Thursday, June 24, 2010

Counter-Vulgarity


Yesterday I re-acquired a book from a friend that had been out on loan for a few years called The Chap Manifesto. It's a very funny and witty book, with excerpts hard to come by (especially now that it's out of print). However! Below you will find two samples that I have nobly typed up for your delectation.

A quick note: CAD stands for "Confederacy of Anarcho-Dandyists". For more on this, see the comments section where I have posted the opening page of the book. (I hope readers of this blog check the comments section of my new posts regularly as I often leave complimentary details there.)

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"Counter-Vulgarity is a quick-fix cure for those offenses against the soul that you are likely to witness on a daily basis. Less aggressive than Random Acts of Common Courtesy, these tactics help chumrades develop their own sense of political integrity through simple demonstrations of the civilised way of doing things. Here are the most common offences committed by the vulgaroisie, and their appropriate ripostes.

Text Messaging

It seems to be a common practice nowadays for people to reach into their pocket or bag during a conversation and pull out their mobile phone. While half-listening to their interlocutor, this miscreant will read any text messages recently arrived on their network, sometimes even composing a reply. This is a piece of distinctly anti-Chappist rudeness, and we suggest the following riposte. In mid-conversation, reach into your jacket pocket and pull out a slim volume of poetry, carefully select a page, and proceed to read a verse or two in complete silence. Then gently place the book back into your pocket and turn to your companion with, "Excuse me. You were saying?" Further exasperate your companion by taking out a little notebook and composing a line or two of verse yourself, heightening the effect by gazing heavenwards and licking the end of your pencil."


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Mobile Phone Amnesty

"As we draw towards the close of this manifesto, the CAD feels compelled to make some gesture of compassion and magnanimity towards those lost souls who find themselves trapped in lives weighed down by consumerism and vulgarity.

Our campaign to rid the streets and public places of that organ of disharmony, the mobile phone, is set to show great advances in the coming years, but now in a mood of conciliation and with a sincere desire to help mobophiles turn their backs on their sordid pasts, the CAD is pleased to announce a mobile phone amnesty. Members of the benighted hoi polloi are encouraged to surrender their ignoble instruments of shame, either by turning them in to the proper authorities or by posting them to the CAD HQ. All horns of misery received are melted down and cast into figurines of Barbey D'Aurevilly, proceeds from whose sales will be channeled back into Anarcho-Dandyist activism. But rest assured that out on the street the CAD will continue its campaign of random acts of common courtesy with renewed vigor, assuring that the powers of unseemliness and discord are crushed underfoot like so many gastropods beneath the mud-clogged boot of a particularly vindictive gardener."



1 comment:

Hectocotylus said...


A CALL TO CHARMS

"For too long we have been the playthings of massive corporations, whose sole aim is to convert our world into a gargantuan shopping 'mall'. Pleasantry and civility are being discarded as the worthless ephemera of a bygone age; an age when men doffed their hats at ladies, and children could be counted to mind your Jack Russell while you took a mild and bitter in the pub. The twinkly-eyed tobacconist, the ruddy-cheeked pub landlord and the bewhiskered teashop lady are being trampled under the mighty blandness of 'drive-thru' hamburger chains. Customers are herded in and out of such places with an alarming similarity to the way the cattle used to produce the burgers are herded to the slaughterhouse.

The principal victim of this blandification is Youth, whose natural propensity to shun work, peacock around the town and aggravate the constabulary has been drummed out of them. Youth is left with a sad deficiency of joie de vivre, imagination and elegance. Instead, their lives are ruled by territorial one-upmanship based on brands of plimsoll, and youth has become little more than a walking, barely talking advertising hoarding for gobal conglomerates.

And what has Youth got to look forward to? The life of the lumpen officetariat consists of toiling away all day in front of computer screens, transferring swathes of dull information from one terminal to another. In their spare time, they are to be found at large halls of misery, where chemically-laden beer is fed to them while they ogle sport events on larger versions of the same screens they have been staring at all day. The resulting 'culture' of this state of affairs can be summed up in one word: vulgarity. In short, society as a whole is being crushed under the oppressive weight of a ruling vulgaroisie.

But now, a spectre is beginning to haunt the reigning vulgaroisie: the spectre of Chappism. A new breed of insurgent has begun to appear on the streets, in the taverns and in the offices of Britain: the Anarcho-Dandyist. Recognisable by his immaculate clothes, the rakish angle of his hat and his subtle rallying cry of "good day to you sir/madam!"

This seemingly quaint and harmless individual has also been spotted in small groups on the fringes of contemporary protest gatherings, in cities as remote from civilised life as Seattle and Kyoto. While straggly-haired youths in balaclavas shout slogans and smash the windows of McDonald's, the Anarcho-Dandyists merely display the razor-sharp creases on their mole-skin trousers, arching an eyebrow over their monocles with a wry smile.

It is time for the Confederacy of Anarcho-Dandyists (CAD) to publish their views, their aims and their tenets. By uniting the various strands of Chappist agit-fop under one ensign, we will prevent the inevitable fragmentation that afflicts all ideological struggles. Thus The Chap Manifesto will serve as a blueprint for the Charmed Uprising, and unite all gentlemanly insurgents to ensure the victory of the Tweed Revolution."