossibility.
God: Can’t argue with that.
KM: It smacks of that tired old fat-cat talking point that poor people are lazy and deserve nothing. They should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Not going to happen unless they’ve got boots. With straps. And nobody’s going to make any lemonade either, unless they have sugar and water and pots and pans and a kitchen. Some people work two jobs on minimum wage and can’t afford to pay the rent on an apartment with a kitchen. Not everybody can be rich. It doesn’t work that way.
God: I think you’re getting lost in your rant, Neel. Drifting off the point.
KM: No, it’s the same point. Rich assholes telling poor people to try harder. Especially rich, privileged assholes who’ve got where they are through inheritance and grift. Be cleverest. Be tallest. Be richest. Be stupidest. Be best stablest genius.
God: Are you done?
KM: Not quite. Because here’s the worst part. They not only dish out this useless, condescending, illogical piece of shit advice, which they’ve put almost zero time and effort into, they expect to be thanked and applauded and congratulated for it.
God: It takes all sorts, Neel.
KM: Very profound. You designed ’em, big boy. Not your best work.
Testicles swinging in the breeze – intelligent design?
Kneeling Man: Oi, God, I found some pictures of Testicles in an encyclopedia. I think maybe I should have put them in my new book, Not Very Intelligent Design.
God: Uh huh.
KM: They’re about things from way back in the day before your son, the sweet, sweet, sweet baby Jesus, was even born.
God: I can see that.
KM: Do you know what they are?
God: Of course I do. I know everything, Neel. You know that.
KM: Do you think I should have put them in my new book, Not Very Intelligent Design?
God: That’s a very unsubtle attempt at SEO, Neel. Probably won’t work either. Anyway, what do Greek philosophers have to do with your trashy book?
KM: No need to be snarky. You gave us free will. Freedom of expression. Some of us like trashy.
God: Answer the question.
KM: Well, it explains the background behind the naming of our testicles.
God: You sure about that?
KM: Yep. Socrates is obviously in pain here.
Scholars are divided on whether this is A, a depiction of the infamous incident in the Greek forum in 419 BC, when Testicles scored an emphatic but immoral victory over Socrates, by kicking him in the spuds, or B, a more mundane occurrence later in the same year with Socrates’ anguish arising solely from the nauseating monotony of seemingly endless Testicular stanzas, Socrates having learned not to interrupt Testicles no matter how painful or boring one of his poems may be.
God: Nauseating monotony indeed. I think you’re making shit up here, Neel.
KM: We all do it, God. You not only made it our speciality, it’s how you came about.
God: What about the other picture?
KM: This one’s definitely from the the post-tolchock-in-the-Socratic-yarblockos period. It shows a scene in which Testicles, now unquestionably the alpha dog in the forum, holds up a finger to indicate one more poem. Behind Socrates the assembly groan and wail their displeasure, clearly indicating that their ears can take no more, as Socrates begs for mercy, and possibly hints at offering an unsavoury favour in return for aural reprieve.
God: Sounds like bullshit to me, Neel.
KM: If it was written in a book, such as Not Very Intelligent Design, that would make it just as true as stuff written in other books, like the ones about you, for instance.
God: You sound like you need a good night’s sleep, Neel.
KM: Night, God.
God: Night, Neel.
KM: Behold the medieval super heros – Knight God and Sir Kneel Ingman. Arise, Sir Kneel.
God: Do you just say anything that comes into your head?
KM: Pretty much.
God: Night, Neel.
KM: Knight God.
For those who’ve not yet read it, here’s an excerpt about Testicles from Not Very Intelligent Design which is associated with the above rant.
Testicles was not a Greek philosopher. He was a Greek poet. Famous for being the worst of all the Greek poets. Testicles, the body parts, were named after Testicles the Greek poet because most Greek citizens, if offered the choice, would rather take a swift kick to the nuts than sit through a long and tedious poetry recital by Testicles.
A gentleman’s bollocks hang down between his legs in a sack that offers all the impact protection of a sheet of soggy toilet paper. Which is crazy, as the nuts themselves are as sensitive a body part as anyone would ever care to imagine. Even a mild impact or gentle compression of the plums, is enough to make a man’s eyes water. And a decent kick in the nads will drop any man to the ground and have him writhing in agony for some time. Delicate organs, permanently swinging in the breeze, constantly at risk of accidental knocks or squishing is an obviously stupid design fault. So, why are they hanging out like that? The reason they need to be on the outside, apparently, is that they only function correctly a few degrees below core body temperature. So they need to be air-cooled. Seriously.
