Laugh at the State!

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'Tis
the season to be jolly, and so I for one am not about to allow the
rotten old "prowlers-that-be" to spoil it for me.

Instead,
in this Christmas season or — with a few notable qualifications
— at any time, we should laugh
heartily at the behaviour of those who think they own us and can
impose their evil schemes on our lives.

There
is a time for everything of course, and it's worth bearing in mind
that striking a bum note with a misplaced snort of disapproval can
land even the best of fellows in hot water.

Along
that line — though I won't say where and I won't say when — I do
remember only too well, many years ago, throwing caution
to the wind and laughing both loudly and scornfully at a rather
unsavoury policeman requiring a substantial contribution to his
personal welfare fund.

Now,
you may well join me in considering his offer of freedom of movement
in return to be wholly inadequate, but I do recall my response being
— if richly deserved — still perhaps, ill-timed. Perhaps
also it would be as well here, to advise the thoughtful reader that
in the presence of armed public officials, the use of any phrase
including the noun "parasite" should be weighed carefully
on the scales of risk versus reward.

Indeed,
it is with a heavy sigh and the kind of wry smile that goes with
a lesson well learned, that I unreservedly concede a mistake. It
goes without saying that the rest of the story bears me up in this.

Now
certainly, in the ensuing events, it was not my thumb that was busted,
my jaw that was socked, nor I that was stretched out on the pavement.
Nevertheless, I would not hesitate to acknowledge a profound lack
of wisdom, and a deep gratitude for a merciful Heaven that got me
out of a sticky situation of some magnitude — and largely unscathed.

Granted,
a doubting Thomas in a bout of gloom might still point out that
I may not quite have come up smelling of roses — but, all things
considered, one night in the clinker plus a private contribution
to assist in the thumb's recovery, could hardly come under the heading
"scathed."

Heaven
does deem it appropriate on occasion to reveal its otherwise mysterious
ways, which in this case — I later became aware — involved a relative
of the local dictator, putting a "word in season" in the
ear of the Inspector General of Police. Thankfully, words reaching
such elevated ears generally filter down through the ranks.

Yet,
after reflection, my own conduct since has undoubtedly been characterised
by the sure and certain knowledge that it is far preferable to render
unto Caesar's aides any such sum from the outside looking in, rather
than vice versa.

Nonetheless
— and notwithstanding some proviso that incorporates a moderate
dash of prudence — here's the nub of the issue: Laughing at them
at one time or another is truly our happy and holy lot according
to the Holy Scriptures — Psalms, Chapter 2 actually:

The
kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, [saying], “Let us break
Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who
sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision.

Of
course, the right-thinking element amongst us would never direct
derision within a mile of anyone trying to restrain those "brigands-writ-large"
with "cords," "bonds" or anything else readily
to hand, from the inside. That is, like a Daniel, a Joseph, a Ron
Paul even — or any decent sort trying to do the right thing in trying
places where it's scarcely possible to step outside the office without
bumping into a jobsworth of some kind.

Still
— nothing quite takes the wind from the sails of a pompous ass more
than the growing realization that his opponents no longer weigh
his proposals with grave foreboding. And, if ever there was a time
to put the distasteful characters and activities of the Busybody
Class right on the butt end of a joke, it's now — in the season
of merriment.

So,
I'm just going to list a bunch of movies, TV series, books and even
games that might help you do so, and that have done the very same
for my own household.

I'll
also list a few that may well curl your lip into a sneer of derision
as you eye the exposed monolith disparagingly from top to toe.

And
I'll add one or two that soundly castigate the State while we cheer
our heroic freedom lovers as they come out on top:

Laugh
at the State — not with it

There
is one outstanding TV series that has such an atmosphere, and that
makes my family laugh so much, we must have watched each episode
a half dozen times. The overall look and production values are the
very highest — almost to Technicolor standards. It is the wonderful
A&E channel serialization of Rex Stout's "Nero
Wolfe
" mysteries.

This
show gives the police a thorough drubbing whenever they behave like
bullies — although it treats them civilly enough when they actually
apprehend a wrongdoer (usually handed to them on a plate). Even
the FBI and eventually J. Edgar Hoover himself are given a sound
thrashing in my personal favourite, the movie-length episode called
"The Doorbell Rang."

Here
is a typical first-class clip from an episode where the police are
denied
sandwiches
for blocking off Wolfe's
study.

