Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Acanthus 2.0

I should probably mention for anyone who's still checking this (or who comes across it) that at the moment my new stuff is going up on another blog with exactly the same name. It was going to be just a temporary placeholder, but since this one was down so long, I'm rather worried about just moving back to this one. Until I decide what to do (which may take several years given my stellar decision making skills) I'll be leaving this alone and posting new stuff on the other blog.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Beauty. And advertising.

OK, what can I talk about today to delay the eventual necessity of actually getting onto the subject? How about this? As you almost certainly don't know, the Cheerobics® DVD just got released, you should totally go and check it out – and not just because I know one of the people involved in making it. You can buy it here. And don’t just take my word for it. Read the review on the Amazon page I just linked which was published significantly before the actual DVD. That’s sure to be reliable*.

Right then. Now that I’ve done the obligatory ‘completely off topic’ bit out of the way, let’s move on to the bit that you actually came here for. Just think of the above as Acanthus’ equivalent of advertising (one advert every four and a half months isn’t really that bad). Actually, it’s not all that irrelevant. I’ve decided to do a bit more on being ace. Not entirely because some people think I mention it too much (although given my rather bloody-minded nature, that’s not entirely absent from by thoughts)**. Mostly it’s because there isn’t much else I can say which is really unique. Anything else I come up with, on democracy or liberalism, someone else could come up with just as well. If you want to know what feminism is, there are rather a lot of ways to find out. That’s not to say that I think they’re valueless (well.... no more than I think that everything I write is pretty valueless), or that I’ll stop writing them. It’s not as though I’ve let it being utterly pointless ever stop me doing anything before, so why start now?

So, you remember how I said that what I wrote at the beginning was irrelevant? That was what is technically known as ‘a complete lie’. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it wasn’t entirely true, either. So, four hundred or so words in, let me explain what I’m going to be talking about. Beauty. What is it? Keates would tell me that it’s truth, but I don’t like Keates very much.

So what does beauty have to do with being ace? More than you might think. You see, the big question here is whether ‘beauty’ is really a single thing. So answer this: Is Cheryl Cole, (or Brad Pitt), more beautiful than the sunset. Or is there some qualitative difference between seeing a ‘beautiful’ person and seeing a ‘beautiful’ sunset? To me? No, not really***. But from talking to people, and from the rather different reactions people tend to have to the two, I have a suspicion that most people might disagree with me on this one. So there are at least two different kinds of beauty, which I’ll call aesthetic and sexual. Actually, there’s no real reason why a human couldn’t be aesthetically beautiful – after all, several of their statues are.

Now let me deconstruct it a bit further. Which is more beautiful – Beethoven or Paradise Lost? There’s less of a qualitative difference here – you could probably tell me an answer if you had long enough to think about it. But it’s still rather difficult to compare the two****. I think we can agree that there is a difference here. So we can probably divide up aesthetic beauty by sense – they’re not necessarily entirely separate, something could cross over, but it avoids the problem of trying to compare a Cheerobics® routine to the music it’s being done to.

Now let’s look at something completely different. What makes things beautiful? If I grind the Mona Lisa down to a fine paste, in what part is the beauty? What if I remove a single flake of paint at a time? When does it stop being beautiful? What about an acanthus flower? Is the shape of the petals more or less beautiful than their colour? To put it shortly, where, exactly, is beauty?

Obviously it’s a property of the object as a whole, rather than of any individual part – a ‘ghost in the machine’, if you will, like Oxford University. To try and define and quantify beauty, even with the divisions I’ve set up here, is a fool’s errand. You can do it, but your answer is only really true for you, and tells you nothing you didn’t know already. That doesn’t mean I think my divisions are useless – there’s a difference between an unanswerable question, and a merely meaningless one – just that I’m not going to try and define ‘this is what beauty is’, and I’m certainly not going to quantify it. A dancer might be beautiful, but I’m not going to say whether ballet is inherently better than hip hop. To me, a butterfly dying, having got its wings trapped on a thorn, is tragically beautiful. To a lot of people, it’s a dead insect. To take Hume’s approach, and say that some people’s taste is inherently better than others, and that the people who find the ‘wrong’ thing beautiful are actually mistaken would be, in my opinion, the height of arrogance. And when the guy who says that democracy is bad because people are so ignorant says that you're being arrogant, you might want to examine your position.