What genius would design a body part that didn’t function properly at body temperature? And then come up with a sack as a solution to with the problem. It’s as clever as an outhouse at the bottom of the garden.
What makes it completely ridiculous is that it’s so very easily fixed. Make them operate at body temperature, like every single other organ, and put them inside. Out of harm’s way. (To look on the bright side, I guess we’re lucky our kidneys and lungs aren’t hanging out below our armpits.)
Human testes initially develop inside the abdomen. Later, during gestation, they migrate through the abdominal wall into the scrotum. This causes two weak points where hernias can later form. Prior to modern surgical techniques, complications from hernias, such as intestinal blockage and gangrene, usually resulted in death. Another great feature of this total design abomination.
Sloths, elephants, anteaters and birds are just some of the many animals with internal testicles. Which obviously work perfectly well at body temperature. So there’s no excuse for this design stupidity. Or is it worse than mere stupidity? Is it deliberately sadistic? Why the hell are they so bloody sensitive?
The male tuberous bush cricket, Platycleis affinis, has testes that account for 14% of his body weight. It’s a good thing for Jiminy that his plums are inside, rather than hanging out in the breeze. If a man’s nuts were of the same proportion, there’d be a couple of rugby balls flailing around his knees.
Which is nothing compared to Viz comic book hero, Buster Gonad, the boy with unfeasibly large testicles. During a storm, Buster’s gonads were zapped by cosmic rays which enlarged them to an enormous size. Buster’s gonads are so big he has to use a wheelbarrow to go for a walk. True fact.
Balls on the outside – 0/10 (Stupid beyond belief.)
God: Really? I think you said more than enough about everything, quite frankly.
KM: When it comes to knees, I understand why you stuffed up.
God: I don’t stuff up. I may work in mysterious ways, but I don’t stuff up.
KM: Your first four commandments are all about praising you, right?
God: Sort of, ish, yeah…
KM: And that involves us getting down on our knees, right?
God: That’s the traditional way.
KM: Your knees don’t need to be as sturdy as ours because you don’t pray to yourself, do you? Or do you?
God: Of course not.
KM: In fact lying around on soft clouds all day means you hardly use your knees at all. So you see, making us in your own image was a stuff up. Because human knees give a lot of trouble and pain and often need replacing well before the rest of the body gives up.
God: You think I should do another big flood and start over with Humans 2.0?
KM: If you do, make sure you read my book first.
God: I know what’s in your book, Neel. I know everything.
KM: Yeah right, I’m tired. Good night.
God: Night, Neel. Sleep well.
KM: There’s another stuff up. The fact that we need a sleeping pill industry.
Knees are a problem. Mainly because they’re just not strong enough for the job. Any kind of load or stress can injure them. Fear can make them tremble, as can upright coitus. Ligaments and cartilage are easily torn. Knees can fracture, swell and freeze. And when they get a bit of age on them they can develop osteoarthritis. They should be built out of a tougher material. Like titanium. Which they probably will be if you have to have them replaced.
Knees are often hit by doctors with small hammers, although nobody’s quite sure why. It is thought that the practice was first seen in a movie called Doctor Doctor in 1943, which was the story of a single woman who was so keen to have a son who was a doctor that she legally changed her surname to Doctor, and then named her first born son Doctor, just to make sure. Unfortunately Doctor Doctor didn’t manage to qualify for medical school and went to work in a hospital as a janitor.
One day there was an emergency, and on hearing someone call doctor, Doctor Doctor looked up and before he could dispel the error, was rushed by the arm to the emergency room. A dazed looking patient was sitting on the edge of a bed and Doctor Doctor, who happened to be carrying a small hammer, was asked to diagnose the patient’s condition.
After a moment of bewildered hesitation, Doctor Doctor commenced the consultation by giving the patient a light tap on each knee. The reflexive kicks caused the nurses to start giggling which encouraged Doctor Doctor to repeat the action. The ensuing hilarity and applause caused more and more people to gather round and Doctor Doctor was carried away in the moment, performing more and more intricate rhythmic tapping routines on the knees of the unfortunate patient, who subsequently required bilateral knee replacement surgery.
