We Just Tore Up Our Contract With Mother Nature
Or, more vividly, we just pissed and shit all over said contract.
Let’s talk about the oil spill. I wasn’t going to. I know, it’s silly, and it’s selfish, but man, with selling a house and trying to juggle projects and planning a new novel, it’s like… I read the news and I feel overwhelmed by it. Swept away in its foul current. Easy to read the goings-in in the world and come to the swift conclusion of, “Oh, right. We’re all ruined.” It’s hard not to see Cormac McCarthy’s The Road not long down the pike.
And so I said, hell with this. I don’t want to blog about the awful.
But I don’t know that I have much other choice.
So. Thoughts. In no meaningful arrangement.
It’s The Animals, Stupid
It was the images of the animals that did me in.
I don’t think I’m supposed to post those pictures here, ’cause I don’t own them, though a part of me wants to say, “Hey, fuck that, everybody needs to see these no matter what, and failing to click the link is not an excuse.” I mean, everybody should see this stuff.
Whatever. I urge you: click this to look at animals caught in the oil spill.
And read this article about it, too. A quote from said article:
“When we found this dolphin it was filled with oil. Oil was just pouring out of it. It was the saddest darn thing to look at,” said a BP contract worker who took the Daily News on a surreptitious tour of the wildlife disaster unfolding in Louisiana.
I know. It’s silly that it takes pictures of sad animals to make me — or others — care. But hey, it works. The more you think about it, animals represent a kind of innocence. They’re just animals. They didn’t do anything to deserve it. Fish gets eaten by a shark, well, okay. That’s the circle of life. That happens. Shark drowns in an oil slick, that’s not life. That’s awful. That’s wanton disregard. That’s far outside the weave and weft of standard operating procedure. So, the animals represent a strong image in this: as humans, we’re inclined I think to self-hate. “Well, there’s oil out there, and we fucked up, and maybe we deserve it.” Maybe. Maybe not. But the rest of Mother Nature, she’s innocent in all this.
Dolphins, fish, turtles, dead, dead, dead.
Marshes, grasses, sea plants, all dead.
The cleanup efforts may deoxygenate the oceans, causing further instability.
That’s just in the Gulf Coast.
Yesterday, the oil was spotted nine miles off the coast of Florida. Heck, tarballs were found in Key West in mid-May. (“Tarballs” was also my nickname at Fat Camp.)
The oil isn’t stopping. Hurricane comes, they say the oil could go far and wide.
The Info-War Is On
Information about the oil spill is growing online. Took longer than expected, I think, given the speed with which the Net disperses stuff. But now I’m seeing more and more memes geared toward the BP disaster (i.e. “Deepwater Horizon Spill”) –
Equal parts funny and sad. Two things the Internet does very well.
It seems lazy. As if commentary alone fixes things.
But satire has a place in all this. Satire’s working to get me worked up. And when you see things like the above article where BP is trying to hide the dead animals, or where they’re trying to conceal the things they already knew about the problem — hell, they had whiffs of the problem in 2009 — you start to see that this is very much a war of information. Yes, obviously, it’s about the oil and the containment and capping and cleaning of oil, but beyond that, it’s about who knows what, and when.
The Internet is an unregulated flow of information.
It’s good if we use it to channel truth. Or, at least, something approximating truth (as could describe satire).
It’s bad if we let corporate interests use it to channel propaganda. (And this is another reason why we don’t want a corporate-controlled Internet, by the way.)
Hell, the touching, frustrating blog post by Cherie Priest put me on the path toward writing this blog post. (And may I again say, “Read Boneshaker?” Yes. Read Boneshaker.)
Information is power. And we have that power.
Blog about this. Talk about it on the Twitterspaces or the Faceyfeeds. Retweet the images of the animals. It’s not a huge thing. But it’s something.
One of the most clear and affecting sites? If It Was My Home. Click that. Spread it around.
Oh! Hey, Look! Halliburton is Involved!
…because that’s always a good sign.
Halliburton is like one of those fictional companies in genre stories that’s always at the center of really bad shit. It’s like they exist just to fuck stuff up. Hey, the Iraq War’s going really bad — oh, look! Halliburton won more contracts! And they’re overcharging America for their shitty service! And soldiers are dying! What’s that? Halliburton accidentally released a toxic cloud in Farmington, New Mexico? And they’re implicated in “improper cementing,” thus helping to cause the goddamn awful ocean-destroying oil leaks in the Timor Sea and the Gulf Coast? Good times, good times.