Final thing. For those who are still wondering what this has to do with being ace: It’s effectively the postmodern theory, that people outside a particular majority social group think more about the inside of that social group, since they have to understand that part of society as well as their own. ‘The outsider sees most of the game’, if you will. Beauty is so inherently tied up with sexuality that it’s something that’s probably more closely examined by aces than by most sexuals, or, at least, in a different way.

*Wow. I can’t even plug something without being cynical. To explain, Jess Rossi has been doing Cheerobics® for some time now (as have others), so it’s perfectly possible to have a review of Cheerobics® from before the DVD was actually released. It’s also possible that the reviewer was using that magical thing known as a preview copy.
**To those people: I’ll stop mentioning it when it stops being brought up, and when I stop having to examine everything I say, lest it be seized upon as evidence of my ‘real’ sexuality.
***Except that humans tend to be uglier. I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl who was more beautiful than her jewellery. Boys are even worse – they don’t wear jewellery.
****This is, by the way, the exact problem of utilitarianism, except I’m talking about beauty rather than pleasure.
And because looking at people who are different from you, with apparently nonsensical rituals, is interesting. And amusing. That’s why anthropology was invented.

For the interested, Cheerobics® belongs to Jess Rossi, and to Cheerobics® Ltd. If either they or she mind the free advertising (and I would totally understand not wanting to be associated with me), I'll cut out the bits of this referencing them.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Social Contract

Right then. Before I start, some random admin, because me not getting straight onto the topic is becoming rather traditional. Firstly, did you know that you can subscribe to posts, in a few ways. There’s a subscribe (atom) button at the bottom of the page, a follow by email button at the side, and if you have a Google account, you can just follow it. So you don’t have to deal so much with my incredibly random update schedule. Second, you can share my posts via twitter, facebook, google, email or your own blog, with the buttons at the bottom of each post. Please do, since I am hopelessly insecure, and judge my personal worth by the number of pageviews this blog gets. Thirdly, you can cet Acanthus on your phone now. Fourthly, Y27Q5NYQTHSJ. No, I’m not going to explain that.

Right then. Government. Where does the authority of government come from? Since we all live in a democracy*, I assume that we’ve all going to agree that it comes from the consent of the governed, rather than from some inherent right of those of superior breeding and intellect to rule over the unwashed masses**. In other words, it’s a social contract – the masses agree to let a certain group rule over them because whilst it’s in everyone’s best interests that there be a set of social rules which everyone else obeys, it’s also in everyone’s best interests not to follow those rules themselves. So noone does, and it’s then in everyone’s best interests to create a governing authority to force everyone to follow the rules. And that’s were government comes from. Hobbes took an entire book to explain that.

A more interesting question is what rights this gives government. One might argue that they have the right to force people to follow their regime, in their own interests, since that’s what they would choose if they really understood the alternatives. One could argue that governments have the right to force people to accept the social contract because the restriction of natural liberty that this involves is less than the restriction of natural liberty of others involved in rejecting it. One might even extend the above argument to say that, since it’s in everyone’s best interests, one can include in the social contract a right for the government installed by the social contract to force people to accept and follow the social contract.

Guess what? I don’t accept that***. You have the perfect right to reject the social contract – just so long as you accept that you’re giving up all the benefits therein, as well as all the responsibilities. You’d have no right to seek reparation if you were mugged, or even if you were murdered****. Shopkeepers could refuse you service with impunity. The fact is that there is almost noone who could, let alone would, reject the social contract. This is helped by the fact that by accepting the benefits of the contract – from the police to the NHS – you are implicitly accepting the social contract. By the time someone’s in a position to reject the social contract, they’ve probably already accepted it, and whilst refusing to accept a contract (or pulling out of a contract you never really understood you were agreeing to) is one thing, trying to pull out of a contract halfway, when you’ve got the benefit from it, and it’s starting to be less good for you, is quite another. Arguably, you should have the chance to pull out of the social contract if it changes significantly, but that begs the question of what, exactly, ‘significantly’ means.

There, is, however, a case where one might be able to reject the social contract without such a criticism applying – when one does so in a group. The interesting thing here is when areas of a country try to declare independence. It is perfectly believable here that one might have rejected the social contract from the moment they understood what the contract was. Since it’s impossible to accept a contract without understanding it (unless you make a conscious decision to accept the contract without understanding it, having been given the opportunity to understand it), that would make it perfectly acceptable for any group or groups to reject the social contract.

