Friday, November 23, 2007

The Salteens and the Pepperonis

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two planets were separated by ten million miles of dark and frozen space.

The planet Salt was sparsely populated by the Salteens, a strong and happy people. They lived in simple cardboard dwellings and subsisted on a special kind of pebble, of which there was an abundant supply.

On the planet Pepper lived a progressive people, the Pepperonis. Unfortunately, they suffered from tyrants who oppressed the Pepperoni people, controlling their thoughts. The Pepperonis were numerous and prolific, and eventually occupied all the space on Pepper.

Some brave Pepperonis decided to escape the tyranny and over-crowding on Pepper and embark on the long and dangerous space voyage to Salt, where there was rumoured to be more room and fewer tyrants.

The Pepperonis, being somewhat advanced, had many trinkets. They were used to having their trinkets with them at all times, and so they filled their space-ship with a multitude of trinkets, hoping to befriend and appease the Salteens.

After many failed attempts, a few Pepperonis finally arrived on Salt. For the most part, the Salteens welcomed the Pepperonis. The Salteens coveted the trinkets of the Pepperonis, and agreed to allow the Pepperonis to occupy some of the space on Salt.

The Pepperonis made good use of the space they were given in exchange for the trinkets. Being a prolific people, they soon outnumbered the Salteens. The Salteens enjoyed the trinkets, and since they had an ample supply of pebbles, they stayed in their cardboard dwellings, playing with the trinkets and eating the pebbles.

After a time, the Salteens grew un-happy. The Pepperonis were taking up too much space, and playing with the trinkets was making the Salteens weak. They tried to send the Pepperonis home, but they were just too numerous. Besides, the Salteens had not learned how to make the trinkets which they so coveted, and therefore had to tolerate the Pepperonis. The once strong and happy Salteens tired of their diet of pebbles and became weaker and more un-happy, while the Pepperonis kept making better use of the space and so they prospered.

Soon, the Pepperonis needed more space. The Salteens did not want to give up any more space to the Pepperonis, but they could not live without the trinkets. The Pepperonis took the space from the Salteens, giving them more and more trinkets in return, which made the Pepperonis stronger and the Salteens weaker and more un-happy.

The Salteens felt resentment toward the Pepperonis who had taken their space. The Pepperonis felt resentment toward the Salteens, who were using more and more of the trinkets, forcing the Pepperonis to work long hours making the trinkets while the Salteens relaxed in their cardboard dwellings eating the pebbles.

One day, a space ship arrived from Pepper with bad news. Pepper had suffered a cataclysmic earthquake that had destroyed almost all the trinkets on the planet. Feeling some allegiance to their ancestral home, the Pepperonis began sending all the trinkets back to Pepper. As the trinkets of the Salteens wore out, they could not be replaced, and the Salteens became more and more un-happy and resentful.

Eventually, life became too difficult for the Pepperonis who had emmigrated to Salt. They worried about their homeland, and they grew tired of the shortage of trinkets and the resentment of the Salteens. Tyrants had begun to control the thoughts of the Pepperonis, so they built many space-ships, loaded all the trinkets aboard, and returned to Pepper, leaving the neo-tyrants behind. They re-built the planet Pepper, marinated the Pepper-tyrants in soya sauce, discovered birth-control and lived happily ever after.

The Salteens, left behind on their barren but spacious planet, had to go back to eating pebbles. They were weak and un-happy at first, and were furious at the Pepperoni tyrants left behind, who were of no use to the Salteens as the sum total of their knowledge was thought-control, not trinket-making. They piled pebbles on the tyrants until they occupied no space at all.

Gradually, the Salteens got used to not having any trinkets. Over time, the trinkets and the Pepperonis were but a faint memory. The Salteens became a strong and happy people once again. Each morning the Salteens would rise and admire their space, then spend the rest of the day in their cardboard dwellings, eating pebbles while the Salteen elders told strange legends of Pepperonis and trinkets.

(The writer of this piece has been warned by his employer, The Big Kahuna Pepperoni Company, that his writings are "offensive and culturally insensitive". Therefore, I have chosen, at his request, to keep his identity confidential - Larry)

Photo: A typical Salteen dwelling. Note the trinket in the front yard. A Salteen is demonstrating a traditional greeting. On the left we see a stockpile of pebbles.


Jen said...

I am sad to hear your blog is being scrutinized. You are brave for speaking about certain issues. I find myself keeping it safe (even about worldly issues) and rambling all too many times about just the weather.

Anonymous said...
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David Puddy said...

Bob (RIP)

Trinkets are not intrinsically bad per se, but overuse and idolizing them does lead to an unhealthy dependence upon trinkets of any sort.

Trinkets are good only for distraction, not for sustenance, a lesson hard learned by the Salteen's. If the Pepperonis have wisdom, they will heed the lesson of the Salteen's.

Would the Salteen's have fared any better if some of the inhabitants of the other more distant planetoids, like the Colas or the Mozzarella's, had visited them first?

Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

This is certainly an attempt remain onside within the pervebial game of "SAND BAGGING". For those who don't know this game the objective of it to bury your head in the sand as deep as possible so that you become oblivious to everything that is going on around you. The winner of the game usually find themselves awarded a cushy job within the senior ranks of the Pepperoni Government.

Where have all the leaders gone? Is it not time for someone to stand up and be counted even it means having to defend their right to do so?

