Thursday, 7 December 2006


The case of billstickers v. anticant’s burrow has been heard before His Worship the Mayor. A cross-petition by anticant against mr stickers was also taken into consideration.

The plaintiff alleged that he had been told that he was no longer welcome in the burrow, in contravention of its free speech policy. He had laid a complaint through his agent monopoliescommission to Ernest the Policeman.

anticant responded that mr stickers had abused the burrow’s hospitality. If the management were to allow repeated breaches of good manners, the place would lose its good reputation and be reduced to a bear garden. He cited in support of his decision the dictum of the American philosopher Emerson that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”.

Larry the Lamb said that mr stickers was just a poor little paschal lamb, and should be allowed to bleat as much as he wished, wherever he wished.

Mr Growser said that it ought not to be allowed.

Dennis the Dachsund said “Mine goot vriends, can you not this dispute amicably end?”

Zola and Toby said that lines had to be drawn somewhere – but where?

Merkin said that he was mr stickers’ judge, and was praying for him. His Worship overruled this claim, saying that HE was the judge in this case.

lavenderblue urged Angela to parachute onto mr sticker’s head. His Worship ruled that this was an unacceptable incitement to violence.

Yellow Duck said “Quack, Quack.”

Summing up, His Worship said that anticant was obviously in breach of his house rules, and rejected his claim of privileged inconsistency on the ground that anticant’s mind was not large enough to exercise it. For his part, mr stickers had spoken without due regard to the sensitivity which might reasonably be attributed even to members of an Awkward Squad.

His Worship dismissed the cases of both parties and ruled that mr stickers should be readmitted to anticant’s burrow, subject to future good behaviour, on condition that he pledged 50 x 50 pence [i.e. £25] in support of Angela’s parachute jump, and that anticant did the same.

Case dismissed.


zola said...

Welcome back Billstickers : be ready for the next tuning of the harp.
Wonderful it is.

anticant said...

He hasn't agreed to the pledge yet!

zola said...

But you opened up that possibility.
That is something BIG.

anticant said...

Oh you dear old-fashioned thing!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The Merkin made a plea in mitigation on the basis that 'I will do anything for a Jump'.
No precedent?.
Found in favour.

zola said...

Come down here

Anonymous said...

'Come down here' - sounds like a TV show catchphrase.
Now all this mob has to do is save the 25 quid fine.

anticant said...

I thought it was an invite to a parachutists' rave-up in a Lapland sauna!

And it's mr stickers who has to put up the 25 quid readmission fee before he visits the burrow again [IF he does - I'm not bothered either way].

I've already e-mailed Angela, pledging my £25.

Merkin said...

Good stuff, big yin.

anticant said...

Well, if an anticant can't combat cant, who can?

zola said...

In a metaphysical sense?
Jon Dun
He never learnt to spell either

Good morning anticant :-

" Tis not how witty, nor how free,
Nor yet how beautiful she be,
But how much kinde and true to me".

szwagier said...

Whatever the rights and wrongs of billst's interventions, I do think it was a bit rich of fellow Awkwarders to try to dictate to him what he can say and where. Surely that's not what we're about.

We don't have to agree with him - I don't - but we do have to allow him to be himself. Even if we don't like it sometimes. I would even say especially if we don't like it sometimes. We all might learn something.

Anonymous said...

Can't agree there Szwagier. It was necessary for people to step in on your behalf when you were at a low point in hospital - and I seem to recall you mentioning that any more references to The NT would result in damage being done with that book!.
Anyway, what is important is intent. Bad faith.
We all recognise stupidity on the net, or even things we don't agree with, but when we see someone whose sole aim is to destroy it is our duty to reply.As Goodfairy said Willy Nilly will not be happy till the site is populated by him and Frank. I should co-co.

anticant said...

Point taken, Szwagier - but when three people coping with terminal diseases are loftily told that illness is all in the mind, and that if only they thought differently they would cease to be ill, are you really surprised that they become angry?

And what about the capers Angela is being treated to on her "Shameless Advertising" thread over on Pike's site?

Pretty sick, if you ask me.

Szwagier said...

Well, I'm in a slightly different boat as my illness is not necessarily terminal. But, yes, I was told pretty much the same thing.

I made an off-the-cuff comment about hurling the NT at the wall and dismissed it from my mind. If you turn it into an argument tempers flare, positions harden and everyone's upset.


"Sole aim is to destroy" is, in my opinion, unfair and untrue.

anticant said...

I'm all for peace, but if you always just turn the other cheek they will trample all over you and dance on your grave.

Total absence of self-doubt is the hallmark of the intellectual fascist - political, religious and cultural.

Even that stern Man of God, Oliver Cromwell, said to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

A most insightful dissection of the psychology of the 'Elect' is James Hogg's "The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner".

Anonymous said...

well said, Anti

anticant said...

Thanks, anon. And do READ Hogg's "Justified Sinner", everyone! It's a gripping story, and easily obtainable in Oxford World Classics paperback.

Szwagier said...

"Total absence of self-doubt is the hallmark of the intellectual fascist"

It may well be, but I don't think that matters.