I expect to turn on the local news, see a story about a guy who kicked a puppy to death, and see him wearing a Halliburton jumpsuit in his mugshot.
Halliburton: a company even Osama bin Laden thinks is evil.
Regulation, Baby, Regulate
Hey, great. Another reminder why we need to regulate giant companies.
You fuckfaces who think we need to de-regulate? Fuck off. Fuck you. The GOP has twisted a message and somehow turned people (like the Teabaggers) into defending Giant Corporations Who Are Rich And Will Go Stompy-Stompy On Your Ass If Given Three Dollars To Do So. To make an extra two cents on the dollar, these companies will poison you. Your children. Your dogs.
The anti-regulation crowd has tied the fortunes of Middle America to the fortunes of Big Companies. It’s insane. Newsflash, asshats: those people are rich, you people are not. The gulf between the rich and the poor in this country is growing just as fast as this damn oil spill and is easily as toxic.
Seriously? You really trust Humongous Faceless Corporate Interests over the interests of your fellow man? You’re saying we should trust them to do the right thing? Are you fucking apeshit? Companies do what’s in their best interest. And you can’t blame them. That’s Capitalism. But you can regulate them. You can put fences in place so they don’t leave their predefined area and go, ohh, I dunno, dumping oil in the bellies of baby seals. You can make sure they don’t repackage septic mortgages. You can make sure they don’t create and legalize corporate scams. You can make sure they’re not putting pesticides in our baby foods.
(Of course, the Teabaggers and the “deregulate!” crowd trust all the big companies, pretending like they have implicit confidence in humanity. Of course, “humanity” really means “white people.” They trust Monsanto and their terminator seeds, but they don’t trust… oh, that black guy over there. Or, God forbid, Mexicans in and around Arizona.)
We’re pretending like regulation damages Capitalism. Hey, dumbfucks, it’s not called Ethical Capitalism. It’s not called Compassionate Capitalism. Capitalism is just an idea. It’s just an economic model. You know what matters more than economic models? People. Actual, living, breathing people.
Dolphins are more awesome than Capitalism.
We need to remember that the dollar serves us. We don’t serve the dollar.
And so I say: regulate. Regulate the unmerciful fuck out of giant companies. They have untold power. They have the ability to sway government in ways you could not possibly imagine. You’re for small government? You’re for the common man? Fine. Then own that. Mean it. Act on it. Giant companies create giant government. Giant companies stick an asbestos boot up the poop-chutes of the common man.
We don’t trust the common man: it’s why we have police.
So why do we trust big companies? Why don’t we have laws in place to protect us there?
How can you support that?
Write your legislature.
Demand regulation. Demand a criminal investigation into BP. Demand that lobbyists be shot in the head like the zombies they are.
Are We Fucked?
Probably. I sometimes think that things are just too big. The problem’s like a bad cancer. Not just this problem. Not just the oil spill. But everything. It’s like a mold problem. Or termites. “It’s everywhere.” You want to clean it out, you gotta just burn the house down.
Man, this is starting to sound like a crazy person’s manifesto. For the record, I am not advocating violent recourse. Please do not shoot lobbyists. Just, y’know, spray them in the mouths with bear mace.
It also doesn’t help that I’m watching The Wire. Seriously, if any show will make you doubt society’s ability to maintain itself, it’s that one.
But, even in the face of overwhelming awfulness, we can try to do some stuff, right?
What You Can Do
I was always told not to bring up a problem unless you have some solutions.
Some big, some small. In no particular order:
Stop sucking on the teat of bottled water. It’s a bullshit industry. No, really, check it out.
Do not fill up at BP stations. Also: remember that some companies are subsidiaries of BP.
Send a message to Congress. This one’s easy. The letter’s already written.
Cut oil consumption. Or, for every dollar of gas you buy (or oil for your oil tanks), send ten cents (i.e. 10%) to a charity like NWF or Oxfam.
Blog about it. Talk about it. Spread the word.
What else? What else can we do?