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    • Mateship and Lackeydom - What Goes on Behind the Woolshed?
      • 27 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   The Wealthy Purchase Respectability – and if the Wealthy are Guilty, they try to Purchase … Exonerance I skirted some sympathy for John Morrison, a former New Zealand cricketer and Cricket Wellington life member – former Wellington City councillor, and ‘NZ Local Identity’ who has successfully parlayed his fame as a sportsman into various forms of late-life superannuation – when he recently defended the Venerable Kiwi Institution of ‘MATESHIP’. After all – what is more important in life than knowing you have a regular place around the table – and your own tab – at the Golf Club? But at its worst, it can easily become an excuse for ‘Old Boy Cronyism’ – involving slavish devotion to the one who has the Most Upmarket 1. ‘Bach’ [coast or mountain holiday home], 2. ‘Beemer’ [i.e. BMW], and 3. Boat [fishing for the use of] – or who remembers and tells the best jokes. With Wal and Dog epitomising this kind of devotion – and its inherent misogyny so well: https://teara.govt.nz/en/video/41828/footrot-flats-a-dogs-tale And, as with All Conspiracies of Deference and Tribal Identity, it provides an Ideal Screen for Worse – Much Worse: Sir Ron Brierley 'dumped' from Cricket Wellington after child exploitation image charges Tom Hunt, NZ Stuff, 26 November 2020 https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/123446619/sir-ron-brierley-dumped-from-cricket-wellington-after-child-exploitation-image-charges “I was appalled to learn of the dumping of Sir Ron, and let's not beat around the bush and attempt to window dress it – that is what you have done, ‘dumped him’,” Morrison told the meeting, according to his speech notes. “My involvement with Cricket Wellington started in the mid-1960s and the one absolute constant since then, and through crisis after crisis, has been Ron Brierley.” Nice One ‘Mystery’ – while the Money has been Flowing, the Dark Secrets remain Unrevealed. As a Victim and Potential Victim myself, I just reserve this opportunity for a Quiet Say. Soul Taker JUDGMENT DAY  What if that past should mute a life-end song?It cast my heart, stranger, with darkest spellAnd worse for years was nothing I could tellOr ever bring myself to voice that wrong. All along, down along, memories beI still reassemble the terror of thee.Poor old man acting the devil a spellMolesting a child and leaving him hell. Wicked spirits are horrid shapes assignedThough half-forgotten in a youngster's mind All this and more left bare and lost behindPeak a boo pops up when hopes unwind.  Poor old soul taker fumbling with frightWill you be present at the world’s last night?  Posted 19th December 2014 by Keith Shorrocks Johnson Jimmy Saville - an Evil Clown in the Uncanny Valley EVIL CLOWNS It seems that Coulrophobia [an aversion to clowns] is almost universal among children. I have never entirely got over mine. And the case of John Wayne Gacy who murdered a minimum of 33 youths and young men in Chicago over the period 1972-1978, and who liked to parade as Pogo the Clown, only heightened my skin creeps. I remember walking back to the CBD from the singles bars of North Chicago around 1976 to get some air and having my way blocked on the sidewalk by a burly man who tried to importune me – I hope to hell it wasn’t Gacy but anyhow my response was visceral and very truculent. So the case of serial sex-abuse celebrity Jimmy Saville holds morbid fascination. I immediately placed Saville in the Evil Clown class as soon as I saw him on TV – and put him in the same bag as a Northern English entertainer who I had once watched as an adolescent, who challenged the audience with an extraordinary barrage of gutter Gay Innuendo – daring the staid theatre-goers of the 1960s to forego their embarrassed laughter and boo him off the stage. As for Saville, Dan Davies has taken up the challenge of understanding his simultaneous appeal and abnormality, after spending hours interviewing him, like a moth round a flame, at his flat overlooking Roundhay Park – and Fintan O’Toole has done a nice job [as always] of reviewing Davies’ book in the Irish Times. [See: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/jimmy-savile-he-was-very-very-strange-and-utterly-familiar-a-living-double-take-1 ] The article is entitled:  ‘Jimmy Saville: he was very, very strange and utterly familiar – a living double take’. O’Toole himself had met Saville and has this to say on his reactions: ‘The odd thing, in retrospect, is that no one was in awe of this exotic creature from off the telly. He had, rather, a presence that was genuinely unique – a one-off compound of the hideously embarrassing, the acceptably freakish and the merely ubiquitous. ‘He had created for himself a niche of mundane weirdness. He was a living double take: the first glance told you there was something very, very strange about this man; the second reminded you that he was also utterly familiar. The second thought cancelled out the first. In its own sick way, this was a kind of genius – one of the great performative constructs of popular culture in the late 20th century. ‘Most psychopaths play at being “normal” and conceal their awful urges under a surface of ordinariness. This implies a narrative of eventual discovery: the evil will out. But Savile reversed the process, making – through the projective power of TV – his weirdness into a kind of normality. ‘The