If it takes trampling all over me and dancing on my grave to make someone wonder, even for a moment, then I'll do it. I'm strong enough.

Perhaps that makes me an intellectual fascist, too. I'm not bothered, it's only words.

anticant said...

That's where you are so wrong! It isn't "only words". Look where "only words" have brought us since 9/11, and before.

I don't give a tuppeny toss whether people like that ever "wonder". I just want them off my back. They are a menace.

Szwagier said...

In which case you are well on the road to becoming that which you say you hate.

Szwagier said...

In my opinion, of course.

anticant said...

Maybe I am [sighs wearily....]

Szwagier said...

It's not so bad. Everyone is (that which they hate) to a greater or lesser extent. Aren't they?

anticant said...

"And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"

- OSCAR WILDE, concluding stanza of "The Ballad of Reading Gaol".

Szwagier said...

Sad, but true.

gingerwaster said...

Damn - I just wrote about 2000 words and they disappeared into the ether. What happened ?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, GrumpyCrumpet, did know the whole lot of Hogg during my flirtation with those of that ilk.
Now, I have to draw a line and say that you are right (absolutely) and Szwagier is wrong. The Swagman has a very good idea of where I am on this and we have to beg to differ.
I hate being absolutist but I am my own judge and I am not for 'pleading out' this one.
Stick with it Grumpy - I certainly will. I will plead out as a last resort. That resort has never been reached (maybe one time on Wigan Pier).

anticant said...

Ginger: So pleased you are looking into the burrow. What happened? You pressed the wrong button. Please try again. Do become a regular visitor!

anticant said...

Thanks, anon. Good to know you agree - though whether or not anyone else agrees makes no difference to my stance. "Just walk away" is too easy: like the appeasers in the 1930s, and the loopy left in the 1940s and '50s who convinced themselves that Stalin's Soviets were a vegetarian's paradise.

And motivation, while it may be a mitigating factor, isn't the central issue. It's the impact of the irrational beliefs upon others that is the crux. The communication is the message received. I'm quite sure Dubya and Yo-yo Blair are convinced that their motives are whiter than white. Tell that to 650,000 dead Iraqis.

Szwagier said...

Bush and Blair are Christian - so they have irrational beliefs, and look at the mess they've created.

Communism was supremely rational - it made perfect sense. Look at the horrors it caused.

Can you see any difference? I can't.

anticant said...

Communism wasn't "supremely rational". It was based on a closed circuit of unfalsifiable assumptions, unverifiable on Popper's principle, just like any other religion or quasi-religion.

Szwagier said...

It seems to me it's a simple equation. If horrors are caused by people who believe irrational things and people who believe rational things, then it's pretty obvious that the beliefs themselves are irrelevant. The psycho will find his or her framework to justify their actions whatever.

Turning into a good guy/bad guy scenario like this isn't helpful.

Szwagier said...

Incidentally, I think it's time to point out that this whole discussion has arisen because I didn't make one of my points clearly enough and it was misinterpreted.

When I said, "it's only words", I was only talking about being labelled an intellectual fascist. Someone else's label, not mine. That's why I'm not bothered.

Funny how things go, isn't it?

anticant said...

The consequences for other people of that cast of mind are not "only words". I'm surprised you don't seem to grasp this obvious point.

Szwagier said...

It isn't just "that cast of mind", though, is it? It's "that cast of mind" in conjunction with a specific set of experiences and beliefs.

"Casts of mind" don't exist alone in the real world, they're always allied to an individual, with that individual's own baggage.

If I've decided, on the basis of my own baggage, that setting up conflicts in order to attack what I think someone might have meant is not a sensible way to proceed, then that's what I've decided. The only consequences that follow are those which flow from interaction with me, personally.

I have no direct influence or control over what happens in the world. I have a tiny degree of influence over what happens in my minuscule corner of it. That's all.

anticant said...

That's a very interesting point. Would you like to elaborate on it? I'd be pleased to put it up as a new post thread. [Am getting a bit fed up with doing all the burrow decorating myself!]

Szwagier said...

*slightly embarrassed*. I'm really not very good at philosophising - you may have noticed - but I could try, I suppose.

I certainly don't write this kind of thing on my own blog - doesn't fit.

Thanks for asking, I'll have a think about it and see if I've really got anything to say.

zola said...

Yes you two : that would be interesting for many others I think.

Look forward to that i do.

YellowDuck said...

Sorry but I don't remember ever having signed up to any programme re Zee Awkward Squad.

So if Anti wants to ban billst - fair dues. I think in his case he is absolutely right, although my personal opinion is irrelevant in this case.

My preferred mode of operandi would be to ignore a troll rather than to feed him or her.

anticant said...

Thanks, YD. billst and I have made our seasonal peace over on Pike's site [fascinating discussion on Angela's 'Shameless Advertising' thread - have you seen it?]

I don't think he's a troll - whatever that is - just a bit too insensitively provocative at times - and I'm not really a Georgina "chuck 'em off" type. I might even offer billst a mince pie if he pokes his nose into the burrow again. How's that for non-Christian charity?

YellowDuck said...

Freaky if anything.

Me like.

Oh and I just love a bit of harmony I do. So great that you and Billst kissed and made up ;)