Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mmmmm... chocolatey!

Water from the Gulf of Mexico looks like something out of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory after a touch from B.P.'s caressing hand. B.P. had this new slogan a year or two ago: "B.P. ...beyond petroleum." Well, not for a long time yet.

When preventable disasters like this happen, we still have the luxury of complaining. What if, in the future, our choices are starker: if to maintain our standard of living in one part of the world we have to destroy, poison, another part completely?

Humanity is shaping up for a titanic 21st century crisis of some kind or other, but one that will boil down to a crisis of Capitalism, with international corporations on one side and a green alliance on the other. And initially, corporations will win, because they have, and make, all the money in the world, and the can deliver our creature comforts. Environmental policies and groups up to the present have only been able to offer us sticks and no carrots.

Corporations can afford armies of lawyers. So what's to stop them affording armies? We've already witnessed the privatization of war (Halliburton's no-bid Iraq contracts, Blackwater, sorry, Xe Services*, as Blackwater is now called, etcetera), and so, until humans line up and say enough, advanced Capitalism will seek new markets and new profits: will seek to do the equivalent of cutting off your legs and, (under new laws passed by Congress), force you to buy new legs.

Recognizing this means you're half-way towards winning. But you also need to do one more thing: read the last two stanzas of Robert Lugubrious Lowell's poem, Waking Early Sunday Morning aloud in a sort of Winston Churchill accent and make your jowls quiver (if you have any). The two stanzas are:

No weekends for the gods now. Wars
flicker, earth licks its open sores,
fresh breakage, fresh promotions, chance
assassinations, no advance.
Only man thinning out his kind
sounds through the Sabbath noon, the blind
swipe of the pruner and his knife
busy about the tree of life ...

Pity the planet, all joy gone
from this sweet volcanic cone;
peace to our children when they fall
in small war on the heels of small
war – until the end of time
to police the earth, a ghost
orbiting forever lost
in our monotonous sublime.

[*Note: Did Blackwater think that putting an X in your corp name would really terrify the infidel and the general public? What a bunch of school children!]