When she was a child, Gert used to tell her little brother stories about a place called Arrapamatta. These stories became the Denis Kodaly work The 1001 Nights Of Iarcus Oralto. The talk-back radio program was invented in Arrapamatta, as was the art of gaslighting.
Here’s an example of gaslighting as recounted by Iarcus Oralto. It would do Donald Trump proud:
Silence fell over the whole room as a footman announced in a piercing bellow, “The Great Magician!” Into the room strode a tall gentleman clad in a voluminous cape of lettuce-green indiarubber. Accompanying him was an elderly man pulling a cart piled high with an assortment of what appeared to be household rubbish.
To a blast from a trumpet, the Great Magician declared to the crowd:
“See that heap of junk over there?”
and he waved towards the pile of rubbish his assistant, upending the cart, had deposited on the floor.
To a second blast of the trumpet, the Great Magician spun round rapidly several times, waving his hands sinuously round his head. Coming to a halt, he flung his hands out towards the aforesaid rubbish and declared,
and the crowd roared out delightedly,
“a heap of junk!”
Whistles and hoots, wild clapping burst forth. From all around me I heard the wondering exclamations,
“He turned a heap of junk into a heap of junk!”
Turning to my companion, who was delirious with delight, I ventured cautiously,
“But, sir, surely there is no change in the situation? What was a heap of junk remains a heap of junk?”
His rubicund face took on an expression of dangerous fury.
“Now look here, toffee-nose,” he burst forth, “if you can’t see that the Great Magician has turned a heap of junk into a heap of junk, well, I, well I ……” He was lost for words.
It was clear to me that there was some element of behaviour in this country that escaped my understanding.