Climate Alarmism and The Prat Principle.
I’d like to introduce you to one of the great discoveries of my life, the Prat Principle. Before doing so, I’ll have to ensure we have a common understanding of what exactly a prat is, prior to sharing it with you, together with some related tricks and tips.
Prat is one of the great words in the English language. You occasionally see it spelt with a double T but I feel that’s just gilding the lily. Disappointingly, its use doesn’t appear to have spread much outside the British Isles and Australia, so perhaps this piece might move its usage a little more onto the global stage. It’s such a useful word, it deserves that. Certainly, in other parts of the English-speaking world, there are terms that come close to its exact meaning but none are really accurate synonyms, which I’ve always been surprised at. I’m thinking here of words like Klutz, Drongo, Dork and Galah, which get close but don’t quite ding the bell.
While it’s a term of disparagement, with a rather specific and particular meaning, it’s not classed as a swear word. It’s not just labelling someone as stupid, which it certainly does, but also that they are arrogant and blithely unaware of how pompous and ridiculous they appear to everyone else.
If you consult the Urban Dictionary, you should get an idea of the shades of meaning attached to it; “clueless person of arrogant stupidity”, “Basically someone who’s a major idiot, or is delusional and dumb. Acts against logic and thinks he’s self-righteous”, “Someone who is full of themselves and, almost invariably, stupid as well. With a hint of deluded.”
It’s the complete equal-opportunity insult; black, white, yellow, Jew, gentile, Muslim or Hindu – anyone can be a prat. Though it’s actually a gender neutral term, its usage is mainly directed at men, since they appear to have a greater propensity for acting like one. Intellect is no barrier to being a prat either. As a matter of fact, it’s people who’ve had some education or at least think of themselves as some sort of intellectual, who are most prone to acting like a prat.
It’s most commonly used in the phrase “What a prat”, uttered with feeling by one person to another, when the prat is safely out of hearing distance. Dependent on how big a prat they were, the R is rolled more. The prat of course, is blissfully unaware that everyone else thinks they’re a prat. A milder admonition, is to tell a friend to stop “acting like a prat”, when they’re being foolish in a proud and self-righteous way. Notice they’re not accusing their friend of being a prat, but acting like one; it’s usually enough to shock them out of it. However, condemning someone as a “complete prat”, is a bit like saying they’ve got irreversible brain damage. It’s an incurable and permanent condition.
I think after that lot, we should all be on about the same page, when it comes to our understanding of such a useful word.
Being a good prat spotter saves you lots of time. Seriously.
An ability to detect prats quickly is one of those essential life skills that inexplicably, nobody ever teaches you about in school. Sometimes you can pick them out at a great distance and that’s a real life saver.
Long distance prat spotting is a difficult and subtle art which really can’t be taught in a modest blog piece like this but I’ll try to give you some rough guidelines. It’s a bit like the way astronomers used to discover new planets in our solar system. It wasn’t that they could actually spot the planet itself, but that they could detect the effect it was having on the orbits of the other planets they already knew about. You see a group of people talking and all but one of them is periodically looking over their shoulder for any escape excuse. The one doing all the talking and not looking around desperately for some way out, is of course, the prat.
You see them across a crowded room at a party, where they’ve gradually backed some poor individual right across the room and up against the wall, and having ensured they’re now trapped, are boring them to death with their well-meaning earnestness. Don’t ever catch the eye of their hapless victim, because you might be tempted to mount some sort of humanitarian rescue mission, which will only get you pinned as well. You’ll become the fresh meat, while the original victim grabs the escape opportunity with both hands to artfully skip away. If your conscience starts to hurt, just keep sending the victim over lots of strong drink. Finding some refuge by drinking yourself into a mild stupor in such circumstances is understood and generally condoned by polite society. Needless to say, you should never risk taking them the drink yourself.
There can often be certain visual markers, plainly visible from afar. They’re mainly connected with a dysfunctional dress sense. They tend to wear an extra or curious item of clothing which makes them look silly but you just know, they absolutely think it somehow makes them chic, exotic or at least different. It’s that bad hat or overly loud tie or the wrong livid colour of hair dye or blasts from the past, like wearing bell-bottom trousers. It’s the sartorial manifestation of that same blind spot of self-reflection, inherent in being a prat.
There is a more subtle visual tell-tale sign but you have to be pretty sharp to spot it; it’s a mannerism of holding their chin up a little higher than is normal. It’s body language denoting their sure and certain knowledge that they’re more noble and therefore more caring about us poor children of a lesser God. It tends to be more pronounced in photographs.
It’s perhaps my imagination, but I swear to God, a lot of them don’t appear to blink much.
On the audio front, their voice will usually be a tad higher than any other in the conversation. Should you inadvisedly query any of the knowledge they’re patiently feeding you, it’ll rise even further because of something called escalation, which I’ll explain about later, and your days of finishing a sentence without being either interrupted or simply talked over, are over. Short of feigning an attack of the vapours or a coronary, you’re pretty much buggered at that point. You’ll know this for sure, when a steady stream of drinks starts arriving from your so-called friends.
It’s well worth working on your long distance prat spotting skills though, because they’ll prevent you having to use your close up and personal spotting techniques, which are usually too late to be of any use. By that time, you’re already in trouble. It becomes an escapology problem rather than a prat spotting one.
