BREAKING: Globally respected present delivery specialist Santa Claus has revealed that due to the newly announced carbon price he will cease visits to Australia.
Despite the fact that his reindeer led sleigh runs on magic, and is therefore unaffected by a price on carbon, Mr Claus believes that there will be impacts on other parts of his business.
“Traditionally I’ve delivered coal to people on the naughty list,” intoned a disappointed Claus, “and with the number of lies being told by some members of the Liberal and National Parties with regards to carbon pricing, not to mention some of the folk at News Ltd, I’d need a record load this year. That much coal means a financial burden that I can’t bear, and that I have no capacity to pass on”
Asked whether he would seek compensation, or an exemption, from the carbon price Santa gave a resolute “No”. He explained “Everyone understands that we need to take action on climate change, and that a market based price on carbon is a part of that. The simplest and best solution is for Malcolm Turnbull to have a serious talk with some of the anti-science nutbars that he works with, if Tony Abbott could “Stop the Bullshit” about carbon pricing we might be able to get a few of his colleagues off the naughty list and bring my coal order back to a manageable level.”
Efforts to convince Santa to switch to a renewable resource for people on the naughty list have thus far failed to find an alternative. “The reason that I have a naughty list is to convince people to modify their behaviour, I can’t be held responsible if some of the people are too stubborn or ill-informed to make the necessary changes.”
Neither the Prime Minister or Opposition Leader were available for comment, although a spokesman for the PM’s office said that she was particularly disappointed, as she had hoped that finally taking a step towards addressing climate change would have been enough for her to get a pony and a plastic rocket from the man in red this Christmas.
One of the favourite pieces of anti-National Broadband Network nonsense is that wireless technology will make it obsolete. But a group of residents in Thurgoona have demonstrated precisely why that will never be the case.
Both parties pleaded their case to councillors last night in their scrap over Optus’ plans to build a 25-metre mobile phone tower on Thurgoona Golf Course
The Thurgoona residents, who claim the phone tower is a visual blight that will affect the value of their homes, were last night furious with Optus for refusing to reveal statistics showing a need for the new tower.
Good luck getting a mast on every street corner for a nationwide high speed network.
Earlier this week Buster Boy announced that he thought he should have a podcast. When I asked him what it was going to be about, he told me that he wanted to tell people all about the board games and video games that he liked. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Rupert Reviews.
You can download it straight into iTunes and hear exactly what cuts the mustard as far as this 7 year old gamer is concerned. The inaugural episode looks at Lego Star Wars.
I can remember when I was Buster Boy’s age how much fun it was to make recordings on my Dad’s tape deck, they usually only lasted a few weeks until the tape was full and I’d start recording over it again from the start of the tape. How amazing that this little snapshot of my son can not only be captured in perpetuity, but shared with our friends who are so far away. Living in the future is cooler than I could ever have imagined.
While visiting some friends in Bendemeer, NSW, I came across this closed, but almost intact butcher shop. After taking a few photos I ran into the woman who used to run the butcher shop, and she told me some of her story.
What’s the most soul destroying career that you can imagine? Doctor at a tobacco company? Head of light entertainment at Channel Nine? Opinion writer for a News Ltd tabloid? To my mind they’re amateurs and also rans when you put them up against what’s arguably the most destructive force in western society: the self help industry.
Advertising executives, used car salesmen, Young Liberals and door to door pay TV salesmen have got nothing on the shameless misery bringers who hide their destructive nature under offers of a balm for aching souls. They own daytime TV, command overwhelming shelf space in bookshops and charge hundreds of dollars in appearance fees, paid for by poor schmucks who hope that some success might rub off, which is even more laughable when you realise the foundation of the whole industry is encouraging people to feel like failures.
I blame Dale Carneige. Carnegie wrote a helpful little book called How to Win Friends and Influence People, which can pretty much be distilled down to ‘remember your fucking manners’. This concept was such a revelation to the United States of the 1930s that the book became an instant best-seller and has since sold over fifteen million copies. Not only did Carnegie write the book that helped define the self help genre, Dale Carnegie Training provided a template for every loud man with big teeth who’s come to save us all from our problems ever since.
So why are we so willing to hand over fistfuls of cash to people we’d throw beer nuts at if they started proselytising in the pub? An insight into the mechanics of the self help industry is one of the few lessons that truly gripped me at university, because I was able to see first hand how powerful cognitive dissonance could be as a motivator and how easy it would be to exploit. Another lesson I learned was the effect of drinking a jug of beer through a straw, but that gripped me in an entirely different way.
Our psych class was doing a simple exercise to help us understand some personality theory concepts. We were asked to describe ourselves by selecting about a dozen options from a list of attributes, then we were asked to do the same thing again, but this time describing an ideal version of ourselves.
When we compared the lists three things became apparent: firstly, that the small number of people whose lists were almost identical either had very low goals for their ideal self, or were liars. Secondly, most of us felt that we differed from our ideal selves, but rarely to the extent that we felt motivated to make big changes. But most interesting were the people who believed that there was a very large difference between their real and ideal selves. There was about half a dozen of them and they began behaving very strangely, even for psych students. A couple of the girls started sobbing, one guy had a tantrum and stormed off, while the others completely zoned out.
In the hastily convened debriefing session shortly afterwards, our tutor explained that what we’d seen was cognitive dissonance in action. Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort we feel when we become aware that we’re trying to hold two conflicting beliefs at once. In this case, the difference in the rating of ideal and real selves was causing significant emotional distress.
So, what has this got to do with the self help industry? Well, when we feel the effect of cognitive dissonance, we try to find a way to reconcile our conflicting beliefs, like the One Nation member who gets on well with his Vietnamese neighbour and will tell you his views on immigration aren’t racist because “Some of my best friends are Asian”. To relieve the uncomfortable feelings we look for excuses, ways to rationalise away the conflict; and we also look for solutions. This is where the self help industry comes into its own: solutions and excuses. You’re not lazy, someone is stealing your personal power. You’re not disorganised, you just haven’t found the right system yet. Buy this book and come to our seminar, we’ll show you how to fix everything.
The first step in the self help pitch is convincing everyone that there’s something wrong with their life, quite often by telling them about all of the things that they’re supposedly missing out on, or are being denied by some external force. Pump up their idealised self image and give their real self image a kicking into the bargain.
Once you’ve managed to create some cognitive dissonance in the unwary, you then offer them a solution, a way to achieve the ideal self you’ve told them they long to be. While Dale Carnegie may have been content to remind people that reforming their own behaviour was a great way to improve the reactions of others, the self help industry is now packed with everything from ridiculously rigid life plans and enormous tomes on avoiding procrastination that take a week to read, through to fictional mystical prophesies and the idea that simply wishing hard enough will bring you what you want.
When, inevitably, self help books fail to deliver their promised gateway to unimpeded self actualisation, the self help gurus blame the reader for not sticking to the system, or not believing hard enough, which feeds back into the feelings of failure that the reader was hoping to escape and leaves them anxious to buy another self help book. Fantastic! Another book deal for everyone.
The dirty little secret of the self help industry is that if their products were genuinely useful they’d put themselves out of business. The fact that we manage to ignore this fact as we add yet another book to our collection is just another example of cognitive dissonance that we have to deal with.
The reality is that there is no recipe, no sure fire plan, no invaluable secret that will change your life and bring you to some imagined place that is somehow better than where you are today. Pretending otherwise is the least helpful thing you can do, but you won’t find anyone in the self help section telling you that.
Mary-Jo Fisher explains why she decided to do the Hokey Pokey on the floor of the Senate.