After being dismissed by the hospital, Doctor Doctor began to perform the routine as a side show in a travelling circus, before turning the act into a new branch of medicine called Reflexology, thus finally fulfilling his mother’s dreams.
Knees – 3/10 (Too fragile, insufficiently flexible.)
Excerpt from Not Very Intelligent Design – available HERE.
Kneeling Man: Oi, God, are you there? No? Doesn’t matter. I’m in the mood for a rant, not a conversation.
KM: Horses stand around in paddocks wondering what the fuck’s going on. Then they stop wondering, look down and eat grass. This goes on until something happens. Such as when someone comes along and gets on their back. They still don’t know what the fuck’s going on, but it gives them something to do. Either take the person for a ride, or try to buck them off. Or both.
When men and women sit around wondering what the fuck’s going on, some wait for something to happen (often the best thing to do if there are a few cold beers handy), and others decide to do something. They can either try to figure out what the fuck’s going on, or, if that’s too difficult (it’s called science), they can make shit up. We make shit up for entertainment mostly, but we also do it to educate. And sometimes to deceive. It’s what we do. Making shit up is one of the things that sets us apart from horses.
The shit we make up can be good or bad or brilliant. It can be poetry, or a painting, or a song, or a good story. Which can be a great experience for the person who creates it, and very enjoyable for an audience too. All good clean fun. Until the person who made the shit up claims the shit they made up isn’t made up at all, but is real, as in actually, factually real. The problems resulting from this can range from a minor spat between infants to all out war and genocide.
Penn Jillette hates it when people in the magic business pretend that magic is “magic”, as in mystical woo-woo, rather than expertly executed tricks. It puts a slightly sinister and wholly dishonest edge on entertainment that should be good clean fun. Such magicians seem to take pleasure in conning the gullible, rather than entertaining peers. I’m not sure if Penn has taken this as far as I’m about to here, but if so, I apologise. (It might be one of those things where you wake up thinking you’ve had an original thought but in fact your brain’s used dreamtime to rehash something you’ve already heard, and make you think you thought of it.)
People who put on the woo-woo may be motivated by trying to generate the guru effect, under which attractive young women are deceived into willingly offering themselves up for the sexual gratification of the mystical master.
When a charlatan finds he’s having some success with the woo-woo guru effect (it’s pretty much always men that do this), he may decide to go full bhagwan maharishi and start his own religion. For those who enjoy power and domination, having your own flock to do your bidding, give you money, and exercise your party bits, is the ultimate win. The shit you make up, which you call the truth, can be whatever you think your flock will swallow, the only requirement being that it’s not too easy to prove it’s bullshit. In the short term at least.
Whoever wrote the Bible didn’t go for the finding stuff out thing, they went for the making shit up option. It’s obvious they didn’t know anything about planets, stars, solar systems, the universe or anything like that, because back then, nobody did. Those who chose the scientific option were mostly preoccupied with swords and aqueducts and wine.
As all writers know, the moment you’ve written once upon a time, or, in the beginning, you have to write some more words. And if you don’t know what really happened in the beginning (still a mystery), you have to make something up. Usually a story.
Which is fine. We all like a good story. And if the story has a moral to it, one that helps us understand our place in the world and offers some guidance or reason for our existence, that’s even better. Stories that help us understand something about the human condition are always useful. But if a story’s made up, and then claimed to be true, with a large dollop of mystical woo-woo attached, that makes it dishonest and sinister.
Whoever wrote the book of Genesis was making shit up in order to fill a massive void in the “what the fuck’s going on” situation. It was a story to help people deal with the big questions, and to provide answers.
Which would have been fine had it been a book of the month, superseded by new books reflecting the ever-growing knowledge of mankind, but somehow it became a book of millennia, with huge dollops of “interpretation” becoming necessary to get past the problem that when read literally, it’s self-evident nonsense.
There are many different versions of the Bible, but in simple terms the book of Genesis starts like this –
Day 1 – In the beginning God created day and night.
Day 2 – God created the sky.
Day 3 – God created the land and the sea and the plants and the trees.
Day 4 – God created the sun, moon, and stars.
In other words, day and night, and plants and trees, pre-existed the sun.
Which is self-evident nonsense. Just plain wrong. Utterly impossible. Of course nobody back then knew about the solar system or how it works. If a creator of the solar system ever existed, they obviously had nothing to do with the writing of Genesis. Obviously, because it would have been so easy to at least get it chronologically correct whilst remaining ecclesiastically vague.
