A Little Knowledge in All the Wrong Hands

But before we get to that—poor Meghan Marple, Duchess of Sussex! Right?

That’s all. I start my day with that simple novena to the difficulty of being a beige-colored quasi-Royal in a world where pink-and-white full-bore Royals are no longer respected, even coming as they do from a long, distinguished line of Mountbatten-Windsor-Bowes-Lyon cannibals and pedophiles.

It’s a great, big baby buffet across the pond, with Buckingham Palace, so I gather, serving up hearty boy-babies alongside the kippers and kidneys for heart-attack-on-a-plate breaking of the fast, and delicate girl-babies (at least, the ones that Hillary rejected as too scrawny to top a pizza) piped with vanilla Royal Icing—we all thought a Royal Icing was when Liz refused to take your hand at your investiture as CBE, but we stand corrected—and propped up, ready for post-mortem photography, in a bed of cucumber sarnies and Chelsea buns—we all thought Chelsea buns was the reason Charles married Di, but etc. etc.—for High Tea.

Served in the Red Death room, down the corridor, third door to the right, mate. Just listen up for the chants of “Hail Satan, Hello Alice!” You can’t miss it!

Like you, I believe absolutely everything I’m told or read in the QAnon papers, and then some. Just so I don’t give up ALL my individuality, I add a little bit of detail to own it, to make it my bespoke bit of jaw-dropping truth.

Did your friend die from Covid-19? Don’t be such a Gullible Gertie! Obviously she was abducted.

The fact that there’s no evidence for the abduction and enough evidence for the pandemic to fill an underground car park is simply proof of how clever the deep state is at propaganda, and how even more clever are the aliens at covering their tracks. It’s win-win, with both wins for whoever’s better at shouting over you.

We love the Royals, don’t we, because they Do Good Deeds with the trillion GBP’s they’ve stolen from history’s serfs and all those savages with bones in their noses that Britain rescued from the awful fate of not owning hoop skirts or understanding the market value of beaver pelts. God knows how many times Liz and Phillip (“Susan” to his friends) choked down a spoonful of armadillo soup or rack of field mouse for the sake of propriety and keeping the natives happy and their ceremonies colorful.

Why do you think Liz wears those hats? Somewhere handy to vomit up that armadillo soup while Chief Reginald Smith’s watching the dancing girls, right? Blimey!

Now, of course, Philip’s gone to his reward. I have it on good authority that God, Jesus, Saint Peter, and any other members of the Heavenly Host who aren’t on long-term disability from the stress of deciding which babies get cancer and which just end up living in Nunavut, have been brainstorming for an absolute eternity on this one. And seriously, what reward could possibly surpass eating filet mignon off Princess Eugenie’s buttocks or drinking tea from an emerald-encrusted mug inscribed “Yours, always, Jeffrey E.”? Top that, Ghost-Buddies In the Sky!

So, Good Deeds. Blow me over with a particle accelerator when Meghan and Harry actually decided to take on the one Good Deed everyone was hoping for but never seemed to get: dissolving the Monarchy.

At least they made a start, flipping the bird at those useless toffs at the Pally and retiring to a life of quiet self-sacrifice, a life much like yours or mine, in a Bel Air mansion, just a short rickshaw ride from Oprah’s estate.

Altogether now: Poor Meghan! She’s the Duchess of Dangerfield: she just can’t get no respect from the authentic, born-better-than-you-out-of-sheer-randomness Royals. We had all just that very minute unruffled our pin feathers after her startling assertion, during her “tell us nothing we didn’t know” Oprah interview, that the ordained-by-God leaders of the nation that gave us the word “wog” had exhibited just the teensiest bit of racism once our backs were turned, when yet another bombshell dropped.

Now the world was in a positive uproar of every possible flavor of who-gives-a-fuck when our willowy Princess of Color and her randy redhead decided to christen their second sprog “Lilibet,” the Queen’s childhood nickname, without consultation.

Lèse majesté! Would they be boiled in oil? Decapitated? Attainted? Racked and screwed?

No. Their punishment, or actually, ours, comes shortly after the suicide bombers wipe out everyone in the line of succession, leaving us with only Queen Lilibet I to carry on, regardless. How common! But at least we were spared King Haz, Queen Consort Gladys, Duchess Zed of Toffeeham, and Empress Beabea of Overbite.

To paraphrase Marilyn Monroe’s ditzy starlet in All About Eve: Why do they all look like ecstatically happy rabbits?

