Pestilence by Trevor Plumbly

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em

I might be making a bit of a meal of this one, but quite frankly I’ve had a gutful of nit-pickers. Despite some opinions to the contrary, I’ve still got a functioning brain that can operate without contact with Silicone Valley or Beijing. But there’s a growing army out there armed with Google and Wikipedia hell-bent on proving that there’s something to be gained from second-hand thought or worse, gilding an already wilting lily. ‘I wonder?’ doesn’t seem to exist much anymore: at any mention of doubt some bugger will whip out a cellphone and trot out electronic reality, relieving us of the burden and/or the joy of thinking for ourselves. Poor old Occam and his razor wouldn’t stand a chance against these pests; simple solution for them ranks up there with biblical sin.

And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum

Minor ticks are more irritating than threatening, the odd one can eat the skin, but for the most part the majority are a bit like head colds: you get them from time to time, but they won’t kill you. They rarely swarm, preferring instead to hover in anticipation. They thrive in gatherings and logically so: where better to air useless trivia and lord it over the info war than a social environment? Engaging with them is patently stupid: like scratching a flea bite, it irritates rather than produces anything beneficial. Conversationally nothing is beyond the grasp of these creatures: muse on the inflation rate in the Falkland Islands and bingo, one of them will whip out his/her battery brain to tell you what it is today and likely to be tomorrow. Sadly for this species, there’s little available in the way of a repellent except avoidance.

And the great fleas themselves in turn have greater fleas to go on

The more public pests like cockroaches, contaminate rather than sting. Politicians, ever mindful of the principle of ‘what goes round comes round’, prefer to call those particular creatures ‘the opposition’ and thus a peculiar sort of mutually agreed destruction pact exists so that extermination’s practically impossible.

Outside in the real world, there’s a bit more competition and they tend to turn on each other to survive. In order to do that they need a platform to create intellectual confusion; simplicity cannot be tolerated because it could well lead to a conclusion. Thus the kid with an AK47 isn’t a homicidal nutter; he’s socially dysfunctional, emotionally disturbed and heaps of other stuff to disguise the fact that he is, actually, a homicidal nutter. Economic forecasters should be up for the spray, and then we’d be spared the ‘I can be gloomier than you’ tourney that plagues the media, along with American Politics and the daily doings of the future All Blacks coach.

While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on

Sadly, as they ‘improve’ AI as well as propagating the age of mass posturing, Google, Twitter and Co can be directly credited with damaging the democratic election fabric, and killing off any benefit of working towards knowledge for a lot of kids. For most pests, there are insecticides out there to fight back with, but I’m inclined to doubt that when it comes to ChatGPT. That piece of intellectual infection destroys independent thought using nothing more than precedence, ergo if it hasn’t happened before it doesn’t bear thinking about. Doubtless the electronic Einsteins will cover that soon and the damn thing will ignore the harm religious writings have caused and give us a new set of moral boundaries to kill each other for. It’s nice to think I’ll probably conk before they infect me, but for those younger, heed the words of Crosbie, Stills and Nash, ‘Teach the children well’…

Unplug the little sods!

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