For example –
In the beginning, God created the universe, scattering stars and all manner of celestial objects far and wide.
Then, God created the earth and the oceans and the mountains and the lakes.
Then, God created all the plants and trees and creatures in the sea, and in the air, and on the land.
Then, God rested.
There, just like that. Easy. But it wasn’t written that way because they didn’t know what the fuck was going on. So they settled for making shit up. And claimed it was true. And then they hunted and killed and burnt people at the stake who dared to contradict them. For hundreds of years.
Which is why we need to start teaching kids to assume everything’s fiction unless decent evidence exists to the contrary. In fact we all need to develop skills to be less vulnerable to scamming charlatans of all types, whether religious, political, financial, emotional or magical.
And it’s also why watching someone doing card tricks or juggling or playing football or riding horses or listening to Penn’s Sunday School is a much better way to spend your Sundays than going to church.
Kneeling Man: Oi, God, what happened to that old One Way Jesus with the pointy finger thing?
God: Did something happen to it?
KM: I don’t hear it so much these days. In fact the last time I heard it was a guy at an airport over a year ago bitching about how many air points it cost for an upgrade. What? One way? Jesus!
God: Very funny.
KM: And ISIS use the pointy finger sign too. What sort of idiots flash a gang sign that’s the same as the other gang’s?
God: Do you have something to say, or are you happy just trying to annoy me?
KM: Are they right? That the only way to heaven is through Jesus?
God: Well, yeah, I suppose… for them.
KM: That would mean everybody else is wrong. Billions of people believe in other ways to Nirvana. They can’t all be right.
God: It’s a curly one, I’ll give you that.
KM: It’s the exclusive club thing isn’t it? We are the chosen ones. God’s favourites to the exclusion of all others. We get heaven, you get hell, ha ha ha. And it’s okay for us to enjoy the thought of your eternal suffering because God is great and on our side.
God: I try to be inclusive to all.
KM: That’s not what your fans say. They say you’ve given them the universal, singular truth. One Way. The Path. The Truth. The Light. The Stairway To Heaven.
God: If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now. As long as they find Heaven, what’s the problem?
KM: The mutually exclusive claims are the problem. I know you don’t want to pick sides, but they can’t all be right.
God: Perhaps at different times, in different places…
KM: Okay, okay. Enough already. Moving on. Did you ever notice that there’s only one theory of gravitation? One theory of evolution? And did you ever notice that real scientists don’t have to claim that there’s only one version of science. There just is. The laws of physics are the same in India as they are in Alaska. There’s pseudo-science of course, crystals and all manner of healing quackery, but pseudo-science never made a plane fly, let alone a phone call.
God: What’s that got to do with faith?
KM: Nothing. There’s no faith required. But, if there is a singular truth, science has to be the best contender. It doesn’t care where you were born. It doesn’t care what your parents believe or try to make you believe. It’s the same thing everywhere. There aren’t thousands of different gravities. Or different versions of gravity. Just one. One that adheres to one set of rules, one theory, that accounts for every measured observation of it, so far. Everywhere. In other words, it’s the truth. Same for evolution. Every newly discovered piece of evidence confirms it. There is no contradictory evidence.
God: There are thousands of contradictory opinions on evolution.
KM: Opinions aren’t evidence.
God: What about quantum gravity?
KM: What about it? When science reaches the boundaries of knowledge, it admits uncertainty. Which is a fine principle. Science doesn’t pretend to know things it has no way of knowing. It knows how to fly to the other side of the world. It doesn’t pretend to know how to fly to the edge of the universe. It’ll have a good think about it and tell you what it thinks might happen. But it won’t pretend to know what it doesn’t know. That’s what the truth looks like. No pointy finger required.
God: You’re getting way too serious tonight, Neel. You should stop thinking before you hurt your brain. I think I prefer you when you’ve been drinking.
KM: What makes you think I haven’t been drinking? Of course I’ve been drinking. Do you have any idea what it’s like living on this crazy fucking ant farm of yours in 2018?
God: You do realise I only exist in your head?
KM: Of course I do. I may be insane, but I’m not fucking crazy.
Neel and Mark Ingman were talking one day. Which produced an idea.
Let’s assume the position that man was designed by an intelligent designer.