Thus, I would argue that in any area where the majority want to have independence from their government, they should be allowed it. One might say that this is a tyranny of the majority, but at least it’s a tyranny of more of the majority than with the alternative. And people do always have the freedom to leave this new country, although I accept that this might come under the ‘freedom to starve’. I still condemn extremist methods such as those of the IRA, but, frankly, I have a lot more sympathy for them than I do for armed minorities who try to force their values on the rest of the world- and depending on my mood, that could include the British Empire as well as Al Qaida.

On a completely unrelated subject, there may be a gap between this post and the next. Blogger is being annoying.

*Except any of you who live in America, obviously.
**Conservatives might not agree, but I’m going to ignore them until they give me an alternative that I think is reasonable.
***Who didn’t see that coming?
****As a side note, it would still be wrong to actually murder someone who had rejected the social contract, it just wouldn’t be in the responsibility of the government to do anything about it.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

This is a rather blatant rant

This might come off as just a tiny bit bitter, but I mean it in the nicest possible way. Would you please just shut up. Seriously. It is really annoying. It's annoying when people drone constantly on and on about the human reproductive system - a subject which, really, isn't that interesting. You cannot imagine how annoying it is to be constantly surrounded by people who periodically break into discussion of a subject which not only are you not interested in, but which you can't even understand - which it's probably impossible for you to ever understand. Like if people periodically started speaking Ancient Swahili*. And you can't just opt out of these conversations either. People all assume you'll be as fascinated by it as they are. When you say you're not, they either stare at you like a particularly rare zoo exhibit, or flatly refuse to believe you.But that's not even the most annoying thing. I have to be constantly checking everything I'm about to say, jusst to check that it won't be accidentially giving the wrong impression. Which would be a lot easier if I had a clue what exactly it was I was trying to avoid. A lot of the time it seems like I can't even be nice to/about a female without people thinking I must be madly in love with them.

And it hurts, too. It hurts when people go on and on about how bloody brilliant sex is. It hurts when our entire culture, from music to TV, from advertising to comics, makes abundently clear that sex is the most brilliant thing ever, and anyone who doesn't experience it on a regular basis has a grey and pointless compared to everyone else's. It hurts when people say that if you don't like sex, then there must be something wrong with you. It hurts when people tell me that my feelings aren't really valid. That they know much better than I do what my own feelings are - when they say that I'm really secretly gay, when they say that I'm not really asexual becuase I'm heteroromantic. When they say that it's just a phase I'm going through. Basically when I'm told anything along the lines 'you don't really know what you're thinking, let me explain it to you'. And when I'm just told that I'm straight up lying. It's also incredibly annoying. Seriously. Don't do it***.

OK, rant over. I don't really feel that way about being ace (most of the time), and I'm certainly not asking you to stop talking about sex. I am asking you to stop trying to talk to me about sex, but that's different. Just needed to get out some of the frustration. I apologise for the high levels of italics in this post.

And if you're going to take just one thing, not just from this post, but from all of Acanthus, let it be this: In future, do try to think about things. Don't assume everyone feels the same way as you. Trust that people probably have a better grasp of what their feelings are than you****. When you think of that oh so original witty comment, consider for a second the idea that the person you're talking to may have heard it several hundred thousand times.

*I'm sure that's not what it's actually called, but you get my point.
**For the curious, the second one is the more annoying.
***To the people who think I'm talking to them: Yeah. Probably. But take comfort: it is definitely not just you.
****And that doesn't just apply to aces. It applies to gays, transexuals, and even people who just have tastes that are a little out of the ordinary. Telling people that they're wrong to have different tastes from you, saying that a male isn't allowed to like Meg Cabot or Glee - that's not very nice.
For the record, criticising someone for liking Twilight is completely different, since some of the messages in there are actively harmful (Also, it's objectively bad).

Sunday, 18 September 2011

An introduction to illogic (and locking people up)

You know, the search strings that lead to this blog are occasionally slightly worrying. I was unaware that anything I'd said had been particularly misandrist, especially not compared to some of what I say. Nor was I aware that London was part of Ireland. I should really watch the news more. On the other hand, I'm apparently listed on Google. In at least three different countries. Which is awsome.

Now that I'm finished with 'stuff you don't care about', onto 'more stuff you don't care about'. Also known as 'the topic'. I bought a book moderetly recently by Dr Madsen Pirie. Now, I quite like Madsen. He's clever, he's good at explaining and justifying his views, he doesn't seem to be a hypocrite, and his veiws aren't without merit. But I'm moderately good at logic, and one of  the first principles of logic is that it doesn't matter who said something - only the argument itself has merit. And some of what he writes in his book is some pretty textbook use of logical fallacy. Let's take his argument against double jeopardy*. He starts off with what technical people who are trying to sound clever call an 'ad antiquitam'. To people to whom words are more a tool of communication than a way of showing how clever they are, that means 'arguing that something is good because it's so old'. It's a rather interesting fallacy for a libertarian to be using, but whatever.  I'll assume it wasn't really part of his argument.

