Helpful Hints for a Nearly Extinct Species
Submitted satirically by Haragano
Let's get down to basics. Being the leader of a group is more than
just the hard work of raising dust devils in the back yard or zapping
a friend's TV antenna so they can get HBO. Leading a group offers a
lot of perks. You get a lot of ego strokes, you get to divide up
babies just like Solomon and you even get to keep the leftovers from
the potlucks at moon feasts. After all you have put in a lot of long,
hard hours and cashed in a lot of empties to win the coveted title of
"High Poop-di Ha of the Infinite Invisibility". And you want to keep
it! The bottom line, the final word in keeping your position on top
of the heap is spelled P-O-W-E-R. These hints are concerned with
helping you keep it.
In the busy modern craft of today there are many ways that your
power base can be erroded. The two most likely ways you can end up
preaching to an empty circle are through the insiduous inroads made by
INFORMATION and DISCUSSION. These twin curses have upset more High
Poop-di-Has than Carter has little liver pills.
Information is the worst threat. The more a follower is acquainted
with history, anthropology, psychology, socio-dynamics ... really, any
area that requires an individual to exert himself mentally, you are in
for questions you don't really want to answer. The very best way to
deal with this sticky situation is to avoid it. Recruit the immature
and the fanatic. They don't bring really tasty goodies to feasts, but
they are good ego boosters. They are expendable and feircely loyal
for no particular reason.
If you find you are being pestered by an "intellect" (they should
have never gotten through your screening) you have to quickly learn to
manage information more effectively. Don't worry. Managing
information is easier than it seems. Newscasters do it every night.
First, Adopt an attitude of "ask me anything", then make sure you
don't have any answers and don't know where to get them. Create a
vacuum! Yes, nature abhors a vacuum but it is your strongest weapon
in the war for ignorance. Second is the wild goose chase, atried and
true method of dealing with anyone who persists in asking questions.
Send a troublesome individual on a few of these. Tire them out, and
they will go away sooner or later. When they leave, the stage is set
for you to shake your head solemnly and expound at length on how they
were not ready to learn what you had to offer. This act is very
impressive to newcomers.
Reassure your followers that they don't have to keep up on current
thoughts in and about the craft. After all, books and magazine
subscriptions are expensive. Imply that they will learn all that they
need from you by hinting at the "secrets of the craft" that yet await
them. If they are adamant about reading, call their attention only to
those items that reinforce your point of view (you need all the backup
you can get). The Xian (as in Xmas) fundamentalists have developed
this sort of information management into an art form. "Information
Management is next to Godilness". I'm sure Mr. Falwell has that
embroidered on a pillow slip somewhere. You might want to write him
for a needlepoint kit.
ON TO DISCUSSION...
Discussion with other groups must be limited. If they don't share
your point of view, all contact with them should be eliminated. After
all, your immature followers do mature and fanatics mellow out. The
free exchange of differing ideas has a justifiablely bad reputation
for expanding an individuals craft viewpoint. And THAT is deadly to
the sacred position of High Poop-di Ha.
There is an effective means of terminating troublesome contacts with
other groups, while at the same time confirming your position as the
center of attention. It is the practice of the "Fine Art of
Self-Righteous Indignation"! The premier example of this was the
medieval Church. When it met with a conflicting view, such as a
scholar pointing out that the Church was rewriting history or physics,
the Church would denounce him as a "minion of Satan". Usually the
scholar was hauled off and put to the
Question. What's the truth, more or less, compared to the self
Indignation of God's Chosen....right?
Remember, you haveto slam the door tightly on any new ideas! This
takes dramatic measures. You don't want conflicting information
coming in, and you certainly don't want your s/h/e/e/p/ followers
Pick a public occasion and invade a circle or burst into a study
group. Most importantly, make sure your group is around you. After
all, the coming performance is really for them. Rant, pound your
breast, whatever you need to do, to get across the idea of YOU as the
poor, persecuted victim. Make this crystal clear to your group and
they will stick to you like you were dipped in crazy glue. If anyone
in your group has ever had a course in group dynamics, send them on a
wild goose chase that evening. They might tumble to what you are up
to, and besides they are probably asking too many questions anyway.
When facing the m/i/n/i/o/n/s/o/f/S/a/t/a/n/ opposing group, be
personally offensive if you can. Call them picky, heretical,
egotistical, perverse, etc. Anything you can get away with (wailing
in the background is a nice touch). To keep your group successfully
insulated from differing ideas, you have to clearly label the
opposition in the minds of your followers. People just LOVE tags!
Now, this next point is important, so listen up! You must make it
clear that you want no further contact with the opposing group. Try
to affect a tone in your voice that conveys "this is a regrettable
decision but it just has to be", like the tone Billy Graham takes on
when he talks about sinners. This gives you a twofold bonus. First,
it gets the word to "them" in no uncertain terms and, second, it gets
the word to your people that it would not be wise for anyone who wants
to remain a part of your group to have any contact with "those" you
have just judged unacceptable. This sort of frontal assault generally
alienates both groups as well as every individual in them. There will
be no information exchange, no open discussion and very little growth.
But what do you care, you're safe.
One warning though; If for any reason you think the other group will
simply laugh at your overacting, don't chance a face-to-face
confrontation. Keep the performance within your own group. If you
have been a good information manager that should be effective enough.
Although you are one of the last "High Poop-di-Ha's of the Infinite
Invisibility" in the craft, you belong to an ancient society that can
be traced through most of the world's major religions. You exemplify
rigidity, closed-mindedness and religious manipulation. You have a
lot to be self-righteous about! In order to pervent your kind from
dying out completely, you have to remember to stringently restrict the
information flow to your group and terminate all open discussions with
outsiders holding differing views. If you take to heart these few
pointers you won't go the way of the Great Auk and the Passenger
Next: Channeling (Jast)