genius lay in the understanding that in this there was no narrative of eventual discovery: the evil is already out. Let’s remember that it worked: Savile was dead before he was “caught”. On his death, the BBC hailed him as a great popular entertainer and he was buried by the Catholic bishop of Leeds with a guard of honour of Royal Marines. ‘Savile won’. UNCANNY We used to talk when I was a farm boy growing up in Cheshire of people have an ‘Uncanny Knack’ for performing a particular task. That is that, like the best sportsmen, they could find the ‘sweet spot’ that hinged between materials, endeavour and masterpiece. Saville was, as we were repeatedly told from the 1960s onwards, a highly intelligent man with an IQ of at least 150, who was a member of the exclusive brain box MENSA cadre [which draws from the top 2% of the general population rated by intelligence]. It is my contention that sadly lacking the application and confidence to put his intelligence to good use, Saville determined to make his life into a masterpiece of deceit. Quite why is moot though the parallels with Gacy are interesting. For example, both appear to have conflated and confused death and sex – with coffin obsession and possible necrophilia speculated. As for the how as opposed to the why, I have been rummaging around on my hard drive for a couple of articles that I stashed away in May 2009: Erroll Morris: http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/category/bamboozling-ourselves/   David Bryant:   http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/27/bamboozling-ourselves-part-1/ These explore the zone between fascination, horror and entrapment, drawing on the insights of Japanese roboticist Doctor Masahiro Mori [see my header diagram which uses the characters of Star Wars to illustrate types]. ‘Stated simply, the idea is that if one were to plot emotional response against similarity to human appearance and movement, the curve is not a sure, steady upward trend. Instead, there is a peak shortly before one reaches a completely human “look” . . . but then a deep chasm plunges below neutrality into a strongly negative response before rebounding to a second peak where resemblance to humanity is complete. ‘This chasm—the uncanny valley of Doctor Mori’s thesis—represents the point at which a person observing the creature or object in question sees something that is nearly human, but just enough off-kilter to seem eerie or disquieting. The first peak, moreover, is where that same individual would see something that is human enough to arouse some empathy, yet at the same time is clearly enough not human to avoid the sense of wrongness. The slope leading up to this first peak is a province of relative emotional detachment—affection, perhaps, but rarely more than that. ‘The figure to the right diagrams this curve of emotional response, plotting it (from top to bottom) first against how closely an entity’s motion resembles human movement, then against physical resemblance to human appearance, and last against a synthesis of the two. It is significant to note, judging from the relative depth of the curves, that Dr. Mori apparently considers motion more important than simple appearance, though he stresses that both are affected at least as much by subtle nuances as by more striking factors. ‘The conclusion drawn by the good doctor is that designers of robots or prosthetics should not strive overly hard to duplicate human appearance, lest some seemingly minor flaw drop the hapless android or cyborg into the uncanny valley—a fate to be dreaded by all concerned. He maintains instead that a prosthesis or a robot should be visibly artificial, but smart and stylish in appearance, placing it somewhere near the top of the first peak. This ethos, incidentally, can be seen clearly in a great many science fiction and fantasy manga and animé stories. ‘The same factors that inspired Doctor Mori to research and describe the uncanny valley and the rest of the curve to which it belongs are of immediate concern to any creator of fantasy or science fiction. Aside from the readily apparent potential for careful tailoring of a character’s or species’ “look and feel” to evoke a specific reaction from the audience, there are some perhaps surprising possibilities and consequences’. And similarly, one may add, a gifted, warped and bold individual like Saville can nestle his persona at the threshold of No Return in the Uncanny Valley. He was the epitome of a carefully crafted species of abnormal life form, tailored specifically mesmerize and feed on the frozen startles and hollow laughs of his fans and victims. Indeed you could surmise that he was an ideal alien sophont with [at least in youth] ... a graceful bearing, attractive figure, large, appealing eyes, soft feminine blond hair, feline or doe-like facial features, soft, musical voice and laughter, and most importantly, a pretty smile. Add a few catch phrases as ice-breakers and a universal prop like a cigar and you have the creature – the outer skin of a still instantly reflected reptilian character. In Bryant’s words: ‘The uncanny valley itself is where dwell monsters - in the classic sense of the word. Frankenstein’s creation, the undead, the ingeniously twisted demons of animé and their inspirations from legend and myth, and indeed all the walking terrors and horrors of man’s imagining belong here. In essence, they tend to be warped funhouse-mirror images of humanity, and many if not most share one or both of a pair of common