Friday, September 06, 2013

I meant to ask him about those opinion polls, but he decided he had better things to do. He went to sleep again.
            It’s an interesting technique. When something matters, when it becomes urgent – with a biscuit-shaped kind of urgency – his entire body responds like a single nerve. When the rain’s on, when he can’t be arsed, when nothing is demanding his attention, you can find him on the sofa.
            A bit like an electorate. The happy notion that we are all “engaged in the debate”, or worried perpetually over “the quality of the debate”, might keep a few in my trade going for a while, but it’s a myth. Most of us, most of the time, have lives in need of attention.
            Only rarely do we respond like a single nerve. That’s as it should be. If not, we wind up yelping over he-said-she-said. That’s when manipulation starts. That’s when social media are mistaken for life. That’s when the thinking stops and the shouting begins.
            Those who want our support need to find that single nerve, reflexive and electric. A steady drone is an invitation to find the nearest sofa. Pavlov was wrong about this. We don’t care on cue.
            But hold on, he’s up, just about. This lazy ingrate does stretching like it’s an Olympic event. So what about those contestable polls?
            “Any random sample of stupid people answering stupid questions designed to provoke stupidity produces a result in favour of stupid.”
            You sure?

            “You asked, thicko.”