Then, let’s analyse all parts of the human body with regard to the expertise of the designer, all the while approaching the subject with honesty, an open mind, and with all due respect.
To some, Intelligent Design is an important subject worthy of serious academic study. To others it’s as worthy as a thesis on The Promiscuity of the Tooth Fairy.
Mark Ingman has never seen or experienced anything without feeling the need to criticize, rate and redesign it.
When he walks into a house he’ll often observe that the bathroom is in the wrong place, and that the alignment of the structure totally ignores the path of the sun.
Neel Ingman is not as belligerently opinionated, but is still prepared to discuss and, if necessary, debate any topic at any time, with anybody or anything.
Sturgeon’s Law says that 90% of everything is crap. Mark Ingman thinks at least 99% of everything is crap. And when it comes to houses designed in the last hundred years that rises to at least 99.99%.
Most conversations with Mark and Neel involve something getting a mark out of ten and may contain up to 90% digression and nonsense.
Not Very Intelligent Design is a thorough examination of the human body from top to bottom with every part being rated out of ten, in terms of excellence or even plain competence, given the tools of the designer.
It’s also bursting with fun facts and tall tales, and true ones too, that may or may not be closely related to the body parts we know so well. The body parts that we were blessed or cursed with.
To find out the overall rating, the ultimate score, the final reckoning…
Be sure to reserve your FREE copy by subscribing now for new posts and an email reminder.
Kneeling Man: Oi, God, this could get interesting. The Pope insults Trump here with this one. Sounds typically woolly, aka theologically deep, but it’s really a dig at the Donald.
KM: Substitute the Donald’s bitch for the Pope’s bitch.
God: The Pope’s bitch?
KM: The Church. He’s married to the Church, right?
God: Oh, yeah, that. So… “Melania shines forth when she is missionary, welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means and rich in love.”
KM: See? She was poor in means but became rich by adopting a welcoming missionary position and pretending to be freely in love with a rich fat man.
God: Oh come on, Neel. That’s a bit of a stretch. Even for you.
KM: It’s designed to get the Donald’s attention, to let him know that the Pope’s playing.
God: Playing what?
KM: Twitter War. Remember their frosty encounter at the Vatican?
KM: So we know the Pope doesn’t like him, and he’s annoyed that the Donald can say and Tweet the most ridiculous nonsense and have his followers lap it up. Until now the Pope’s been the undisputed champion of ludicrous Tweets.
God: Yeah, there’s certainly evidence of that.
KM: And his only real competition came from idiots like Ken Ham and the Osteens and other snake oil preacher types, who are all pretty much on the same team.
God: What about Deepak?
KM: Fair point. But still a similar team. They all spout nonsense in the name of religion and woo woo, and people buy any old shit in the name of religion and woo woo. Whereas the Donald spouts nonsense that’s meant to make sense in the real world. It doesn’t of course, but his followers either don’t notice or don’t care.
God: So you think the Pope’s Tweet is a challenge to the Donald?
KM: It’s an announcement of taking the challenge to the Donald. In fact they’ve both been at it for a while. The Donald started it back in 2013.
God: Isn’t that a compliment?
KM: The Pope knows the Donald’s a congenital liar, so he assumes he’s taking the piss. Also the Pope hates the idea of being likened to Trump. Especially by Trump.
God: Makes sense.
KM: But does this?
God: That’s either greatly profound, or barely makes more than a flicker of sense. Another entry in the annals of ludicrous Tweets.
KM: He likes the Light theme.
KM: Why would we need to take refuge to ask the Virgin a question?
God: I’ll have a word to her about that and get back to you.
KM: You should get back to the Pontiff on that too. And on this.
God: Fair enough. But what’s the Donald got to do with all this Papal bull?
KM: Well, instead of talking his usual crap about China inventing climate change and secret plans to defeat ISIS in 30 days, he upped his game by reaching for the mysterious profundity card.
KM: I thought if anyone could understand that, it would be you.
God: No idea. And that was apropos of what?
God: Okay… And what brought that about?
KM: Christ knows.
God: No he doesn’t. And neither do I. Trump’s not good at this is he? Doesn’t sound even vaguely profound. Just dumb. He should get Deepak over to coach him.
KM: I think an attention span of more than a few seconds would be required to become skilled in the art of profound bullshitting.
God: True. You can’t fix stupid. Sources say he’s a vindictive bastard too.
