Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend this place with bleating

I asked myself what I could do for my country, so I posted my idea on Your Country Your Call. Unfortunately it had a typo, which will probably mean it will be disqualified by mean-spirited reviewers.

Here I reproduce it in full, with the typo corrected, so as not to let this idea go gently into the night.

Mandatory Clown Suits For Social Welfare Recipients

A brief scan of the ideas submitted hitherto reveals, somewhat regrettably, downright hostility to social welfare recipients. Yet many people receive social welfare because they need it, and not because they are sloth-riddled ne’er-do-wells.

If we want to get people back to work in this country and create a caring society, we need to remove the stigma attached to social welfare recipients.

At the same time we need to ensure that the burden of looking for a job is as light as possible, so that people do not spend one moment longer on the dole than they need to.

These challenges would be best addressed by supplying each recipient of unemployment benefit with a brightly-coloured clown suit, curly wig and face paint. They would wear this for the entire duration of their time on the dole, and the cost of producing the uniform would be borne by their first dole payment.

The key benefits of this proposal would be as follows:

– Resentment toward welfare recipients would diminish, since everyone loves looking at clowns. This would create a more harmonious society in which true creativity and collaboration can flourish, laying the basis for a lasting prosperity, rather than the stagnant, imagination-free atmosphere from which we are now emerging;

-Benefit recipients would feel positive about themselves, knowing that even as they walk the streets looking for work, they are providing a service to society by cheering up others.

-Local textile enterprises, long dwindling, could receive a lifeline from the extra demand for their products. They would benefit from the additional expertise brought to bear from people who have deep experience of wearing clown suits. Ireland could become a world leader in the design of clown suits. We could get the likes of John Rocha and Louise Kennedy to put their expertise to work in the national interest.

-The process of delivering clown suits, and ensuring that benefit recipients wear them while they are receiving benefits, could be industrialised for export beyond these shores to governments faced with similar unemployment crises, to the benefit of all humanity. This fits in with the government’s ‘Smart Economy’ strategy.

-Tourism would receive a massive boost from people around the world who long to visit such a happy, vibrant place.

In sum, this is a quick-win solution to alleviating the general gloom benighting the country. We could call upon our captains of industry like Michael O’Leary and Bill Cullen and the fellow from the Frontline a couple of weeks back who was offering sales jobs in his call centre to lend their support, taking clowns on placement to work alongside normal people. Worker productivity would be raised through the general happiness radiated by the man or woman, whether in the cabin crew or the car showroom, who greets colleagues with a big smile and the odd squirt of water from a plastic flower.

I expect lots of sniping from cynics, but I shall not be moved in my quest to make this country a better place.


14 Responses to “Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend this place with bleating”

  1. 1 coc February 25, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Most amusing. I had a quick at and it is exactly what one would expect of such an enterprising, eh, enterprise.

    I was disappointed to notice the list of categories in the ‘View Proposal By’ drop down list are not ordered more usefully as follows:

    Hopelessly Earnest
    Deliberately Stupid

    I think I will register now and make this very suggestion.

  2. 2 Hugh Green February 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I’ve been reading the proposals in more detail this morning and I have to say that it renders my stab at something satirical entirely redundant.

    Like this, for example:

    My proposal is to generate electrictity using people power. It involves producing energy from turbine / generator which would be turned by human force. It involves having a 1 MW turbine connected to a gym / fitness centre where all the gym equipment would be arranged in such a way that it is connected to the turbine / generator which in turn is connected to the ESB National Grid. As people work out on the machines they would be producing electrictity. A 1MW turbine will produce electricity for approx 200 homes. I would estimate that it would take the manpower of 15 people using the equipment at any one time to turn the turbine / generator.

    Instead of people paying to use a gym, I would propose that they get paid to “work out”

    With dynamic thinking like that, the future is surely bright.