If you do get buttonholed by one, then you have to fall back on your own particular coping mechanisms. There’s a lot to be said for listening to your natural fight or flight response, the latter being invariably the right course. There are many ways you can do this and over the years, I’ve become rather good at it, though I say it myself. I’ve had a lot of practice, since I look eminently normal, rational and reasonable, which for some reason that has always eluded me, means I am a magnet to a variety of prats, determined to convince me of the merits of various dubious propositions. I’ll share with you a selection of my favourite escape techniques, which through necessity I’ve had to develop. Please feel free to share any good ones of your own as a comment.
Pretend you’ve just been hailed by someone out of their line of sight and quickly make your escape. The only preparation it needs is to physically rotate the conversation, by gradually shuffling left or right, until their back is to the door you plan to escape out of. Timing is critical on this one; wait until you see someone just exiting the room by that door, shout “Okay, okay I’m coming” loud but not too loud, a slight exasperated “some-people” roll of the eyes, make a hurried apology and head in the direction of the same door at a brisk catch-up walk. If you get it exactly right, the prat turns just in time to see you hurrying after your assumed friend’s back.
You can also get an important business call on your mobile, which with a hurried apology, you’ve absolutely got to take in private. Your phone, of course, is on silent ring, irrespective of whether it actually is or not. It may not even be switched on.
The venerable toilet excuse is always available but it somehow comes with the downside that out of common politeness, you feel slightly duty bound to return to wherever you were before your pit stop. This forces you to hide yourself in the toilet for at least ten or fifteen minutes with people banging on the door, in the hope that you’ve given them enough time to get bored with waiting for you and move off to persecute someone else, before you eventually reappear.
The one time when escape is virtually impossible, is in business meetings. If there’s a comfort to be found in the situation, it’s the shared misery with your fellow sufferers trapped in the room. The hell of it is, you so often have to sit and listen to them, just to get to the people who will be saying something useful. I tend to wait until they use a longish word, which is usually a short wait, and start working on its anagrams. Doodling can help.
Prats always have a cause and it’s always a very fashionable one. Once in a while, the cause is quite obscure but it’ll always be stylish. Within a few minutes of first meeting them, they’ll have moved the conversation around to it, just to impress on you how very special a person it is you’re meeting. That crowbar gear change in the direction of the conversation, usually sets off the alarm bell but by then you know it’s too damn late. It’s time to start work on an exit strategy.
They tend to suffer from what psychologists call escalating behaviour patterns. They can somehow sense there’s something wrong in the reception that greets their monologues. What the ordinary sane person would interpret as blank stares of badly concealed incredulity and stunned silence, they somehow see as a failure on your part to understand the vital importance of what they’re telling you. To help you out, they repeat, simplify and exaggerate every point and the delivery becomes more and more dramatic, which stuns their audience into silence even more, so they exaggerate even further. By the time you meet them for the first time, they’ve long ago reached the Nth exaggeration. It can be quite a bracing experience.
Climate alarmists, especially the prominent ones, are prime examples of being a prat. Because they’re on a mission to save the entire planet, it’s pursued with an almost religious zealotry, which in conjunction with escalation, forces them to say increasingly ludicrous things, to get us to recognise how important that mission is and how noble they’re being.
It’s probably not a view shared by many people on the climate realist side, but I consider such people to be real assets in our struggle. The number of ordinary people they can totally alienate with their wild claims is extraordinary, not to mention the rather guilty pleasure I take in watching their own supporter’s sharp intake of breath, every time one of them gets anywhere near a public podium. You can nearly read their thoughts – “Oh God, what are they going to say now.” I think of them as liabilities best left in place, to wreak the damage, which both their egos and personalities will inevitably compel them to do.
I thought at this point, I’d throw in a few world-class quotes by such people, simply by way of illustration, but it’s such a target-rich environment, it’s very difficult to pick out the choicest ones. From Al Gore’s “..because the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees…”, to James Lovelock’s “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic, where the climate remains tolerable”, to James Hansen’s “The Oceans will begin to boil…”, to Gordon Brown’s “We have fewer than fifty days to save our planet”, to Dr David Viner in 2000 “within a few years winter snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is”, and back to good old Al in 2008 “The entire north polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years” - they are all splendid examples but you’re cordially invited to share your personal favourites as comments.
Think of it as an opportunity to deploy that unique weapon which we possess and they don’t, a real sense of humour. I’m looking for the best of the best, Mirimar, the top gun of quotes made by climate prats. Bring me the crème de la crème of “your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” of quotes, here to be saved for history and the enjoyment of future generations, as yet unborn. Bring them to me, bring them to me and I will give the poor wretches a loving home and care and tend for them dutifully. They will be my gift to posterity.
You can spend a lot of time listening to a prat, and when you think it over in retrospect, whatever it was they were saying, it always turns out to be not just drivel but wrong. It’s one of the few things about human behaviour I can say always about; it’s always useless drivel and it’s always wrong. The big payback is that having developed your skills in prat spotting, you can then concentrate on escape and evasion, away to much more interesting people. That’s the prat principle really - they never say anything significant, they’re always wrong and you can ignore them completely.
So there you have it, the Prat Principle. It’s saved me years of wasting precious listening time.
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