No, the main body of the argument is based on what is known as a 'false dichotomy' (or a 'bogus dilemma'). You should know this kind of thing, because it pretty much defines politics, as well as a significant portion of advertising. 'You're either with us or against us', 'either you support our charity or you hate children', 'either you buy our beer or you'll be unattractive to females'. Ignoring the fact that a third option is perfectly possible. One of the most important parts of his argument is that if there is no restriction on re-trying people for the same crime, there is no reason for the police to gather all of the evidence before trying someone, so they can just keep trying for a conviction over and over, like the Irish government having referenda on europe. He argues that a few terrible crimes going unpunished despite the evidence existing to convict people for them is less important than preserving our personal liberty.

That sounds reasonable, right? I mean, you might not agree, but it's reasonable. Where's the false dichotomy here? It's in Madsen's apparent asumption that either you have no retrials, or you have any that are asked for. Ignoring the fact that you can quite easily have a system which can limit such retrials to only those few cases that an absolutist system would exclude. How about having a system where new evidence has to be examined by a review pannel before a a retrial is called. You could increase the level of proof required (from beyond reasonable doubt to beyond a shadow of a doubtt, for example) in retrials. And you could introduce penalties on the prosecution for unsuccessful retrials. That would stop the police from just forcing people into repeated retrials.

Most of the rest of his argument is a lits of things happening in america. Since I don't really care what the Americans do, and since single examples have little or no impact on issues of general morality (I think this would be an example of 'ad metum', Madsen appealing to the emotions of fear these examples cause in his readers in order to support his argument, rather than using actual logic, but whatever it is, examples might be a useful way of illustrating an argument, but they do nothing to support or condemn the argument as a whole), I'm just going to ignore that bit.

Effectively, Madsen's entire argument is based on a hidden slippery slope argument. A slippery slope, in the contest of fallacy, is the fallacy of assuming that one step in a direction will lead inevitably to the extremes of that position. Madsen assumes that any single step in the direction of trying criminals a second time must inevitably lead to endless retrials for every criminal. There is no reason why this should be the case, and it is, again, a rather conservative fallacy. Leading me to believe that Madsen might better be described as a neo-conservative. Certainly, he seems to have a rather frightning disregard for the concept of 'negative liberty', at least in this book.

Now, I don't want to be unfair to Madsen. I am a liberal, and I do agree that having freedom eroded is certainly dangerous. Whilst  Madsen has failed to make a convincing case** for the avoidance of 'double jeopardy', the slippery slope might actually have some validity in this particular case, were it presented right. its not that there isn't a any way to have a better system, as Madsen claims***. Its that its unlikely that we'd actually have that  system very long. We'd keep making it just a little easier to re-try criminals. If you don't belive me, look at the history for the rules for detention without trial****. In the 1970s, when we were fighting the IRA, it was news that they'd increased the maximum time for detention without trial to a whole week. I personally would allow double jeopardy in some cases, but I'd also reform our punishiment system quite radically. I don't really mind the people who do want to keep away from retrials, I just have a 'let's make everything perfect and keep it there' attitude.

And again, I'm not trying to attack Madsen here. My intent was more an introduction to logical fallacy - to show that an argument that seems convincing can turn out to have to logical strength of a tea-soaked strawbery wafer. And to show that there is virtually no argument, no matter how simple it seems, which can be propperly adressed in less than three hundred words. It's always a bit more complicated than that, until you find you've written a PhD on the invention of the carpet. So why did I pick Madswwn? Well.. guess who wrote the book I use for checking what is and isn't a fallacy?

*For those who might not have heard the term before, that's the ability to try someone twice for the same crime - if they were found innocent the first time, then the police found the hundreds of human fingerbones which they keep under their bed, to take an example that is totally divorced from my everyday life.
**Or, indeed, any case.
***Or if there isn't, Madsen has failed to give his answer to claims that there might be a better.
****More accurately, that's 'the time the police can hold someone without charging them. But since its detention which happens without a trial, I refer to it as 'detention without trial'.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The (im)morality of humor.

Note: The views of the participents in this argument don’t neccesarily represent my own. Despite the fact that they share my name. Also, yes, I'm aware of the date. I would argue that if jokes about terrorism are unnacceptable today, they're always unacceptable.

