DIATRIBE A bitter, sharply abusive denunciation, attack, or criticism. Known in subversive circles as ‘conversation’. There is little point in speaking about anyone at all except in derogatory terms. All subversives are bitter about something, be it the blatant oppression of the working classes by the ruling elite; the exploitation of minority groups in our supposedly egalitarian society, or the price of deodorised socks at the Co-op, and will waste no time in denouncing¹ any or all of them.
1. The most important thing to remember about the act of denunciation is that it does not encumber the denouncer with any responsibility, e.g. suggesting a solution to the problem. This is the job of politicians – who really should know better.
DICTATOR (See Despot – above) Charlie Chaplin played The Great Dictator in a film, only to find that a Mr A Hitler subsequently plagiarised his creation and went on to achieve worldwide notoriety without having to eat liquorice boots. Many historians have considered how the impact of the Second World War might have been lessened had Mr Hitler been as funny as Mr Chaplin, but on closer examination of the latter’s films, most are forced to agree that he was.
DIM Rather stupid. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of dim people to your organisation. With proper persuasion, they will do all the things that you are far too scared to do. Also, when captured by the authorities, they will waste no time in admitting to anything at all, as long as the policeman offers to share his Smarties.
DIGESTIVE A medicine which aids digestion. More importantly, a biscuit. Should you ever find yourself in gainful employment, always strive to assume control of the staff tea fund. Once in this lofty position of power, replace the digestives with Rich Tea and watch the fun begin¹. Remember that, whatever is claimed to the contrary, the tea fund never did stretch to Custard Creams and always offer to reinstate the Digestives in return for an increase of the weekly subs. Be prepared to deny emphatically that the quality of the tea has fallen during your time in charge and also that the tea money has, in any way, contributed towards your new Rolex watch, whilst pointing out the importance of proper timekeeping in the delivery of the tea. Always keep a separate stash of Supermarket Own-Brand Rich Tea, which can be passed off as ‘low-sugar’ or ‘gluten-free’ as required and a small pack of Jammie Dodgers for the exclusive consumption of the person in charge of the photocopier and the recently divorced hottie in accounts.
1. It is a universally acknowledged truth that absolutely nobody likes Rich Tea biscuits – with the possible exception of vicars’ wives, who do so solely on a cost basis, and Supermodels, for whom a single biscuit provides a)100% of their daily nutritional requirements. b) A convenient ashtray. c) A nice shiny surface from which to snort their actual daily nutritional requirements.
DISMEMBER To sever limb from limb. Probably not the best course of action for the do-it-yourselfer. To be efficient at this you need a sharp knife and a strong stomach. It does make a dreadful mess in the bathroom and, unless you feel you really have to make a point, I recommend you dismember something with far less blood, gristle and sinew than the average human being. Try a chocolate digestive biscuit, a plastic duck or Donald Trump (please).
DISSENT To disagree with the methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government; take an opposing view. Does this make you a subversive? No, this makes you normal. Governments in general serve only one rational function, that of being the focus of dissent. It is perfectly logical to hold in contempt anyone who always knows what is best for you. Government is full of them¹. It is also full of people who know that what is good for you isn’t necessarily good for them.
1. Politics is the only profession for which being called a ‘sanctimonious prig’ is considered a good thing.
DODGE To evade by sudden shift of place. What one does with all responsibility.
DOMESDAY Archaic word meaning ‘The day of Judgement’. Generally associated with the Domesday Book, an early census, ordered by William the Conqueror, who wanted to know exactly how much he could screw out of whom. Think combined Census and Tax Return with the implicit threat of disembowelment for non-payment.
DOOMSDAY The Day of Judgement. Your afternoon in Magistrates Court – £25 fine and bound over for two weeks. Also, excluded from all branches of McDonalds until April.
DOWNHILL Into a worse or inferior condition. The direction in which your life is heading. Generally, unless you are wearing skis, it is not considered ‘a good thing’ to reach the bottom first. Even in Downhill Skiing, one is expected to reach the nadir with some form and grace; not with one shoe missing, a fat lip and a tampon up one nostril. Also, remember that not even Franz Klammer was able to walk back up the mountain, no matter how quickly or elegantly he got down it. A couple of paper cupfuls of gluhwein down at the bottom end and you’re staying there baby.
DUEL A prearranged combat between two persons, fought with deadly weapons according to an accepted code of procedure, esp. to settle a private quarrel. Once an invitation to duel has been accepted, it is considered extremely bad form to hide behind one’s girlfriend pretending to be a non-English speaking Lithuanian with a dodgy leg. You will be considered a complete cad if you do not go ahead with the duel and die with honour. Duels are traditionally fought at dawn, with either swords or pistols. (If you are offered the choice of weapons, go for celery. Contempt is much easier to handle than fatal wounding.)
DUET A piece of music for two performers. What you thought you’d read when you accepted the invitation to a duel.
DUODENUM The first portion of the small intestine, from the stomach to the jejunum¹. The first indicator that you are actually properly scared.
1. The section of the small intestine between the duodenum and the ileum – and you think your job, stacking supermarket shelves, is grim.
DYNAMITE High explosive. Much like next-door’s glue-sniffing son, this is never to be approached with an open flame. Much like next-door’s glue-sniffing son, dynamite can have a devastating effect on the neighbourhood. Unlike next-door’s glue-sniffing son, dynamite is very rarely sick on your rhododendrons.
Place a soft-boiled egg up a politician’s exhaust (or that of his car).
© Colin McQueen 2022
The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here