KM: Damn right. And a bully. It’s a good thing the Pope doesn’t have missiles otherwise the Donald might try to threaten him by sending a carrier group to Australia.
God: Does anyone actually care what these charlatans say about each other?
KM: They’ve both got millions of followers on Twitter.
People spend a lot of time, money and effort on hair. It needs washing, cutting, styling, straightening, curling or colouring. Some people find that it even needs replanting. Or plucking. In days gone by, a noble hairline (these days known as a fivehead, being approximately 25% larger than a forehead) was achieved by women having the front of their scalp plucked bare.
The plucked forehead phenomenon originated after the Queen of Belgium’s fourth cousin, Philomena Pluck, was mercilessly ridiculed as a young woman by other junior members of the royal court on account of her massive frontal scalp area. Pluck endured the taunting for some months before formulating a plan to rise to the throne, thereby ensuring that her appearance could no longer be mocked. By systematically poisoning, throat slitting and eye gouging her fellow courtiers, fifteen in all, Philomena cleared the way to be the unchallenged heiress to the throne. A royal stenographer was reported to have referred to her as the “hairless heiress” shortly before his disappearance, an incident not unconnected with the Queen’s fatal fall from her bedroom window the following day, ensuring that Philomena was an heiress no longer.
Queen Philomena decreed that any woman with an ignoble hairline would not be received at court or be eligible for marriage to any nobleman. Thus the noble hairline became immediately fashionable and, perhaps surprisingly, remained de rigueur for more than thirty eight years following her untimely death.
A lesser known fact arising from this saga is that Philomena’s resolve, in dispatching so many people so relentlessly in her drive for revenge and power, is the origin of the meaning of the word “plucky”. (Dispatching is a technique where tufty patches of hair on an otherwise bald pate are removed in the interests of uniformity, but its origin is not related to the dispatchings of the Plucky Princess.)
So what’s the point of a hairy scalp? Hair that keeps growing and growing and needs cutting annoyingly often, even if only for purely practical purposes? Long hair gets in the way. And the longer it is, the more of a nuisance it is. Long hair can end up in your soup, in your mouth, in your eyes on a windy day, or between the sticky fingers of the pervert sitting behind you on the bus.
Scalp grown hair affects our self perception. Usually adversely. How’s my hair looking today? I wonder if it needs a cut? What’s fashionable right now for someone like me? It’s hard to feel good when you think your hair looks bad. Look at the lengths some men go to to pretend they’re not going bald. Tattooed stubble. The hair piece. Or the full rug. The punch ’n’ grow. The comb-over. The spray thickener. And even the reverse comb-over with orange spray thickener and glue, which can only possibly look sensible in a mirror.
Short-haired cats and dogs have hair that grows to a sensible length, long enough to provide coverage and protection from the sun, and then it stops. They never need a haircut and never have a bad hair day. Which would have been a very good solution for the scalp of mankind, and entirely possible given the technology available to the designer. The evidence for that being true is that short-haired cats and dogs were designed about the same time as man.
Hair anywhere on the head seems to be entirely unnecessary. Sufferers of alopecia totalis are only sufferers because they don’t look the same as everybody else and may feel a little self-conscious as a result. Black guys look good with shaved heads. Middle-aged, chubby white guys, not so much. But if nobody had any hair on their head, we’d all be happy that we’re having the equivalent of a good hair day, every day.
And then there’s facial hair. What’s the point of that? Women and children do perfectly well without it and don’t have to spend any time on maintenance. Would anyone opt for facial hair if it didn’t carry any social significance? And once again, why does it need to keep growing? Cats have facial hair, but around the mouth it’s only about a millimetre long. Without ever needing to be groomed. If nobody had facial hair there’d be no need to signal your affiliation to hipsterism, suicide bombing or any other absurd societal group by growing a huge unruly bush on your mush.
Most men are forced into a regime of daily shaving in order to avoid the itchy stubble sensation. And it’s well known that women do not appreciate stubble rash either on the face or on the inner thigh no matter how little they may complain at the time of acquisition.
Whilst on the subject of intimacy, a cat on your head doesn’t feel anywhere near as cuddly as a cat on the bare skin of your face, (provided you’ve had a shave), and the bare skin on bare skin sensation of touching someone you really fancy should be enough evidence for anybody to realise that all hair is really just a nuisance.
