My email to the Marriage Equality Straw Man

by Haught 0 Comments

marriage equality straw man

Dear Marriage Equality Straw Man,

I have it on good authority that you are being very rude to a group of people who have done not the slightest thing to deserve your animus. 

These people – I’d call them my clients, but I’m working on their behalf without payment or even consent, so that’s probably a very small step too far – merely wish to exercise their democratic right. Their right to deny others rights. 

And dignity. 

And a sense of equality, and so feeling of belonging in society. 

How dare you roll your eyes at their beliefs. How dare you scoff at their values. How dare you spit at their feet just before they lycra up and get sweaty with their cycling chums. How dare you drown out their voices by firing rainbow Kalashnikovs into the sky whenever they begin to proffer their opinion and by sending a glitter-encrusted wrecking ball through the spires and minarets of their places of worship whenever they mention their religious convictions… … Read the rest

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The Haught guide to learning fast

The kodiak bear, native to Alaska, can smell a mound of discarded roast pork, curdled custard and overcooked carrots in the Southern Hemisphere

Newcomers to Benign to Five, a column which I occasionally transpose into blog form for your delectation, may not be aware that, for a short period in the 1990s, I worked at the all-you-can-inhale restaurant, Smorgy’s (Burwood). Patrons entered through a fibreglass volcano and every three to five months thick black smoke spewed from its roof; these two facts were entirely unrelated.

In my 35-day period of employment at this venerable house of engorgement, I learnt almost everything I’ve ever needed to know in my professional career.

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Pranker or wanker? (I still don’t know if I was being stooged)

practical joke zing

Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched at work? Or at least felt that the client, colleague or customer you were dealing with was such a clown that you must have been the butt of a practical joke?

More than a year ago, I completed a ‘collaborative project’. Collaborative project is the term foisted upon the debacle by others. In fact, it was an encounter with a person apparently dragged out into reality, through the fourth wall, from inside a very badly written comedy television show dealing in the most facile stereotypes. 

I appreciate little in the world more than mischief. And a really sophisticated practical joke is one of the ultimate expressions of mischievousness. So I spent many quiet moments during this futile assignment excited by the possibility that I was being stooged.

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My email to you (about why I’m on Instagram)

Haught Instagram

 

Dear devotees, stalwhaughts and innocent bystanders,

I’ve called this an email in the heading, but it’s not really. It’s more like an open letter.

To be honest, I don’t like open letters; they’re all for show. Open letters are flamboyantly hurled into the ether in a show of look-at-me self-gratification. Emails, by contrast, are sent directly to a recipient and are supposed to be read by that person. My emails are genuine attempts to make contact with an individual or entity about a topic of gravity and immediate import (it’s not my fault if other people want to electronically read the beautifully written correspondence over that recipient’s shoulder). 

And here’s my problem, and the reason for my non-email. In the case of most of you, I’m unable to get into direct contact. (In fact, many of you who should, by rights, be reading this, aren’t – a jovial un-hello to you.)

In short: emails get to people – this piece of correspondence will miss a huge proportion of you. 

Let me explain it as simply and un-boringly as possible:

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Haught Take: is the rudest word “cunt”?

I’ve just got on to the The Allusionist, the best words-related podcast I’ve found. I highly recommend it.
 
I decided to start from the beginning and the fourth episode from back at the start of 2015 is all about profanity. Host Helen Zaltzman takes a poll on what people think is the rudest word in the language and the winner by a long way is “cunt”.
 
It got me thinking about what I consider to be the most offensive item in the modern Australian lexicon.
Read the rest
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The Haught guide to end-of-year parties

Don't dance at work parties

This may be my last post of the year before Jesus turns 2017, so I thought I’d give you my tips on resurrection from death.

Only joking – that’s blasphemous and requires many more than 500-odd words to properly explain.

I’m actually going to give my advice on end-of-year work parties. I wrote down 16,000 during my lunch break – here are ten of the OK ones:… Read the rest

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How good words turn bad

buzzwords wasteland

The items that we now categorise as weasel words, wank language and corporate buzzwords weren’t always the indefensible, indecipherable brain-slop of desk-shackled keyboard tappers.

Almost every single one began as a word or term that didn’t make you want to chainsaw it alive and throw its corpse into an abandoned quarry.

Some were very good words: think of bespoke, curate and granular.

Some were not quite so pleasing to look at or say, but had delightful original meanings: think of journey, storytelling or kicking goals.

And some were fairly plain but serviceable: think of action (the noun), drive and disrupt

Each of them has succumbed. Action has become an entirely unnecessary verb. Journey, drive and disrupt have reached epidemic proportions and have lost almost all meaning to the point where “Let’s drive a disruption journey” would now be considered a perfectly legitimate (possibly an “innovative”) sentence in many offices. Storytelling is what a lot of people who can’t tell stories profess to do exceptionally well these days. Etc, etc. 

Yes, each of the has succumbed, but not in a single, fell swoop. Instead they have succumbed in a relatively lengthy process of bollocksification. It can take many forms, but it usually goes something like this:… Read the rest

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ParentHaught: Lessons learnt from the University of Fatherhood

University of Fatherhood

Before I became a father, when people told me that parenthood was a great educator, I would scoff with the flamboyant malice of a reality dating show villain and walk out of the room.

Since our daughter was born, however, I’ve learnt some important lessons, one of the most vital being that suddenly leaving somebody alone in a room can make them very very upset to the point where they forget to breathe, leak saliva from the mouth and slam half a banana in your eye when you return and try to console them.

It turns out those I had ridiculed were right. Sorry to all of you reading this that I did scoff on.

Many of the things I’ve come to understand since becoming partly responsible for our little marshmallow addict are applicable outside the world of domesticity.

Here are just a few:… Read the rest

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Is Mondayitis real?

Mondayitis.

Mondays. Unless you genuinely love your job, are a massive nerd or one of those evangelical Self-Motivators (“I will empower myself to start this week with AWESOME!”), Mondays can be troublesome.

But is Mondayitis an actual, serious psychophysiological illness or just a throwaway malady akin to man flu and hose buttock? To find out, I asked former GP and practising psychologist Dr Egan Patiens.… Read the rest

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