traits: overt, intimidating ‘superhuman’ power, whether physical or paranormalexotic malformations, unpleasant surface textures, exaggerated features or proportions, and incongruous, out-of-place additions or inclusions.In Saville, we see the shaman who, disguised under a stag’s horns, drew us into caves 30,000 years ago to witness God Knows What or the Aztec Priest dressed as a mystical eagle who demanded ever more human sacrifices - and lines of their descendants stretching into the future peddling everything from paedophillia to ethnic cleansing. That we are beguiled is no mystery. That we should ever be on a guard against such morphlings is a constant. Posted 18th July 2014 by Keith Shorrocks JohnsonLabels: Blatant Sex Offending and its dynamics Evil Clowns and how they molest Jimmy Saville and John Wayne Gacy Paedophilia Disgust and Normalcy Sex Offending and the Uncanny Valley
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    • Alfred Lord Tennyson has his say on the US Post-Election Debacle
      • 23 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   In which Alfred Lord Tennyson tells of King Arthur roused from his deathbed by the specter of Sir Gawain Then, ere that last weird battle in the west, There came on Donald sleeping, Guilian bested In Wisconsin’s war, the ghost of Guilian blown Along a wandering wind, and past his ear Went dribbling, "Hollow, hollow all delight!   Hail, King! tomorrow thou shalt pass away.
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    • Unending Love
      • 20 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   Unending Love   I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times… In life after life, in age after age, forever.
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    • Potato Pickers
      • 20 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      • POTATO PICKERS I recall him with bucket and sack In the middle-ground of the field, Looking in my direction, absent, fearful - Dusty from the potato harvest.
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    • Kamala Harris hits the ground running!
      • 19 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   GO GIRL! For Kamala Harris: This is the dawning of the Age of Amazons as beauty awakes and ancient veils are lifted - Of the Warrior Princess and Wonder Woman .
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    • What Happens if the Hilly-Billy Blues Come To Town?
      • 18 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   EXCESS THREATENS THE COASTAL PERIPHERY AND ITS ELITE WITH A SMALL TOWN FUTURE? So in the USA, we have a comforting 'democratic victory' in which the power of reason, as manifest by the urban elites of the Metro-Coastal cities and 'megalopolises', has triumphed over the ignorant, bible-bashing and gun-toting hilly-billies of the Interior and the South.
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    • Rudy Giuliani threatens Trump with #MeToo
      • 18 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   The Sly Bear, the Big Ape and the Wet Pussy: Где ты была сегодня, киска?  A WALL HAS TWO SIDES MAKING NOBODY FREE What do you want your world to look like? What do you want it to be? Do you know that a wall has two sides? And nobody is free? Did your mama come from Mexico Papa come from Palestine Sneaking all through Syria Crossing all the border lines.
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    • Dominic Cummings: Spin Doctor gollummed by Political Realities
      • 14 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   Dominic Cummings to leave No 10 with immediate effect – as it happened Prime minister’s controversial chief adviser leaves Downing Street after infighting at heart of government Full story: Johnson boots out top adviser Cummings End of macho era: what to expect now Cummings has gone Going of Cummings seems not to be the triumph he expected Downing Street denies internal crisis has harmed Brexit talks What has Dominic Cummings actually achieved in No 10? Updated 3h ago Play Video 0:32  Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street amid reports of immediate exit – video Nadeem Badshah (now); Andrew Sparrow (earlier) The Guardian Sat 14 Nov 2020 
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    • Not forgetting
      • 13 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      • AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR Over at last, that most bitter harvest taskThe gathering of the cut down by the sack -The fields quietened from the bringing backOf canvas slings, the stumbling to the track.
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    • For the New Zealand Stitchbird or Hihi
      • 11 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   Ray of sun that plays within the trees, Light and gold within the dappled shadows, Inquisitive little guardian of the forests. Rama o te ra e purei ana i roto i nga rakau, Maama me te koura i roto i nga atarangi huna, He kaitiaki  iti mo te ngahere. VOTED 2020 'BIRD OF THE YEAR'
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    • New Zealand: Portrait of a Recovering Economy
      • 11 Nov 2020
      • Keith Johnson
      •   NZ TREASURY: Weekly Economic Update 6 November 2020 Print this sectionCOVID-19 cases continue to be recorded in Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities, and two workers at a facility have also returned positive test results.
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