Your employers concerns, while genuine, could have been addressed in a different manner. Perhaps more could have been achieved through a face to face without prejudice discussion. It may have allowed for a free exchange of thoughts, ideas and who knows; they may have even learned something. Instead, their tac reminds me of the local sh*t truck which recently went inoperative. Apparently it could blow…but for some strange reason, it couldn’t suck.

Maybe that’s what is needed here. Someone occupying a big kahuna position to stand up and suck in all B*LL S**T Don’t worry, if more than one person is up for the challenge, there’s a lot it to go around.


Cosmo said...

The Mozzarellas are definitely into organized, interplanetary crime. I doubt there would be any profit to be made from the Salteens, and therefore no reason to visit their planet.

The Colas are war-like. Although, as we know, the Salteens are the only ones whose digestive systems are adapted to eating the pebbles, it is still possible that the Colas would try to enslave them with a view to depriving them of their space.

However, the Colas could not survive on Salt, with its corrosive atmosphere. And, of course, they would be unable to transport the space to their home planet.



David Puddy said...

The Mozzerella's are into 'legalized' interplanetary crime, and the Cola's are also warlike, but with much more subtle & stealthy tactics. But what is really at issue here is this: The cracker terra firma of the Saltine's has great potential for making and fueling spaceships, something the Pepperoni's, Cola's and Mozzerella's are acutely aware of. This story is far from over. Rather it is the calm before the storm.

Anonymous said...

Of course! Why didn't I think of that? It's so obvious.

It's also possible that the Salteen's previous weakness for trinkets could be resurrected by the Mozzarellas, allowing them to take advantage by boot-legging poor-quality trinkets at exhorbitant prices.

I think we need to tell the authorities about this!


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob

Enjoy your blog very much. Regarding the right of free speeach, I thought you'd enjoy this David Warren article.


December 16, 2007
In the olden days, in this country, people who were hurtin' sang a country song. I remember my little sister, when she was eight years of age, singing one in the kitchen, while affecting to wash some dishes. The lyrics were, as I recall: “My daddy hates me. / My mommy hates me. / My brubber hates me. / Everybody hates me and I'm / not very happy.” It needed at least a banjo.

These days in Canada, if you're feeling down and blue, and you think somebody hates you, you bring your case to a Human Rights Tribunal. And the people you think hate you get that knock on the door, celebrated in the literature of the Soviet Gulag, and wherever else ideology triumphed over humanity in the 20th century's painful course. Your daddy, your mommy, your brubber, or more likely some newspaper pundit gets dragged before a committee of smug, leftwing, humourless, jargon-blathering adjudicators. After long delays that are costly only to the defendant and the taxpayer (and justice delayed is justice denied), you will have the satisfaction of making your enemy squirm, in a kangaroo court where he is stripped of the right to due process, in which there are no fixed rules of evidence, in which the ridiculously biased “judges” make up the law as they go along, and impose penalties restricted only by their grimly limited imaginations -- such as ruinous fines, and lifetime "cease and desist" orders, such that, if you ever open your mouth again on a given topic, you stand to go to prison.

Then finally, on “some autumn night of delations and noyades” (I am quoting Auden), the unrepentant practitioners of free speech will be sequestered by their litigator, and “those he hates shall hate themselves instead.”

Alan Borovoy, one of the pioneers of these star chambers in Canada, now expresses himself aghast at their powers, and how they are being used to bring an end to Canada's heritage of free speech and free press. As he wrote in the Calgary Herald, recently: "During the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create [these] commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech."

Against him, it must be said that he and his colleagues simply weren't listening when I and mine explained, decades ago, why this would be their inevitable effect. I think back, for instance, to the dismissals we received when I published Ian Hunter's important article, “What's Wrong with Human Rights,” in the Idler magazine of April 1985. Everything that has happened since has confirmed our darkest predictions.

Including the darkest of those predictions: that intellectuals and the Canadian media simply would not care about defending even their own freedom. They would see it as a Left-Right issue, and being overwhelmingly people of the Left themselves, would actually approve the stifling of “racists” and “misogynists” and “born again crazies.”

But to paraphrase the late Pastor Martin Niemöller: “First they came for the redneck trolls, and I did not speak out because I was not a redneck troll. Then they came for the male chauvinist pigs, and I did not speak out because I was not a male chauvinist pig. Then they came for Mark Steyn, and I did not speak out because I was not Mark Steyn. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

It should also be said that people of the Right, who should have known better, also didn't care. I have several quite plausibly rightwing friends who did not hesitate to use the new “human rights” machinery to lodge complaints about vicious attacks in the media on themselves, on Christians and conservatives generally, and especially on Catholics and the Catholic Church. Their complaints were invariably dismissed by the tribunals on sight, and yet by making them they contributed to legitimizing the process by which free speech could be “reviewed,” as a matter of course, by their most deadly enemies.

For nota bene: this should not be a Left or Right issue. Freedom for one is freedom for all, and tyranny against one is tyranny against all. The remark attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," perfectly expresses the finest, traditional liberal principle, upon which, ultimately, civil society relies.

I mentioned last week the case Mohamed Elmasry and the Canadian Islamic Congress have brought against Maclean's magazine for publishing Mark Steyn -- simultaneously before multiple human rights commissions, a tactic that is itself an egregious abuse of process. It is a case that should clang alarm bells right across Canada. Yet we've heard only a few modest tinkles.

David Warren
© Ottawa Citizen