Ben James:         You know it’s disgusting – all these jokes about rape.
Finn Carter:        Why? Exactly?
Ben James:         Umm... because it’s degrading? Because it belittles the suffering of rape victims everywhere?
Finn Carter:        There might be tasteless jokes, yeah, but surely there’s no difference between jokes about rape and all the other forms of dark humour. Jokes about the holocaust. Jokes about nuclear war. Jokes about cannibalism.
Ben James:         Jokes about the holocaust? You’re seriously trying to justify something by comparing it to jokes about the holocaust.
Finn Carter:        OK, possibly a bad example. Nuclear war is a better one.
Ben James:         You’re really not doing your case any good, you know.
Finn Carter:        What are you talking about? Dr. Strangelove was a brilliant movie. And it manages to make a comedy out of unimaginable horrors. What is there inherently about rape that makes it any different?
Ben James:         The thing about Strangelove – and A Modest Proposal, since I’m sure you’ll bring that up too – is that they satirise state policy. They deal with something that many people, especially those in power, thought was actually moral at the time. The reaction to Swift provides a brilliant example of that. The danger of trivialising horrors only exists when there are actually horrors to trivialise.
Finn Carter:        So we can agree that jokes where the humour comes from attitudes to rape, rather than rape itself, are permissible.
Ben James:         Like in Pratchett’s The Last Hero?
Finn Carter:        Yes, among other things.
Ben James:         I’m not sure I like it, but I’ll accept for now that they could be OK if they were done sensitively.
Finn Carter:        Great. But that’s a side point. What about jokes about terrorism? Those can’t really be said to not be trivialising horror. Are you saying movies like Four Lions and Team America shouldn’t be made?
Ben James:         We haven’t seen one of those, and the other one we hated.
Finn Carter:        I fail to see why that would be relevant.
Ben James:         And suddenly I know why you failed English. But the thing about terrorism is that the whole point – or at least a significant part of the point – is to make people fear you. That’s why it’s called terrorism. Things that make terrorism into a ridiculous joke might to some extent trivialise the horror of terrorism, but one might argue that doing so would actually be a good thing.
Finn Carter:        Would you argue that?
Ben James:         I fail to see why that would be relevant.
Finn Carter:        Fair enough. There are other jokes about murder though, for which that excuse wouldn’t work. I presume that we can agree that being murdered is worse than being raped.
Ben James:         Only on the understanding that it’s true in the same way that it’s worse to be forced to eat broken glass than to have needles pushed under your fingernails.
Finn Carter:        That’s debatable. And fairly disgusting. But OK. Let’s take the onion articles about starvation, kidnapping kidnapping and child abuse*. What’s the inherent difference between them and jokes about rape?
Ben James:         Very little. Those articles make me feel cold and alone.
Finn Carter:        What about Saint Lawrence?
Ben James:         Remind me.
Finn Carter:        Patron saint of cooks. He was burned alive.
Ben James:         You actually find this stuff funny? What is wrong with you?
Finn Carter:        Nothing. You just have no sense of humour. What about James Bond? He regularly makes jokes about murdering people. Noone finds that offensive. Or the saying among doctors ‘all bleeding stops eventually?’
Ben James:         First off, just because everyone thinks it’s OK, doesn’t mean it is. Secondly, I think there’s a difference between comedy that finds humour in something without letting it actually affect the outcome, and comedy that uses torture just for comedy. The doctors are going to do as much as they can to save the patient anyway, and they’ve probably earned the right to make jokes, if only to keep themselves sane, and Bond would kill just as many people if he wasn’t making jokes. Thirdly, everyone knows that murder is wrong. Everyone understands that it’s a tragedy when patients bleed to death. Whereas we live in a society where historically, the victim has been blamed for rape. In some parts of the world that still happens. Even here, rape isn’t taken nearly seriously enough for a crime which is, in effect, sadistic torture.
Finn Carter:        Well that probably rules out the Monty Python example I was going to use, as well as all the dead baby jokes. What other examples can I use...
Ben James:         Let’s end this discussion here, shall we. It’s depressing me.
Finn Carter:        Fair enough. What else shall we talk about?
Ben James:         How does God know that he knows what he knows.
Finn Carter:        Sorry?
Ben James:         It occurred to me that if you apply the concept of Cartesian doubt to God, the only thing that God could possibly actually know is his own existence – He has no way of knowing that he isn’t being fooled by an evil demon, any more than we do. Which means that he’s not omniscient at all. And if he does know somehow, that has fascinating theological and philosophical implications.
Finn Carter:        Ben. You do know that there is no God, don’t you?
Ben James:         You don’t know that.
Finn Carter:        Last week the president was devoured by extra dimensional horrors. There is no God.
Ben James:         That is pretty hard to explain. Maybe Cthulhu is necessary to a consistent universe. Maybe it’s a test of faith. Maybe it was actually a fallen angel. Also, I thought he was killed by a bomb.
Finn Carter:        You don’t think we’d tell people about something like that, do you? Of course, it helped that all the witnesses were driven to gibbering insanity.