Good works

The Queen’s Bedroom, April 9th, 2021. Early morning.

Cecily, Lady In Waiting: Your Majesty.

Elizabeth: (removing the gel pack from her eyes) What —

Sorry to waken you, Your Majesty, but I’m afraid I have some terrible news

Oh, no, Cecily. Please don’t tell me

I’m afraid so, Your Majesty.

Well, identify the useless twat who keeps burning the toast and give them the sack!

It’s not the toast this time.

Oh, bloody hell. It’s Susan, is it? Susan’s gone? Kicked the bucket?

Please don’t call him that, Ma’am.

No? Shan’t I? Cecily, listen to me: Greece and Denmark. Hmm?

Well, I do see your point, but—

Seventy years of “Just close your eyes and think of Snowden!” Simply ghastly! It’s a wonder we managed the four. No magic purple pills in those days, my dear. We understood duty back then. Just hiked up our farthingales and got on with it !

Yes, Ma’am.

Well, so he’s shuffled off, had to happen sooner or later, poor old sod. Hangin’ by a thread and packet of Boots panty pads. Give me a sec while I spread out… Bit more room nowoh, that’s the stuff, the sheets are lovely and cool! Fancy, Cecily, I can touch the cool bits with my toes!

Ma’am, please! I know you must be in shock, but you must try to pull yourself together

Oh, dear, you’re right. You’re absolutely right, I’m avoiding. Thank you for pointing that out, Cecily. Yes, well. Ahem. Susan’s gone—sorry, HRH the Duke, and I’m all alone in this great cruise ship of a bed, and it’s all frightfully sad, and… and life just isn’t going to be the same. Is it. Kind of thing—?

I’m—so very sorry, Your Majesty. About the Duke—

Never you mind! Can’t be helped! Pshaw! Now, dry your eyes, Cecily, because for the rest of the week I think I’ll take a jolly old jaunt up to Balmoral, waste a few deer, what do you think? Second-best Range Rover? Hmmm? Keep the old pecker up, no point getting all down in the mouthoooh, don’t forget to call the BBC—

We’ve already notified them, and then there’s—the funeral arrangements

Oh, yes. There’s a thought. Dear, dear. Well, how about find that Stella McCartney I wore to Tonga and dye it black. No point shelling out for something new, wear it once and off it goes to the Science Museum! Or dig up that number I wore for Diana, it’ll stink to high heaven of mothballs but just run it up a flagpole or something, give it a good airing. Unless it’s in the V & A?

You had Missus Parker-Bowles shred it and Purolator it to The Earl Spencer, if you recall, Ma’am.

Yes, indeed I did, and what fun! Cecily, you’re an absolute poppet, you always know what to say to cheer me up! Now, moving forward. It’s a new day, my dear! Tell the footman I’m ready for brekkies, and can he please leave the bag in this time. And extra Cooper’s Oxford for the toast.

Very well, Ma’am.

Oh, and Cecily ?

Ma’am ?

Just the one spoon, though.

Here’s how it works: That study that you spent fifteen minutes reading, even though you maxed-out your scientific career in grade nine, the study that “proves” that the risk of vaccination is much higher than they’re letting on, proves that the study is faulty, nothing more and nothing less. That’s because it “proves” something that, taking the majority of scientific studies into account, cannot be true.

That’s right. The fact that it’s an outlier counts against it, not for it. It’s not the brave face of a renegade scientist revealing secrets of the Deep State. It’s the shameful, engineered result of someone with an agenda or the embarrassing outcome of someone who is incompetent at the basic design of a peer-reviewed study.

I may seem rather touchy on the subject. This is because I was the willing victim of a Twitter pile-on (or is it peon? I always get them mixed up) for daring to suggest that the public need not be privy to the esoteric conversations of scientists, seeing as the public is barely competent at remembering their Twitter password, let alone interpreting arcane data:

Don’t click on it, dear, it’s just a screenshot.

I was quoted at by angry Twits who’d dredged up info on vaccine “dangers”, and called a nasty snob by more angry Twits who wanted to defend the right of ignoramus publicus to make damn fools of themselves.

But seriously. A little knowledge is a very, very dangerous thing, probably worse than no knowledge at all. I wouldn’t be a snob for suggesting that most people wouldn’t be able to open the hood of their car and point out the carburetor, let alone fix it. I certainly couldn’t, could you?