Hair – clearly an example of not very intelligent design.
Kneeling Man: Oi, God, your boy’s on fire today. Jamming a whole shitload of piss-takes into one little tweet.
God: What are you talking about, Neel?
KM: Best wishes to fathers?
God: Yeah, and?
KM: Well he wasn’t a father was he, old Joseph? He was a cuckold. Catholic doctrine preaches the perpetual virginity of Mary, despite conflicting reports of siblings, so he’s clearly taking the piss.
God: It’s Father’s Day in Italy.
KM: Really? They conflate St Joe the Cuckold Day with Father’s Day and expect nobody to notice how stupid that is?
God: They do get away with a lot. Besides he didn’t actually say Joseph was a father. He said, “And best wishes to fathers!”
KM: Good spotting. Either way, he’s still taking the piss. St Joseph? That’s a piss-take in its own right. Sainthood for dying in the arms of Jesus and Mary? The patron saint of a happy death? Everybody dies. But he gets to be a saint for dying nicely? Jesus wept.
God: I’m sure he did.
KM: Next up, Patron of the Universal Church? What the hell does that mean? Is that like the Miss Universe contest? Everybody knows there’s no universal church. There’s three or four thousand bloody silly religions on this one little planet alone.
God: The simplicity of unity helps believers to believe.
KM: Lift your game, God. That’s the sort of nonsense charlatans like the Pope and Deepak come up with.
God: It may sound like papal bull but it actually makes sense.
KM: Okay, fine. But we’re up to three piss-takes in one tweet so far. And there’s still one more to come. May the saint of peaceful death bless you and watch over you.
God: Why’s that a piss-take?
KM: Well even if the death saint’s blessing doesn’t actually bring death, which it sounds like it should, he’s the last one I’d want watching over me. He couldn’t even keep an eye on his missus.
God: Yep, fair point.
KM: Do you think he might’ve been impotent? No Viagra back then, was there?
God: Not the sort of thing they really talked about was it?
KM: Plenty of topics were off limits, that’s for sure. Finally, a serious question.
God: Go on.
KM: Why are they so keen on venerating virgins? If you take that to its logical conclusion and everybody decided to be perfectly holy, meaning virgins, the result would be the extinction of humanity. How stupid’s that?
God: It’s a good thing humanity has an aversion to logical conclusions.
Kneeling Man: Oi, God, what’s this shit? Educating an act of love, giving life? Could almost be a description of fornication, no? You’d think he’d be more careful about this sort of thing. What with all the pedophile priest business.
God: You think he’s thanking teachers who have sex with their pupils?
KM: Maybe he’s giving them a sly nod for doing the work of the church. You know, indoctrinate children for us and it’s okay if you fuck a few of them. The church preaches love. So what’s wrong with a bit of the old educating an act of love? Nudge, wink.
God: I don’t think that’s what he’s saying, Neel.
KM: He’s thanking “all those who teach in Catholic schools”. That definitely includes the pedos. That’s almost worse than “very fine people on both sides.”
God: I doubt that’s what he means.
KM: Really? He sentenced a pedophile priest to a lifetime of prayer. What’s the punishment for a singer who commits murder? A lifetime of singing?
God: The Vatican does seem to be morally compromised from time to time.
KM: I think you mean all the time. Anyway, do you think it’s a good idea to indoctrinate children?
God: It’s definitely good for the church. Keeps the numbers up.
KM: Is it good for the children? Or for the world as a whole?
God: That’s a big question.
KM: Okay. Try this. If children in the middle east were not brainwashed by being made to learn the Quran, would they be more or less likely to kill each other?
KM: Oh come, on. No bullshit now. If there was no religion there’d be a lot less killing. Admit it. It’s so fucking obvious. You start lying to me and I won’t even bother imagining that you exist any more.
God: All right, all right. That’s true. Neighbours with different religious beliefs do tend to kill each other more than neighbours with the same beliefs.
KM: Or neighbours with no beliefs. Like the Scandinavian countries. Or Australia and New Zealand. Countries with mostly atheist populations are the most peaceful places on earth. True or false?
KM: True or false?
KM: How do you feel about that?
God: What is this, a bloody interview?
KM: Nice Aussie accent. Are you trying to pander to me?
God: Aren’t you tired, Neel?
KM: Bloody right, I am. Sick and tired. Of all the bullshit.