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At last, some humour

By Don Aitkin - posted Monday, 8 October 2018


A minor setback put me into hospital for five days, and that means I needed to find something from the archives, and the first thing that came out was a recent dry observation. I now forget where it came from, but it's worth a chuckle or two:

(I) Neologisms

One of my favourite columnists, David Astle (who loves to play with words), came up with some names to replace Democracy (people rule) …. here are a few for you to chuckle over and perhaps recognise.

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Replacements for Democracy…..
Narcissocracy
Uncumbent – the leader who suddenly isn't (Malcolm)
Adhocracy – unstructured government
Whimsocracy – governing on a whim
Hippocracy – when horses are in charge
Paedocracy – rule by children (or adults acting like children in the Playground)
Corpocracy – Government by the "fat cats"
Kleptocracy – Government by thieves
Cryptocracy – Government by secrecy and intrigue and you work it out as it goes

Snobocracy – (self evident), as is Ineptocracy and Egocracy

These words are accompanied by

Infoganda,
Feardom,
Spinnish,
Dwindlethink (opinion based on scant information),
Nowtrage and Nontroversy – a minor scandal magnified by the media and social media),
Precrimination – any accusation made in advance of an alleged wrong,
Declinism – the belief that the country, or, at least, its political system, is "going to the dogs", (an Australianism which means we are beyond help.)

Currently, (well, maybe till next we all vote,) our prime Minister is Scott Morrison, so, of course, we now have we have a Scomocracy! We are very irreverent, aren't we!!

Of them all, I smiled most at 'Dwindlethink'.

(II) ARC Grants

This one is thirty years old or more, and came to me anonymously, during my ARC role. The title is from the original.

Why God Didn't Receive an ARC Grant

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  1. Because he had only one major publication.
  2. And it was in Hebrew.
  3. And it had no cited references.
  4. And it wasn't published in a refereed journal or even submitted for peer review.
  5. And some even doubt that he wrote it himself.
  6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since?
  7. His co-operative efforts have been quite limited.
  8. The scientific community has had a very rough time trying to replicate his results.
  9. He never applied to any Ethics Board for permission to use human subjects.
  10. When one experiment went awry, he tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.
  11. When subject didn't behave as predicted he often punished them, or just deleted them from the sample.
  12. He rarely came to class, jut told students to read the book.
  13. He had his son teach the class.
  14. He expelled his first two research students from learning.
  15. Although there were only ten requirements, most students failed his tests.
  16. His office hours were infrequent, and often help on a mountain-top.

(III) How Policy Gets Made

This one came to me a little later, but from a public servant. It too bears the original title.

The Creation of the Big Plan

In the beginning was the plan
And then came the assumptions
And the assumptions were without form
And the plan was completely without substance
And darkness fell upon the face of the Workers
And they spoke to their Supervisors saying
It is a crock of s**t and it stinketh

And the Supervisors went unto their Executive Officers and sayeth
'It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odour thereof'
And the Executive Officers went unto
Their Program Managers and sayeth unto them:
'It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong,
such that none here may abide its strength'

And the Program Managers went unto their Assistant State Mangers
And sayeth unto them:
'It is a vessel of fertilizer which aids plant growth, and it is very strong'

And the State Managers went unto the Deputy Secretary
And sayeth unto him:
'It promoteth growth. And it is very powerful'

And the Deputy Secretary went unto the Secretary and sayeth unto him:
'This powerful new plan will actively promote the growth
and efficiency of the Department … and this office in particular'

And the Secretary looked upon the plan
and saw that it was good.
And thus the Plan became Policy.

There is something for everyone here, at least what seems to me to be the majority of readers. I hope you enjoy these extracts, and feel able to supply some of your own. And finally, one of my favourite cartoons:

 

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This article was first published on Don Aitkin.



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About the Author

Don Aitkin has been an academic and vice-chancellor. His latest book, Moving On, was published in 2016.

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