Thursday, May 03, 2007

emergency cioppino

by Agent 99

Cioppino, as you can see, is darn ingredient-intensive fish stew, with many intrinsic qualities that make it a pretty good metaphor for our world today... if, that is, we're talking about a kettle-full that's been left out on the kitchen counter for, say, two weeks. Then you have the right combination of factors -- number of ingredients; condition; digestibility; various textures; messiness; flavor; aroma; and things growing from all these -- to be able to compare the tackling of our problems to the consumption of such a cioppino. Forget palatability! When life gives you extremely unpleasant cioppino, you make lemonade? How do you begin to make a silk purse out of this sow's ear?

The people who care enough to give it a try are, as ever, spread far and wide, tending to be secretly or frankly alienated from most of their should-be compatriots, many too set in their alienation to pool their efforts effectively once given a forum for it, and how many of them agree on the priority of this pot full of rotting emergencies anyway? There is the problem of which bit of mutating spoilage needing to be addressed in which order, and the problem of where such a band of ciphers would put this seething apocalypse in the context of their personal priorities. Very hard time making this work pay, and so what about the freakin' mortgage, man? My kid's got the measles. My car broke down. I can't stay awake another minute. My eyes are going to drop out from screen glare.... No, better to strike out on your own and hope to attract enough readers to your blog to begin having some measurable effect on the collective consciousness.

The kettle of fish is metastasizing out across the counter, invading the sink and the stove, dangerously near both the drain and the fire -- down irretrievably and up in flames -- and you're set up at the chopping board almost fainting from the putrescent air. So much for the effectiveness of your personal bit to save the world. You're moments from splitting your head open on the tiles as gravity has its way with your fumes-insentient form.

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Still, there are some very successful blogs that really do have some clout. Which of them with a coherent exposition of the problems, let alone positive solutions, the ability to give policy to the institutions we have for problem-solving that very clearly all are too narrowed in favor of special interests to accomplish the successful resolution or even accommodation of the dire emergencies harming life on earth already and threatening ongoing dispositively-lethal levels of harm to most or all of it?


Each settles into the mediocrity of attracting crowds, a Newsweekishness that really can only deliver votes for one party or the other... as distinct from solving problems of global proportions. It doesn't seem to be possible for it to evolve any other way. It probably is, but the personal sacrifice involved in breaking through the entrenched power structures of global politics doesn't seem to interest any but the very greediest humans. Look how long the current criminal power movers have been at it. I'm not sure, but I think Karl Rove is among the youngest of them, he's 56, and been at it hard, to the exclusion of everything else, for forty of his years. We don't have forty years, or thirty, or ten, or two.

Spend a little time reacquainting yourself with the deeper implications of the word "emergency" to get a feel for the veracity of my words. You can't simply call this fetid kettle of cioppino a mess that can wait to be cleared, and you can't really think that letting entropy solve it for us is going to be anything less than a mass extinction event. So. It seems we've ordered our society such that there is no mechanism for emergency management that does not involve the staking of your credit rating, if not indeed your very home and entire livelihood.

For boomers this probably just means an increasingly uncomfortable old age. For our kids, and their kids it means far, oh yes so very far, worse.

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Stamp this message with a label, a tag, a keyword -- negative, passionate, clever, unreasonable, nagging, crazy -- figure out what to call it so you can file it and move on from this dank and dim revelation and get in some billable hours or go for a run or walk the dog... pay your bills.

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