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 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.

The Fifth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Yes, I have taken to reading up the screen rather than down.

Sorry, you probably have no idea who I am or what I speak of, but that is the point of this whistle-stop tour of the seedier parts of the Diocese.

Oh, yes, I will have the extra large option, thank you.

Anyway, enough distraction… Ooh, I didn’t know they made those here? Mind if I try one? Well, same to you buddy.

Ah maps, both good and saucy. Did I mention seedy? Not to say that the Diocese has much by the way of less-than-seedy parts on its cheaply-produced visual aids. All of its parts are classified ‘Naughty.’ So much so that Mr. Ransome has replaced all maps of the Diocese with an A4 page featuring Verdana 64 point script of the word ‘Naughty!?!’

Mmm… Nice girlfriend; shame about the ape holding on to her shoulder. Sorry? Oh, you were listening.

Yep; reading up the screen. It’s one of those strange traditions we have in Western Society (TM) that we read from right to left… Sorry, you’re right, left to right and from top to bottom. So now I read from bottom to top. It passes the time and makes you think about the dissimilarity between the kinds of visual information we present to the laid public.

It’s a bit weird; you start off having no idea how things started, although sometimes you get a hint if the text has multiple pages. And you’d be surprised how often written materials have boring beginnings/endings.

Ah, yes. Thank you. Flannels in the corner? Thanks.

Yet reading bottom to up seems like a pleasant fix to common neck and back problems; go from a painful posture to a pleasant one over the course of a document.

It is somewhat informative of human nature that almost all (fortunately) documents only make sense in one direction.

Oh, you going? Want to exchange numbers?

Unpleasant harpy.


The Fourth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

A distraction from the day’s festivities. I want to tell the great unwashed public a little something about friendship.

I have shunned, for a little while now, the usual mores and requirements of civilised society. I can do this because if there are only a few utility monsters, like myself, then the world finds us charming and we can get away with ediquitte murder. Still, that is a matter for another time…

And that time is now!

Sorry, dizzy spell.

One benefit to my nature is my almost blase approach to friendship. I do not feel obliged to friends perhaps in the way that society dictates I should. I like my friends and when I think of them, sometimes rarely, sometimes often, I think of them fondly and want to be with them. I do not, however, feel that I have to maintain friendships.

It’s a weird phrase, ‘maintain friendships;’ I suspect that most of you will both find my disdain of this maintenance both good and bad.

The bad first, because the bad is the most obvious; we do not like to maintain such things because such maintenance indicates a level of work that denigrates the notion of friendship. A friendship that needs this kind of maintenance is no real friendship; it is pure obligation and nothnig more. The friendship is kept alive via esoteric, quasi-erotic rituals designed to make you forget that you have moved on, matured or killed one of their family members (or vice versa).

The bad is obvious and it is unfortunate just how often it is true… Especially of you.

The good notion of maintenance is that friendships should not become stagnant and thus be of need of constant work. This is, of course, not true. I’m not denying the terrors of stagnation, but I am wondering why we feel that a friendship needs work to avoid. Surely the maintenance cost just indicates that the bad notion has arrived and you’re not willing to admit to it just yet.

Happiness is a strange form of apathy mixed with contentment.

I have a few really good friends. I am happy with the number; I have some of my very best friends safely ensconced in foreign climes and there are some people, two couples to be precise, who have kept me sane over the last few years, and to them I owe a great debt I can never repay. One of these sets of people I see weekly, the other I see twice a year and speak to just over double that.

Yet I am as close to the other as I am to the former.

Friendship is a bond, possibly one with filligie and naughty lingerie. When I feel its call I obey it. Yes, I regret not hearing it more often, but then again, perhaps it would not mean as much if I did.

Well, that’s serious. I was going to give a talk on why underwear is oppressive and I find myself waxing lyrical on platonic-bonding.

I really shouldn’t drink tea.