Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sugar coating a cow pat

This Monday all over the world (in our more "advanced" nations at least), public relations people told their partners over breakfast it was going to be a busy week. After all, the various leaders of these advanced nations were winging their way home from the Copenhagen conference, back to the bosom to their constituents, whose shining expectant faces need to be fed the right mixture of optimism leavened with the need for caution against any moves which might rock the boat, upset the apple cart, or wreck Christmas. Our leaders would need help with this.

And as they sat in their Lexus or Audi or Merc crawling along the freeway with the radio chattering cheerily in the background, our public relations types would have been thinking about what they could pull out of the file as a template to fit the task. A simple job — making an abject failure look like a work in progress. There would be some meetings of key people straight off to outline the problem, but once it was roughed out it could go down the line for the juniors to flesh out the campaign. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a good solid couple of days worth of work that would be nicely billable at a tight time for a lot of firms.

You'll be able to make your judgment of their efforts yourself, but with only a couple of sleeps till Santa comes and then with New Year and the other distractions of the festive season I expect our interest in Copenhagen will have faded and we'll be gawking at Tiger Wood's porn-star lover's latest revelations on page one, while climate change will be back buried at the bottom of page six.

For some reason, I am reminded of the last scene in Zola's novel La BĂȘte Humaine, where the driverless train careers on through the night full of happy, drunken, doomed soldiers.

Let's put my emotionalism to one side. Everything is going to an inevitable plan now and there is nothing we can do to stop it at any level above the personal. If we have made the decision not to go down with the ship, or join the drunken soldiers on the train, our task is quite simple, although not particularly easy, as we will be coming up against the resistance of those who take the p.r. spin seriously. But in essence it is to find the right place to live, get out of debt, have a maintainable shelter over our heads, a reliable food supply and a non-toxic community surrounding us. Good luck!

Edit: from Tagonist, a quote…
Speaking of Copenhagen (and the health care bill) I have a new motto: baby steps equals failure. Suck it up, spinboys...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Art on a Sunday night

And now for something completely different (via Keep It Trill)!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Copenhagen, Rudd, Wong and other delusionary phenomena

I know a lot of people follow the news, waiting with baited breath to see if our fearless leaders will "save" us all at Copenhagen. I find it a little hard to understand how anyone can believe in this stuff at all any more! I suppose the school kids have "ideals" pumped into them and then go out into the world to be exploited by their seniors until the juice is all squeezed out of them. They provide the energy, while it lasts, to give our political processes the appearance of life. But it's all a gigantic machine, set in motion by long-dead hands, where the outcome of hardly anything depends upon specific actors any more — they're all infinitely replaceable — but on the inertia of culture, the habits and desires of billions, the grooves into which our actions are forced to conform by the structures both physical and mental which we inhabit. And how can a system which depends upon infinite growth, ever-expanding credit and growing population and consumption, vote itself out of existence? Because that is the only answer to all our looming problems.

There is no such thing as "sustainable development". It has no more reality than "clean coal". We can go on pretending for a few more years. No doubt there will be people in fifty years time who when the ruin of our civilisation lies strewn about them, will continue to spout the kind of nonsense which fills TV, newspapers and our conversations. And this basically comes down to a frantic groping around for ways to keep the unsustainable way of life to which we are almost all so desperately attached, going a bit longer. But it will end.

Perhaps you find this difficult to countenance and are appalled by my "negativity". But I'm not being negative. I'm merely stating a difficult truth which we are all going to have to face if we live a few years longer. It's a law of nature if you like — and we are animals like any other, subject to the laws of nature as much as any other part of it, however much self-deluding drivel comes out of the mouths of opinion makers on every side of politics.

So is the human race Doomed? Of course bloody not!

The way to think about it is this. Will there be humans on this planet in one hundred years time? Almost certainly! Will they be living where you're living? If the answer to this is most likely yes, how will they be living? Do you want to be part of their future? Yes? Then it's up to you to try and work out how to get there from here.

Forget millennial dreams, or apocalyptic dreams. Forget all the idealistic or nihilistic nonsense you've imbibed if you can. Try to imagine the real situation which will exist in one hundred years, or whatever time span you pick.

By the way, Ran Prieur has done a great post on the same ideas I've been riffing on above. Read it here. A quote…
It is said that Obama is wearing a mask, being a deceiver, as if he carefully pretended to be a progressive activist for a quarter of a century because a time traveler from the future told him that would get him elected president in 2008 so he could pursue his secret right wing globalist agenda. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" -- but it's hard to imagine two presidents more different than Obama and Bush. The fact that the country is moving the same direction under each of them should tell us something else: the president is not the boss. Obama has never worn a mask -- Obama is the mask, and not a very good one. It has never been more obvious that America is an ossified dying empire with a suicidal inertia that no leader or movement can stop. If Sarah Palin, Dennis Kucinich, or Carrot Top were president, the system that the president pretends to run would still be bailing out banks and insurance companies, escalating wars, hiding atrocities, and generally chugging along to its ruin.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Barnaby Joyce

Barnaby Joyce is conservative politician and a thug, and I don't like his world-view. He reminds me of some of the kinds of people I was at boarding school with: arrogant and overbearing. However he has done the unthinkable and spoken the truth — called the USA for the fake that it has become and blown the whistle on the Potemkin Village of Australian exceptionalism. Unlike the cardboard cut-outs he's surrounded by in Canberra, he speaks his mind. Naturally this has freaked them out. Sooner or later this was going to happen — the cosy consensus managed by spin doctors and PR masters was going to crack. Once it breaks the ground will open up in politics and we will get very different world emerging. It will be a dangerous world because we are living in dangerous times.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Riffing on the Archdruid's latest

He strikes again! The Archdruid rarely disappoints and this week's post is another ripper, as he meticulously pulls apart our hopes and fears over climate politics and expiates on the folly of betting on the big end of town, political or business, to save our arses (or asses for US readers). Because it's over folks! Till your garden, mend your fences and talk to your neighbors, because that's what matters now.