And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Gen. 1:26
It is almost a year ago that BP (et. al.) spilled a great amount of oil into the gulf. Today, it seems that even was a mere blip on our national radar in comparison to the many more events that have struck the world since. At the time, this author was certain that this would be our Chernobyl – that the loss of the entire coastal ecosystem and economy would tip the nation into some kind of crisis, forcing us to examine our economic relation to nature. But then, Justin Biber got a hair cut or some other piece of nonsense.
As more damage is done in order to continue our current ways we cause more noise, but get across fewer ideas. Fewer newspapers printed perhaps means more trees saved. Less toxic ink, you didn’t really want to wrap the already dioxin filled fish in volatile organic compounds and heavy metals. News, printed or not, seems to deliver less anyway. More news posts just spider other news sources that again are cut and paste jobs. Fewer [non porn] images come across all media (CNN reruns the same clips as to other networks as if of the thousands of dudes out there with cameras at even the slightest event or occurrence, only one has a working camera). The NYT (et. al.) shows fewer images of what’s really happening. War is a few closeups of individuals sitting about a cafe and a story about children going to school, mountain top removal is depicted as old women saying goodbye to their homes about to be bulldozed but never showing the true cost of war, the bloodshed and victims, nor the environmental carnage of our age. More and more, our minds are sanitized by the corporations – a network of supernatural (immortal “real persons”) entities in charge of growing amounts of power, both over other real persons, and over the dominion of the things that creepeth upon the earth. Those foollios afraid of social security numbers as the mark of the devil and sovereign people who watched way too much Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Twilight Zone need to get out their Bibles and look at Walmart as the anti-Christ. These real immortal persons are increasingly allowed to play with the world as a child plays in a sandbox. Or, to play God, which, I believe, is against the tenets of the Bible thumping crowd – that same crowd that seems to support less regulation and unfettered and brash every-man-for-himself capitalism.
However, we need not worry anymore. We are told that everything is all right. The oil mysteriously vanished, the south recovered, and like New Orleans, the story slipped off the pages of the newspapers and became a local issue. Unless you were a crustacean at the bottom of the ocean, but then, fuck you, you don’t vote. The radiation, will evaporate. The gas fracking, will not harm the water, the mountain top removal, well in a few million years, those mountains will grow back as right as rain.
Again and again, we expect that this is it. This is the point where we, at least our nation, will think about the coming downsizing, right sizing, and get Back to Basics. Then we see that the economy and to a certain extent the planet absorb yet another catastrophe and we munch our way through another Earth Day shitting out more plastic bippies and tossing that one bottle into the green bin that voids all our personal responsibility to this mess about us. The news tosses us up another End Days Story, and in a matter of days or weeks, we are able to shrug it off. Haiti, meh, Japan, huh? Libya. who? Gas goes up again, but we are in a recovery, so not to worry. Government to shut down? Nah, all a Bread and Cirrus act. Perhaps technology will rise again to spread democracy and world peace and further prosperity as we figure out how to suck up the spilled oil, undo the dead zone in the gulf (the anaerobic zone, not the BP oil spill zone), recapture the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and pick up our candy wrappers along the highway. With the advent of Thundersnow, dust storms, floods, crop failures, drought, and sundry other ecological bumps and bruises, we are demonstrated time and again that we are not in charge of this planet, but merely specks that dot about on the surface. Currently, the environment is a big loser in this equation. Even in my home environment, my potted trees have been assailed by woolly adelgid, another superbug from Asia, a region where to survive an environment where its human population eat everything and anything, one need become as horrific as possible to survive (think Chinese chestnuts, walking “catfish,” Zebra mussels, and Kim Jong Il). These floods and stresses seem to make more fodder for the nightly news cycle than an impact in our daily lives, however, as our overly complex system of services, goods, and the very limited systems of power in place to make this moving parts spin (oil/coal), many of our supply chains are showing their tattered edges as they are stretched out as if our money managers never cracked open a single military history book and saw how the greatest military power of the time, NSDAP Germany, was absorbed not by an army of farm boys with sticks, but by the Russian landscape and brutal winter. Nature is showing that she plays a good game, and she always deals her hand last.
We are reminded that despite the earthquake, tsunami, and increased activity at a certain nuclear power plant [aka, what we used to call a meltdown before the corporate media dominated], that the economy won’t be ruined by these events and by looking at the various stock exchanges and metrics, the market seems totally above the human suffering and coming disruption to the supply chain. Then, those same officials, with a total straight face, tell us we need to build and maintain a enormous security system, monitor domestic citizens, and live in a perpetual state of fear, least some sparklers go off in a duffel bag and the entire nation is brought to its knees.
A duffel bag with some radioactive dust will decimate the United States, will cause economic collapse, will spread to the world, will lose all our freedoms, and to that we must build the greatest surveillance system the world has ever seen, to spend the greatest part of our national treasure to support and sustain in the face of growing social needs. But, what happened in Japan….. A gigantic clusterfuck salad? That’s local news. The radiation threat? Only about a month of “background” radiation we get from Mr. Sun. It really takes a lot of that “radiation” stuff to damage the human body, we are told by The Media. Europe warns about radiation, yet the United States, a country closer to Japan, sends out no warnings. Nevertheless, we move up our threat level since some fool packed his SUV with a few BBQ propane canisters, some firecrackers he bought from New Hampshire, and a few boxes of 9d nails. This attempt, we are told, would have brought the nation to its knees.
Perhaps why it’s no longer if you get cancer, but what kind of cancer will you get and the excitement of finding out where.