Like all artificial intelligence, Scott Morrrison is only as good as the humans that programme him. Last year his programmers got him eating meat pies in order to appear as a man of the people. Fortunately for Scomo and his team, meat pies are compliant and the voters were all-too easily convinced (albeit with a $60 million nudge from Clive Palmer’s garish green and yellow ‘make Australia great again’ ads).
This year, instead of making Australia great, Scomo let it burn and while the country burned, his team accidentally programmed him to take a holiday in Hawaii. In trying to rectify this embarrassing mistake, in the hope they could make him appear less selfish, they sent him to the fire-ravaged town of Cobargo, in the safety of several armoured vehicles but they forgot to bring some extra water or even a bag of jellybeans for the townspeople or the fire fighters. They must have put him on some kind of automated instruction to shake hands at any cost, so, when an exhausted and distressed woman refused, on camera, to shake his hand, he just grabbed her forearm and firmly forced her to shake. When she began to explain why she didn’t want to shake his hand, he walked away without any kind of response; no expression of sympathy, no, “I’m sorry, I can understand you must feel angry, tired, upset, devastated.” (Insert any number of empathic responses). Even when you tell Siri on your iPhone that you don’t want to shake her hand she says, “Fine.” And while the poor woman continued to explain, Scomo walked quickly away, obviously aware of the camera still rolling, to find a hand-shaking fire-victim that was as compliant as a meat pie.
It was watching this moment that I realised he wasn’t human and that his programming team omitted empathic response data, creating a man-like creature able to shove iconic Aussie food in his mouth yet unable to offer iconic Aussie empathy from the same hole. Apple, Amazon and Google do better in automating human responses. The Scomo programming team is unsurprisingly a who’s who of coal mining with ex-Murdoch press dudes scripting the words that come from his incredibly realistic mouth.
For a run-down on the team, have a read of Julie Clark’s article Captured – The Sequel: climate deniers a re-run of Big Tobacco
Of course the fault is also with his earlier programmers, the Pentecostals, who left out any helpful apocalypse response data. Now, I don’t know much about the Pentecostals, though I have to say I find their salute thing off-puttingly like a third-reich heil, but I did some Googling and found that their response to the Apocalypse and Armageddon (and other biblical events starting with A) has been to sit back and expect that Jesus will be down in a minute to sort it out.
From my lazy, irreligious, Googly research, my understanding of armageddons and apocalypses is that they occur at the end times. An apocalypse is some kind of cataclysmic (large scale and violent) disaster just like the wildfires spreading mercilessly through our land. Apocalypse is also a synonym for ‘revelation’ – probably, if the bible writers have any sway, some kind of revelation that their god is the most real one around and we should in future, refer to Him as a He with a capital H and a capital G.
Armageddon is a bit different in that it’s the battleground for the ultimate fight between God’s army and the non-believers, also preceding an end, presumably an end to non-believing once and for all and an end to the times where we use lower case g’s and h’s without being struck down or smote.
And this may be why Scomo is doing nothing – because he believes that these fires are leading up to Jesus’s return to say, ‘I hate saying I told you so, but…’ Predictably, there are those who have voiced their belief that the fires in NSW have something to do with recently legalising abortion. Seriously. I kid you not.
We are living in end times. These fires are apocalyptic. It’s the end of 500 million animals. It may be the end of several animal species. It may be the end of whole towns. It is the end of peoples’ lives and lifestyles. The end of trees and water. I can’t think of anything funny or quippy to say. Like everyone around me I watch and listen in horror and deep sadness, doing what little I can to help.
But I’m hoping it is heralding the end of other things. I’m hoping it’s the end of patriarchy. Burned by it’s own fuel. Fingers crossed (if you believe in the power of such things as crosses.) I’m hoping it’s the beginning of the end of the stronghold of corrupt, power-hungry, self-righteous bigots.
The guys that sat around creating the storylines for the bible – they were wanting to keep their jobs. It was probably not dissimilar to my brief experience in the story room of a long-running TV series. They had limited budget for locations (so 80% of stories had to take place in a desert), they had a main cast of actors who had to stay for as long as the show ran but without much of a character journey (look at god, for instance). Their stories had to appease their producers, being scary enough to quell dissent but with enough incentives for their readers to come back for more. The cops (in the aforementioned TV show) had to be always good and right.
Although the Christians were in the business of invading, conquering and imposing their values on new people and terrains, the bible-writers didn’t really account for colonisation. They forgot to write the parable that went, ‘Well, stealing is wrong unless you’re invading some land with people who don’t believe in the same god and have less weapons, but anyway if you do invade, make sure you learn about the previous inhabitants’ relationship with the land, pick up a few land-management skills and maybe leave the rabbits at home.’ They also forgot to say, ‘Listen to the woman that doth not shake thine hand.’ ‘Not to mention the fire-fighter that doth swear at thee mightily from his fire-truck.’
However if the bible story-team had more independence, then maybe they might have predicted different end times. How about an end time to white supremacy, an end time where the patriarchs concede that they got it wrong and maybe they will learn humility. An end time to this dystfunctional, inhumane economic imperative of growth at all costs. A dawning of the age of empathy.
I’m calling on the Governer General, great white patriarch and representative of our head colonist Her Royal Majesty the Queen, to exercise the power we still vest in him. With any luck, fingers crossed and all that Christian cross malarkey, his final act before we inevitably become a republic, will be to tell Scomo and his incompetent programming team to stand down on the basis of recklessness leading to destruction of our country (which, while it still belongs to Her Royal Majesty, must be an act of treason.) And, when Albo has caught up on lost sleep from his volunteering at the fire front, he could take over with a caretaker government.
So please help me make it the end time it should be. You could call on the GG, too. Our apocalypse. Our end times. Meat pies, unite. Refuse to be eaten. Do not comply. Act now.