Rex
Stout was a good friend of P.G. Wodehouse — which leads me on to
Jeeves
and Wooster
, that marvellous best
of British TV series — with perhaps some slight influence on the
tone of this article.

Wodehouse
generally reflects older and better values, with the police actually
regarded as servants, not lords and masters, of the public — even
perhaps overly servile to their betters. But few sights stimulate
good old Christmas cheer like watching a "Bobby" being
clipped round the ear, such as in this
spiffing clip
from "Jeeves Saves
The Cow Creamer."

Wodehouse
was unfairly accused of Nazi sympathies, but in both the books and
the series, the Hitlerian Spode and his ridiculous authoritarian
grand plans are frequently trimmed
down to size
. Fair is fair, so the
commies get put in their place too, especially in "Comrade
Bingo
." Even pompous elite feudalism
gets biffed on the sniffer when the nephew of a noble Lord wants
to marry a waitress and Jeeves is assigned the task of softening
him up.

Reading
a Jeeves and Wooster story always makes a chap laugh out loud, but
P.G. Wodehouse also had other highly amusing characters. I particularly
recommend the "Mr.
Mulliner
" books of short stories
— and don't miss "Mulliners Buck-U-Uppo." Also recommended
is Galahad
at Blandings Castle
. Galahad for example,
notes after a much needed restorative snifter that, "it didn't
float like a butterfly or sting like bee, but did carry with it
a certain air of quiet authority." On another occasion, a disapproving
relative gives him "the kind of look that could open an oyster
at 40 paces."

Next,
the bungling, incompetent Maxwell Smart of the original Get
Smart
TV series could be a good
antidote to any misplaced awe of the secretive snooping bureaucracies.
The recent
Get Smart movie
is very funny
too, though with one or two not quite family-friendly moments.

Recently
released on DVD, The
Race To Witch Mountain
is a ridiculous
sci-fi action film — but is also full of laughs and makes the government
look bad, so it gets a worthy mention. It is an absolutely top notch
Disney family film — even adults can enjoy it.

Lastly,
if you can find a copy of Laurel and Hardy's classic "Pack
Up Your Troubles" it is one of their best. Dodging the draft
is all part of the fun, even when Stan bungles it. Then the true
cost of war means the pals dutifully try to find an orphaned little
girl's nearest relatives. After Ollie stands up to a sour social
worker by asking how much he would charge to haunt a house, the
boys are then hotly pursued by snooty officials trying to seize
and institutionalize the child….

Holding
the State in derision

A
lot of healthy, family-friendly derision — at the expense of officialdom
— is inevitable while watching the first and possibly best of the
old Perry
Mason television shows
. These
are quality productions, properly filmed and with scripts supervised
by Earl Stanley Gardner himself to ensure clever mysteries, and
always with a twist in the tale.

"Hamilton
Burger," the State prosecutor, is constantly jumping to conclusions,
terrorising innocent people — and then being humiliated for it.
Amazingly, he somehow still retains a cordial relationship with
Mason outside the courtroom. The Perry Mason show was very popular
at the time and clearly contributed toward some later reining in
of prosecutorial and police abuse.

We
watch very little current television. Instead, for the last year
or so we have often enjoyed a "Perry" in the evening.

Down
with the State

On
the off-chance that any reader has missed a freedom classic, I will
briefly mention a few movies that are thoroughly enjoyable, even
without full-blown hilarity.

The
Bourne Trilogy
almost goes without
saying. The only cinema trip I have made since childhood was to
see The Bourne Ultimatum. The outstanding fight with "Desh"
in Morocco had me bracing for every blow and intensely gripping
my seat all the way through.

Apocalypto.
An amazing and unique film directed by Mel Gibson, about escape
from tyranny in the old world of Central and South America.

The
Manchurian Candidate
is a brilliant,
complex conspiracy thriller — with close parallels to real life.

Shooter
is almost in the same league as the Bournes, with an unfolding anti-war,
anti-state conspiracy storyline. The film was hated by the neocons
— so the kneejerk principle alone dictates you must watch it. In
places there is some ugly personal abuse and one or two F-words
to go with it, but it is sound overall.

Finally,
everyone knows about the fabulous Gladiator, but perhaps not that
there is an extended
version
with an extra 17 minutes film
time plus numerous documentaries available.

