About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.

The Eighth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

The Prologue.

Many is the time I have spoken loudly and less fondly about the current fashion with placing diaries in the public view. Indeed, the first iteration of the modern ‘Manifesto…’ contains much to dissuade the faithful on this matter.

I understand the attraction, however; everyone would, at some time, like to express some of their views on matters private in a very public space, especially those thoughts that we really want to voice but can never can begin to form (due to the usual mores and restrictions of decent society).

You all know of what I speak, don’t you.

Brother Morthos, in a more lucid moment, once told me that my chief problem was that, as Pope, I speak my mind, and this has lead to a trail of discontinued friendships and the cessation of non-hostility on many fronts. Certainly, it has meant a wholesale reduction of those unsanitary business school-types that used to circulate the New Vatican of the Church and I have no issue at all in corrupting evangelists… Still, those are matters for another time. Still, even I must admit that there are moments where I bite my tongue, sometimes wisely and sometimes not so wisely.

Public diaries give you a second chance to ‘Sin(TM).’

And what a chance it is. A chance to tell a select audience that, had you had your wits about you, you would have said this, rather than that. That when someone thought you were thinking A you really thought B. That you wish something else had obtained when the crap hit the metaphorical fan.

Oh yes, important stuff.

I see the point of public bullentins when you go away. I see the (perverse) point of angsting to strangers because you have no friends. I even see the point of further supporting a burgeoning journalistic career. But when you use the public space to air your dirty laundry and to piss off people you either need to do it on a massive scale or not at all.

And now, children, without any further ado, I will read to you from ‘Run, Spot, Run.’

The Seventh New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

‘Oops, sorry Vicar!’

Funniest three consecutive words in the English language, closely followed by the four-parter ‘Oh, that’s my wife.’

Humour, they say, is the spice of life… Or is that danger? Whatever the case, those people who we consider to without a sense of humour are often thought of as rum chaps (or dolls), fit only for placing in the corner of a room when the potplant Aunt Edith bought you died.

Which is why it amazes me just how many humourless people exist, or just how boring conversations can be. What happened to the comedy?

We at the Neo-Catholic Church, if we believe in anything, believe in the power of narrative, the force that creates stories. Now you can argue all day long, if you so desire, as to whether narrative is an objective force, one that forces us into roles and creates situatons for us to react to, or whether narrative is subjective and thus is the result of humans placing a pattern upon the world… You know, I believe I once wrote a treatise on that kind of material. Selectivity… I’m sure it was really good stuff, but bugger if I can remember what the point of it was.

Believing, as we do in a thing called ‘Narrative’ we also believe that it is our divine, sometimes devilish, always corrupting, place to make the narrative as funny as possible.

Funny narratives don’t make the world entirely supercilious; you can have humour in tragedy and the fun can be introduced into romance (and no, not just by the eight-and-an-half amusing positions of the human sexing).

It (this task of humourising narrative) does, however, mean that taking the events of the world seriously is a fairly unusual task.

Take, for example, the middle-class. No, please, take the middle-class and launch it into the sun or something. But if we must keep those creatures then let us realise that far too often they look upon the world with a narrative of absolute seriousness, which they think to be, weirdly enough, the objective standard of narrative.

Seriousness is a terrible disease and I hope to fund a cure, using some of the monies Brother Morthos ‘obtained’ from the Reserve Bank last Wednesday (for those asking awkward questions I was on the Nile, supping with a Queen called Harold, at the time). It is broadly rigid and has not the flexiblility even a good pun has. It requires you to think it fairly straight lines and never experience the excitement of a sudden twist or a non-sequiter.

It, above all things, requires you to adopt a fairly straight forward account of terms and frames of reference, and once you adopt these they tend to force you to keep with them ad nauseam, forcing you further and further down the hole that is the serious pit of despair, anger and, finally, the joining of a right-wing political party and the anger that the young are wasting your tax dollar on ‘their shallow entertainments.’ Yes, ‘Procul Harum’ were a great act, but that does not mean that the young shouldn’t enjoy their ‘Boomkat.’

Of course, the best recurrent line of use is the rejoinder ‘And don’t they have it in the Navy,’ freely modified to suit the conversation.

Oh well, that’s me done, officier. Anything else you want to ask?

The Sixth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Today I wish to talk to you about writers and other artistic idealists.

I hope they rot in the fiery depthes of the hells they call home.

Tell me, have you ever heard someone of artistic intent moan incessantly about the fact that they have to write, that they need to write? Usually they are indolently smoking a fag and engaged in cleaning their rooms when they mention this; sometimes, to be truly perverse, they write about it and then show said writing to the world.

All so that we can appreciate their tortured existence.

Well, no more. The Neo-Catholic Church is currently cleansing itself of writers and other artistic idealists. We have no need of their angst, their whinging, their overt-gothness.

Bugger off, all of you.

Authors we like. Authors are writer-esque people who actually get the job done. Often they were writers who, one felictious (of fallacious (or fellatio-esque)) day, realised that it’s all about putting a manuscript in an envelope, and by jove, if they couldn’t do that then they’d stop whining and go off and get a job as a tax accountant.

(Which, I might add, most failed authors do.)

The Neo-Catholic Church likes people who do things. We mostly like them to keep the fuck away from us, but we still think they are admirable (if kept at a certain distance).

But we can no longer tolerant artistic types who waffle incessantly on needing to write (but hardly ever doing so).

It’s not a need, people, it’s a want. Needs are things you have to; wants are things you would like to do, and this is why you hardly ever do them. Because you don’t have to.

Bah, ’tis a subject that makes His Wholiness quite irrate.

I’m off to give pleasure to a duck.

Hey, Asshole! Link to Me!


The Thing
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.

I am what is commonly referred to as a fidget. At work I have a specially fashioned fidgeting implement, made of an oversized paperclip and a hair pin someone left in my office. I call it The Thing. Whenever my left hand isn’t otherwise occupied, I’ll be twiddling it between my fingers in defiance of the tendonitis brought on by three years working a cash register as a student.

This little tic extends into non-tactile areas as well. I am, for instance, unable to go a week without fiddling with this blog in some way — re-organising the sidebar, adding functions, signing up to blogging services and so on. And now we have a links section.

Selected by the Brain Stab contributors via a mostly democratic process, they are subject to change in accordance with our mercurial dispositions. The first batch consists of blogs belonging to people we know, quality sites everyone should be visting at least once a week, and barely redeemable shit. You can sort out which is which for yourselves.

Obviously, this exercise is for the most part a naked ploy to get people linking back to us when they see our URL showing up as a referrer in their hitlogs. It’s so much easier on Livejournal: Just purge yourself of all dignity, beg to be put on others’ Friends lists, put up with tantrums and bitching over who you put on yours and away you go. Grown-up blogs require you to do your link whoring with a little more subtlety; being not so much a link whore as a link high-priced-call-girl. So make with the reciprocating, assholes — just no kissing on the lips.