Friday, 26 August 2011

R'lyeh Today - excerpt

Are you an inhuman bodysnacher, a hideous Lovecraftian abomination or a teenage girl? If so, these rules are for you, as a guide to help you navigate the strange intricacies of human culture.

1: Don’t flaunt yourself
Listen. We’re not all the big C. IF the pathetic slimy creatures that crawl upon the surface of the planet which is so clearly and obviously rightfully ours hit us with a nuke, not all of us can come back later, but radioactive. Those things can hurt. And even if you are Cthulhu, it’s still not exactly fun. Not to mention that it’ll take you somewhere between 1d4 days and 1d10 + 10 minutes to reform. It’s more time for the disgusting worms who hit you with a nuke to figure out a way to trap you in a giant fishbowl. If possible, be subtle. Which brings us to:

2: Fashion is important
If you can possess humans, transform yourself into the form of another, or hollow out other organisms and inhabit them, do so. If you can actually pass for a human, my deepest sympathies, but you might want to use it to your advantage in this case. But attitude is just as important as what you’re wearing – the best outfit in the world won’t help if you spend your time screaming ‘The sleeper shall awake! Your puny world will burn.’ That said, if your outfit is good enough, you can get away with more. In particular, remember 2b: Sunglasses are never out of style. Idiotic as those clumsy apes are, if your hosts eyes are replaced by writhing tentacles, drained of all fluids, or  even missing entirely*, they’ll notice. Even if you don’t affect the eyes directly, people are very sensitive to the eyes. You can get away with inhuman body-language and utter ignorance of culture a lot more easily than your host’s eyes being hideous empty pits of madness. If you couldn’t possibly be mistaken for a human, try using humans remember:

3: Good help is hard to find.
Everyone has talents, even if they’re disgusting pink worms**. Try not to kill your followers or drive them to utter madness, at least until  after you’ve crushed any opposition and remade the world in your own image†. Humans have an uncanny ability to understand the incomprehensible importance that their society attaches to things that are utterly irrelevant before the infinity of the cosmos, and that can be worth preserving, especially when you realise that:

4: Not all attention is good attention
I know it’s not really your fault, and it’s utterly terrible. Noone should have to endure these things, and when you remake the world as a shining utopia, their sufferings can serve as an example to any of the pathetic others who might dare to challenge you. But for now, you might want to make preparations. When something bursts through the door, driven entirely by rampant xenophobia, whether it’s Delta Green, Task Force: VALKYRIE, or just some madman with CPD, it’s best to be prepared. If your cultists are human enough to infiltrate whatever organisation opposes you, that’s good. If they have tentacles or if their minds have been irrevocably shattered by your glory, it might be a bad idea. Just be careful, OK. But on the other hand:

5: There’s no such thing as bad publicity.
Remember the power of mass media. If you can drive people to madness by showing your true form, take a look at the potential of Live TV††. If noone can disobey your voice, the radio is another good idea.  Get creative: have followers carry around your picture, or a taped recording of your voice†††. Don’t worry about overexposure, or spoiling the surprise: if everyone who sees you goes mad, they’re hardly going  to be able to help ruin your fun, and if they’re slavishly devoted to you, saying ‘don’t tell anyone about this’ shouldn’t be too hard. That way, even though you were on national TV, noone will be jealous. By the time they find out, you’ll have persuaded them to see things your way.

That’s my list. Hope you enjoyed it. Next week, I’ll be interviewing a shoggoth. She is soooo cooooooool.

**Most of the time, anyway***.
***Admittedly, this is only true if you concede that ‘being delicious’ is a talent. Especially in the case of tiny screaming ones****.
****The even more tiny screaming ones.
†And remember to actually wait until after the end. Don’t get ahead of yourself, and destroy your own forces when it’s impossible for the ragtag remnants of the humans to oppose you.
††Probably no point inserting yourself into daytime television though.
†††However, it might be a good idea to take account of rule 3 when you do so.