I'll
also include the foul-mouthed Enemy
of the State
as an otherwise very
good film. Despite the overwhelming language and some screaming
matches I nevertheless liked it so much that years ago I edited
a special version for the whole family to watch.

Equilibrium,
Minority
Report
and Open
Range
are all fine films that
either target or exclude Public Enemy No. 1.

Lastly,
put on the list The
Count of Monte Cristo
(2002) with
Jim Caviezel. The system absorbs and then assists the main bad guy
in this excellent family action film.

The
Ultimate State Buster?

The
Lord of the Rings trilogy targets so well and in such detail, so
many aspects of the lust for power — and strikes right at the heart
of the State's existence. So perhaps consider watching once again
the Lord of the Rings films. They will make you laugh at, sneer
at or even curse the evil concept of exercising Power over others
— or of being deceived into grovelling servitude.

Shun
the State.

In
the moments when laughter and derision subside, give the purloiners-that-be
the cold shoulder by ignoring them. We have much better things to
think about — new enterprises, projects, challenges, family, friends,
enjoying life and helping people.

Some
computer games do generally ignore or sideline officialdom and some
have been enjoyed for years by my children:

Runescape
is a free online game with optional paid upgrades. Amazingly, a
middle-aged customer of mine, an engineer by trade, called me out
just to fix his computer for Runescape — having picked up the habit
from his young son. It's not up my street at all, but my boys particularly
like this game — and it has at least some merit, teaching buying
and selling, profit and loss.

Voyage
Century
is an excellent free online
game. It is all about free trade and very educational. Sail your
own ship around the globe in the 16th century to trade,
buy, sell, fight pirates etc. choose to accept or (hint) reject
government contracts — and all to a nice, uplifting classical sound
score. Highly recommended.

All
girls like "Neopets"
and boys too. They can create their own pet and score points in
a pet world of games and activities. All for free. Good fun for
younger children (up to the teen years).

All
boys like swords, knives, guns and shooting — it is just natural.
The trouble is many "shoot 'em up" games are rooted in
militaristic propaganda. But there are good shooters that aren't:

Far
Cry
is an older game now but still
has very good graphics. The story and game-play are excellent and
it is not a military campaign environment. Jack Carver gets washed
ashore on an island full of murderous Blackwater type mercenaries.
Some mild coarseness and attitude is evident — the strongest being
"your a** is grass!" (my retort: "your nose is blown!").
But it is gripping fun — for adults too. Online it is a real laugh-out-loud
game, with just a red team and a blue team.

Lord
of the Rings, "The Battle for Middle Earth" and Lord
of the Rings Conquest
are also good
action games that my boys have spent quite some time on. There are
a number of other good LOTR games, including a paid online version.

Rollercoaster
Tycoon 3
is getting on now, but for
young ones who have never played it, it can offer hours of educational
fun. In fact, this game is a great lesson in free enterprise economics.

A
"Happy Ending" Christmas

Goodwill
between people is pleasantly and noticeably more evident at Christmas
time, but the actual words of the angels at Bethlehem were:

"Glory
to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!
"

The
good news remembered at Christmas is that God the Son came into
the world to pay our penalty so we can legally be acquitted, have
peace with God, and enjoy liberty — all as a free gift — both here
and hereafter. That is the goodwill that was shown toward us.

The
choice to accept that gift and stay with it — by refusing any fear
or despair and choosing to "rejoice
in the Lord always
" — is
my final and best personal recommendation to you in the holiday
season and beyond:

"
be of good cheer, I have overcome the world
"

The
real test of good cheer and of hope is the ability to laugh when
a problem or enemy comes to our attention. Let's laugh at our enemy
the State like it was Wile E. Coyote. (Maybe stick "Roadrunner"
on the viewing list.)

So
the next time the blighters-that-be make you feel like loosing off
a few blankety-blanks — don't let them get to you. Have faith and
laugh in derision instead — you'll feel better almost immediately.

As
long as there are those who will do that, there's hope that at the
end of this hair-raising episode, and the evil bounders will be
forced to say through gritted teeth, "Blast! Foiled again!"

Have
a happy Christmas.

December
19, 2009

Paul
Green [send him mail] was
born in the UK and currently works from home there as an independent
emergency callout specialist for home and small business computer
users. He is married with five children – all at home –
and the three of school age are homeschooled. Over the years he
has also traded the financial futures markets and worked as a one-stop
advertising copywriter/ voice-over artist/ music and jingle producer.

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