  3. 3 Etty Mologia February 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Inspired by Hugh Green’s practical idea of connecting all gym and workout centres to a national electricity grid so that users of bicycle exercise machines can contribute ecologically to power generation I have a parallel proposal. Methane gas digesters have been built in various parts of Africa and Asia to enable householders cook food and boil water at minimum cost. I suggest that Irish companies build household digesters in back gardens and on common parkland adjoining urban housing estates. Broad funnels attached to durable plastic pipes connected to individual or communal digesters can be attached to bathroom walls. People can occasionally break wind in the privacy of bathrooms and, by pressing the funnels to their bottoms, channel the methane gas from their farting into household digesters or communal estate digesters, thus storing up continuous supplies of renewable methane that can be used for cooking and water heating. So let us all collectively fart for sustainable Irish power generation and employment creation. I don’t have any draughtmanship skills and would appreciate if a helpful reader would draw a diagram to show at a glance how the system might operate.

  4. 4 coc March 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I have been inspired to register, but have yet to propose my own genius idea. For now I have been amusing myself encouraging the efforts of others.

    Here are my efforts to date. I’m sure that you’ll agree that I have crossed the line between encouragement and ridicule once or twice but, it’s harder than you might imagine to ridicule people in such a way that it is not obvious that is what you are doing.

  5. 5 Hugh Green March 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Etty Mologia,

    Nice, but I believe your proposal could be streamlined somewhat by cutting out some of the unnecessary human elements. For instance, have you considered simply burning food as soon as it is produced? That would be more efficient and less prone to human error and interference.


    Ooh you are awful. But I like it.

  6. 6 L of Melb March 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I genuinely cannot wait until you lose YOUR job. Seriously, delicious anticipation of your utter humiliation and degradation as you languish pointlessly on the dole, unable to find any meaningful work whatsoever – it’s clear from this article you are ill suited to any form of living within society and once we’ve got your policies in place, you’ll be throw to the dogs. Have fun!

    • 7 Hugh Green March 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm

      I’m sorry you haven’t seen fit to treat my proposal with the degree of seriousness it requires. I suggest that my utter humiliation and degradation will not be as delicious as you might think, since I’ll be wearing clown make-up and it will be hard for you to tell. Nonetheless I appreciate the sentiment.

  7. 8 FXH March 15, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I guess it’s ok to sit around in your middle class comfort sipping lattes and thinking up ideas to help the underprivileged. Unfortunately the modern Irish hace a reputation for doing this. Your Mr Bono (is that a surname or a fist name or a nickname from school?)and that scruffy Geldof guy can’t seem to stop themselves.

    But like them you too are guilty of shallow glib solutions.

    Have you thought of the fact that some clowns are in fact SAD clowns?

    And how practical is it to walk around all day in huge oversized flappy shoes?

    Added to this is the makeup – how many unemployed people would be expert at applying clown makeup?

    I think you are also forgetting that many people have a fear of clowns or at least a mild aversion.

    I’m not sure that on my next visit to Dublin I want a tatty, resentful clown showing me around Trinity and the book of Krill or pulling me a pint at a small authentic bar at the airport. Much less a bloody clown playing me diddlydiddly music or singing Carrickfergus on a tourist bus to Blarney.

    You’d need special segregated clown toilets. After all in a clown suit no one can tell what gender you are.

    However the idea of a clown being the front man /singer for U2 does have a certain charm.

  8. 9 Hugh Green March 16, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Hello FXH,

    You outline some valid concerns. A proper change management process would deal with them. We could have a two-day motivational session before the clown suit is finally handed over. That way the unemployed will grasp the true joy involved in being a clown, and there is therefore no need for you to worry that your next visit to Ireland might be impaired by sullen-looking clowns.

    The number of people with an aversion to clowns is far less than the number of people with an aversion to poor people. We can expect a high proportion of poor people to wear clown suits. Therefore, even if we have some people perturbed at the presence of clowns, we will have a lot less people perturbed at the presence of poor people.

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  1. 1 Support My Proposal For An End To Cynicism « The Punishment of Sloth Trackback on March 2, 2010 at 8:29 am

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