Top Five Things I Pretend to Understand, but Don't*
1. The Internet. I have kind of tried to understand this. (I think it is all a big series of connected tubes?) However, the following question comes back: where are all these web pages? Physically speaking. WHERE ARE THEY? Because I can see them! But they aren't anywhere! Or something. There is just a lot of code (where is it?) and this code makes things pop up on my computer but where is all the code? Which leads me to contemplate computers. How do they work? I have a theory that no-one actually knows, and all the people in computer/online companies are just frantically crossing their fingers and hoping the whole thing doesn't suddenly fuck out. (I know this isn't how it actually is.) I would go on more about this but thinking about it for too long makes my brain view horizons it is not used to - is like that bit in Vanilla Sky where they are upside down and the skyline is all purple and orange (did that actually happen? I was kind of drunk when I watched it) and their minds are blown and then they are in an elevator. Without the elevator.
2. Global Warming
Ok. Here is my basic understanding of Global Warming (according to various world leaders it is apparently important enough for
That's right. Santa causes Global Warming - not just by travelling around the entire world in one night (think of the size of his carbon footprint), but by making us all buy things. The cult of St. Nicholas is killing the planet. Al Gore and I are making a documentary about this. Tell your friends.
3. The Situation in the Middle East
While I like to think I am well qualified to make pithy remarks about this/suggest possible strategies for peace, to be pretty honest I'm just pleased as punch that I know where the Middle East is. Seriously - a couple of weeks ago I was studying African countries for pub quiz purposes and I learnt that Angola is not in Europe and Mali is not in Asia because they are both in Africa. I was quite honestly surprised. Also, you know what is not in Africa? The Amazon. It's in South America. Who knew? Not me, until last week in Spanish class. (Embarrassing moment.) So, seriously, if I am talking to you about the situation in the Middle East, you can feel confident that I'm
4. The Treaty of Waitangi
This is the treaty made between the indigenous Maori people of NZ and the invading British overlords back in the day. From what I understand (and you know if you're interested you really should Wikipedia it or something, as this is a list of things I don't understand) it goes something like this:
Back in the day (some time in 1800s? hmm):
British: Oh, I beg your pardon, my good man.
Maori: You're on my land.
British: Yes, I was just admiring it. What beautiful land it is. *glint in eye*
Maori: What'll you give me for it?
British: These beads.
Maori: No! No deal.
British: These beads...and this horse.
Maori: Well...it is quite a nice horse.
British: Isn't it, though? Sign on the dotted line.
200 years later:
British: What now? You are interrupting tea.
Maori: We have just realised that our forefathers got swindled by your forefathers, and we want you to do something about it.
Maori: You gave 'em one! Turned 'em over and-
British, hastily: Yes, yes! Never mind about that. Here's, um, here's a teapot. Look at it. Isn't it nice?
Maori: We don't want a teapot, we want our land back.
British, somewhat impatiently: No, no. Here is your teapot.
Maori suddenly turn nasty: I hate to say this, but your actions could come off a little, you know, racist. Surely you wouldn't want word of this to spread to your nice, non-racist neighbours?
British, hastily: Oh! You must have misheard me! Of course you can have your land back. And some money. Would you like some money?
Maori rub hands together and exit, stage whatever.
And now I get a day off once a year to celebrate this. I'd also like to say that I am not being a big fat racist here: the British swindled the Maori back in the day with a crappy land deal, and now the Maori have swindled them back in compensation claims, and if that analysis offends you then please try to remember that I actually know very little about this so I am not just being a bigot, I am being an ignorant bigot too.
5. The Origins of Rock
All of those classic bands that modern music is based on? I know nothing about any of them. Which is at once intensely liberating and intensely shameful to admit. But if you try to call me out on this, I will lie and say pretentious things about the Velvet Underground.
*You know, those things that you mention in conversation and I say 'hmmm' thoughtfully, then make some kind of horoscope statement** and carry on. I realise that all of these topics are things I am perfectly capable of understanding- in fact, from time to time people try to explain them to me, but I usually tune out through sheer lack of interest. Sorry.
**'horoscope statement:' any statement which can be applied to most situations and is so vague as to mean essentially nothing, but which still manages to somehow sound remarkably profound. I made up this term myself.