Can we accept that there is specialty knowledge in the world, and specialists in that knowledge, and that scientific knowledge, peer-reviewed, tested and re-tested, and always contingent on new knowledge being revealed, is some of the most, if not THE most, reliable knowledge that exists?

We rely, as Jarod Lanier famously pointed out, on an exquisitely beautiful, all-encompassing web of trust in this world. Every time we step into an elevator, or enter a building, or cross a bridge, or stick a Pop-Tart in the toaster, we are handing over oodles of trust that the makers of these things employed their specialist knowledge competently, and that we will be whisked to the 49th floor, gaze up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling, end up on the other side of the river, or be transported to Pop-Tart heaven without incident. A thousand-thousand times a day we rely on this web of trust.

But I could no more engineer a bridge, calculate its load-bearing capacity or lay its foundations than I could flap my arms and fly to the moon.

And I’m forgetting airplanes! How very much we rely on the attentiveness of airline mechanics and engineers. To those of you who think checking your emails for correct use of the Oxford comma counts as “being OCD”, I am not ashamed to admit I’d like airline mechanics to be certified obsessive-compulsive before taking one of those flying coffins which we’re assured are safer to slip into than our bathtubs.

Well, I assure you I count zero times for the occasions on which I have slipped into my bathtub, been depressurized, then sucked into my living room, frozen solid and wearing only one shoe and a pair of cheap earphones.

Given all of these everyday examples of underlying trust, why then do we insist that science and the scientific method, which demand a lifetime of intellectual commitment to truth and verifiable evidence, is a football scrum for the masses? These are the same people who don’t get that Dr. Fauci, who should have his own ticker tape parade for his heroism in funding AIDS research, among his many achievements, was simply reporting new knowledge as it happened, and is not a sneaky conspirator pulling the wool over our eyes.

This isn’t snobbery. It’s heuristics. It’s a chance for our brains to say, “OK, I’m taking the short-cut on this one. He’s a scientist who agrees with a thousand other scientists, I’m gonna trust what he says.”

I just received my first dose of the vaccine. Competently administered at a community centre one block from my home, with almost no waiting in line, no muss or fuss. (The fact that I waited since April to receive this, even though I followed all the instructions for reserving a time online, is a mark against our incompetent provincial leaders, not the scientists who informed them.)

And I can’t count the people who asked, “Which one are you going to get? Make sure it’s not the —— !”

Holy Mary and the Magdalene too! How would I possibly assess “which vaccine” I should ask for? They’re all fine, dears! When did you garner your PhD in virology? In between sleeping in the park and shoplifting dinner at Loblaws?

I’m Canadian, through and through. I trust science, and the advice of scientists, unfiltered by political agendas. I trust “peace, order and good government”: Good government. The one that we, the people, voted for.

The only thing I fear from government is when we can no longer get rid of the people who govern. That’s when we’re no longer living in a democracy.

That’s what our hapless provincial leader Doug Ford and his fellow Conservatives understand, which is why he has extended the ban on political advertising by a factor of weeks before the next election, to ensure that negative information — not just about his cruel policies anymore, but also about his tragic mishandling of the pandemic — won’t sully his chances when the reckoning comes.

This is, do you remember, the second time he has invoked the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter to overturn a court ruling he didn’t like (sound familiar, American friends?).

(The infamous “notwithstanding” clause in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms makes it possible to suspend a limited, specific instance of those rights and freedoms for a period of five years, if it is judged to be of compelling public importance to do so. It’s the nuclear option and meant to be exercised only in the most dire situations. Got that? This is like giving a bunch of Kinder Surprises to some pre-schoolers and saying, “Be sure not to swallow the tiny plastic toys, OK?”)

The first instance of compelling importance, to Doug if no one else, was to enable his redrawing of Toronto’s wards to favor his cronies and punish his enemies in the midst of a municipal council election; and in this instance to silence critics; both times because he, like American conservatives, realizes that he would never win a fair contest, and that most people want him gone.

Hell, most people want him 

Well, being such a fine and upright Christian, I can’t say it.

I’m taking a much needed break until September. See you then! In the meantime I’ll fob you off with resurfacings of the best of my blog. Lucky ol’ you, eh?

Don’t forget to visit Future Progressive for interesting merch, and to sign up for the newsletter for groovy insider benefits whenever I get around to it.

Have a safe and vaccinated August.

Tell us what you think. Keep it civil, yet interesting.