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Chapter 1
Days of ARNS Past

Ask Amritsar to Swear By It [ARNS]

Dear Amritsar,

Yesterday, I reposted a cartoon on my Farcebook page that compared a prominent American politician to Baby Spice on account of his, you know, small hands and tendency to throw temper tantrums. I thought it was funny. One of my fiends didn't. He responded with a torrent of abuse so foul that I had to use a fire extinguisher on my computer screen to keep it from combusting! Thrice!

Well. I am considering unfiending him. Would the proper etiquette to write my final message to him be, "Consider yourself unfiended, ferker!" or "Consider yourself unfiended, motherferker!"?

Terrence Barko Lowinager

Hey, Babe,

I can see why you would write me with this question: heaven forbid you cause your soon to be former fiend offence by getting this wrong.

As a general rule, Amritsar does not condone or encourage the use of foul language in public fora (no, no, no, that's a woman's name...unless you were thinking of the word for plant life - no, that's the word for a type of hat - oh, come on, people! Fora is the proper Latin plural form of the word forumnus - place of holding a toga party! Were you not paying attention in grade three?) - alright. Places. Amritsar does not condone or etc. the use of foul language in public places!

I blame the school system.

It's not that Amritsar is a prude. When she is unhappy with the play of her partner in an otherwise pleasant evening of contact whist, she has been known to say, "Drat it!", "Goshdarn it!" and even "[EXPLETIVE DELETED] you, you [EXPLETIVE DELETED] moron! Couldn't you [EXPLETIVE DELETED] well see that I had set up a full body [EXPLETIVE DELETED] grand slam?" In fact, Amritsar has likely been thrown out of more dining establishments for using foul language to berate the vending machines than you have teeth in a hen's head!

No, the problem is that when public discourse (no, not a reference to the plate of food in front of you, or the series of lectures you're taking at university, or the steps you need to learn for that dance number from the 1970s - [EXPLETIVE DELETED], you're ignorance of the basics of the English language is making this a lot harder than it has to be!) is filled with expletive-laced anger, it becomes impossible for people who disagree with each other to talk. When people with opposing points of view no longer talk, bad things happen: riots, wars, reality television celebrities grasping for positions above their station (and sometimes achieving them).

For democracy to work, people with opposing views must be able to communicate with each other in a civilized manner. As Plato said, - well, no, if you're having this much trouble with the English language, I'm not going to bring a Greek into this! As - well, no, that last point wasn't a translated quote from Plato, that was my opinion. As - no! - I wasn't putting words into Plato's mouth! Plato has nothing to do with - oh, [EXPLETIVE DELETED] this action - meet me in the next paragraph!

As Don Cherry said, "For democracy to work, people with opposing views must be able to communicate with each other in a civilized manner. If you must do a little clutch and grab or maybe some stick work above the waist in order to make your point, just make sure you do it when the ref isn't watching!"

He knows a lot about the democratic process, Don Cherry does.

The problem with people unfiending each other right, left and centre (more Don's - ahem - fields of expertise than mine, but be generous, dear reader) is that the echo chamber of their own discourse (don't you start!) will push both sides in an argument to take up extreme positions, leaving no common ground on which to come together. This is how divorces happen. And, civil wars.

So, rather than unfiend the person with whom you disagree, you should try reasoning with them. Lay down your expletives. Bracket your epithets. Ignore your invective. Reasonable people can find common ground upon which to build a better future if only they are willing to reason with one another.

Dear Amritsar,

Have you seen what I wrote about you on Farcebook?


Hey, Babe,

Wha? You - seriously? You wrote...! And, then...! And followed that up with...! How dare you, sir? How dare you? I barely even know your goat!

Consider yourself unfiended, motherferker!

Send your relationship problems to the Alternate Reality News Service's sex, love and technology columnist at questions@lespagesauxfolles.ca. Amritsar Al-Falloudjianapour is not a trained therapist, but she does know a lot of stuff. AMRITSAR SAYS: people who hate Muslims generally also hate gays. People who hate gays usually also hate Jews. People who hate Jews usually also hate blacks. And, so on. So, don't feel smug if your minority group isn't currently the focus of organized hate groups. Hate does not discriminate.

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Welcome Back My Friednishes To The Show That Never Ednishes

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The Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) has two advice columns: Ask Amritsar, a column about love and sex and technology, and; Ask the Tech Answer Guy, a column about +