Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Homeless J, 9

This is the narrative of a fictional homeless person named J. Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the author.

The newspaper article is real:


Homeless Story of J, Part 9

A trusty ally is the dumpster. My hard drive and internet. While the formicae connect to the world through their computers, I achieve the same by immersing in real tactile trash, none of this ethereal “recycle bin” stuff.

And what do I find this morning, underscored by an eyeliner of coffee grinds? An article in the Washington Post: “Historic Spill Fails to Produce Gains For US Environmentalists”--

Which is just to say that the Gulf of Mexico is bleeding oil like the belly of an harpooned Gargantua, leaking to pollute the seaboard of half a continent, and not enough people in the great gas-guzzling Empire give a damn. Can you say denial? Can you say addiction?

The citizens of the United States, you see, are the most pampered consumers in the Age of Capitalism, and for decades have been conditioned to purchase products made by wage-labor slaves in countries that destroy their environments to get raw materials to serve the Empire. The good citizens expect to buy what they crave cheaply, and especially that includes gasoline. They are known around the globe as privileged octane pigs. It has been this way for at least half a century, and to them the black gold is a given. Theirs to swill and the devil take the consequences.

And yet the US is the shortest lived of all Empires. It lasted from the end of WWII to the middle of the Presidency of George W. Bush. By the year 2006, GW had wrecked the last of the Empire’s equity and clout, involving the country in two unwinnable and ridiculously cruel and inept wars. At the same time, he lavishly kissed the corrupt asses of the rich and plundered the holdings of the people to stoke corporate coffers.

We have an Empire that lasted perhaps sixty years. Compare that to Rome, Spain, Britain and the Dutch. The result? A dismal and pitiable attempt at greatness. The lesson is that greed is even more dangerous in the Nuclear Age than it was before. With advanced technology, greed can devastate the world--debauch the good, melt polar ice caps, extinct baboons and rhinos, pillage the last of caribou lands, create drone killers, design infectious diseases, and numb the human mind until it is stupid and blind and addicted as the US consumer who sees no problem with mainlining oil while a vast oceanic disaster continues to hemorrhage.

Sad and foolish people. You are as yoked to gluttony as the sweatshop slaves are yoked to hunger.

1 comment:

  1. very sobering article and blog post, I hadn't thought of the timescale of the US empire in quite that way before