Friday 20 July 2012

Hard feelings (Rorschach).

Up, Down. 
[These are very good (20-30 minutes each):
          1. Chris Hedges: Days of Destruction with Mike Finnerty on The Current, July 10.
          2. A backgrounder to the above: Harvest of Shame from 1960 with Ed Murrow.
          3. James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change at TED in March.

It is time, and well past time, to pull out all the stops.]

Skybird, Alexander Calder.Holy shit! Alexander Calder died in 1976 already! He was 78 when it happened so I guess he had a good run.

This Skybird of his (which I call a spiral) is signed, so we know which way he thought of as 'up' for it, and it is on a rectangular piece of paper, so there are three immediate and obvious rotations, three allemande rights (though of course there are more symmetries than that).

Skybird, Alexander Calder, 90° right.I guess I saw an exhibition at the AGO sometime in the early 60', late 50's maybe. There was an articulated lump of steel slag in the narrow hallway that used to run behind the main gallery, and this heavy thing was moving (so gracefully) in the breeze from an open door. It was summertime and I thought the doors had just been left open to cool the place. I thought this particular bit of the show was only for me. Imagine!

There was also a large wire wolf with wooden doorstoppers as teats - an enlightening surprise for a boy in the Toronto of those days.

Alexander Calder.But mostly there were mobiles, a wonderful profusion in primary colours, moving in the air. I went straight home and began to make wire and tissue-paper mobiles of my own. When my parents sold up and moved away from Toronto I was old enough to think of going to the States to beg admission to his studio, sweep floors whatever, but not swift enough to just go ahead and do it. Oh well.

Apparently the efficacy (and easiest thing to measure) in a Rorschach test is the subject's (or object's more like it) willingness to play the game. Simple. Hardest thing about it is confidently spelling 'rorschach'.

I like this global test. It's pretty simple too:
A "... global test for social and political institutions and theories: if either does not respect the claim that failure to address a serious global threat is a criticism of it, and a potentially fatal one, then it is inadequate and must be rejected."

[A Perfect Moral Storm p 217-18. The sentence carries no fewer than three footnotes. Wowzers!]
Alexander Calder.The Keeling curve needs to flatten out by 2015 give or take, and there is no mystery at all about what needs to be done to see that: Stop polluting now!

[That Steve Gardiner immediately writes off this solution gives me pause.]

The institutions I know of, including (I am very sorry to say it) some, many, of the activist ones, are taking up every lame excuse they can find or invent to do shadow work instead. Or what amounts to shadow work: Let's go build a Great Green Wall across the Sahel in Africa. Yup! Yup! Yup!

I know about this and similar kinds of procrastination and have often used such tactics - but never when I was in front of a moving train. (See Colville.)

In any event the institutions have failed, and continue to fail this global test - most egregiously and grossly and often arrogantly. Does anyone want to argue this? Discuss it? Think of exceptions? Make it a relative thing? A matter of degree? ... O.K. Fill yer boots but it won't wash.

So. There is now no chance of keeping it to 1.5°C, and only the tiniest fraction of a chance remaining for 2°C. Dig it! And the odds are getting shorter every day - with every air flight, car ride, avocado imported from Mexico ...

Alexander Calder.More than 2°C average temperature rise within 100 years is uncharted territory, but what charts there are ... are consistently grim: Homo Grǽdum is cooked, at best a remnant remains within the next half-dozen generations. All of Homo Grǽdum's stuff (the economy, coastal cities, agriculture, law & order, every sort of infrastructure ...) goes first of course, but it doesn't happen over the weekend. (It might be better if it did. Humans deal not so badly with that kind of immediacy and we might actually pull it out. Doesn't matter - not the case.)

Which brings me to the hard feelings:

Some, many, of our descendants will not notice - what they are born into will not be that superior to what they have to live with - the changes will be incremental, gradual, with the occasional tiny step back, and those on the front-lines will tend to vanish and be silent. Whatever is going on will soon seem normal. The educational system will connive. And too, denial will persist as a basic human tactic as long as humans do.

Alexander Calder.But those who do notice will look up and back to curse: their fate, their forebears, their ancestors and progenitors - with feeling, since the situation they will be in will not be of their making. A few clans may not: James Hansen's offspring, Tim DeChristopher's, Tuíra Kayapó's ... but by and large the generations alive in 2012 and some that went before will be deservedly cursed.

Particularly those among the so-called 1% and their flunkeys, and any politician (including those who invented such catchy and impenetrable slogans as 'green shift' and 'dutch disease'), anyone with the least affiliation to the UN ... This will not be quite fair since the 99%, the complacent consumers, deserve a huge slice of the responsibility ...

Skybird, Alexander Calder, and again.But Hey! What's fair got to do with it when it looks like you're going extinct or nearly?

Each of the rotations I was mentioning above makes a different impression - definite bird elements in all of them (the top left is Calder's orientation - clicking on any of them will bring up something like the original).

Skybird, Alexander Calder, and again.This last one looks sort'a like a question mark to me. Or maybe a Guillemot.

Cursed? But who cares eh? There's no magic in curses any more than there is in prayers. But do you care? That's the question.

Tell ya' what - best is not to think about it. Go out tonight and see if you can get your wick wet or your slot packed, stupefy yourself (to the extent that you are not already stupefied) in whatever ways you can imagine and afford.

Tell the man I said it was alright.

Or ... Wake up and DO something! Them's the choices and it is now or never. Maybe I could say, "Get yer feckin' thumbs out!" ... whatever.

Be well. 
This could also be said:    Some individuals in the generations alive in 2012 and before did speak up, and some continue to.

They put their best foot forward, put their bodies in the way and went/go to jail (or worse) and not just for an afternoon, and many of these were and are people of real substance (not property) and good character who laboured and labour conscientiously and with all the skill and energy they possess - to the last gysm - shining and sparkling people, "l'armée des étoiles jetées dans le ciel," and they deserve to be listened to and heard and understood (in their fullness).

If there were a celestial choir we might look forward to joining the likes of Irmã Dorothy, Zé Claudio and his good wife Maria, Chico Mendes ... and no harm in dreaming.

Anyway, just consider that curses could conceivably, possibly, quite reasonably, flow forth as well as back across the generations. It is a dull blade that doesn't cut both ways eh?

Oh I know I know I know, this kind of ranting is strictly verboten, against the laws of correctitude and of the ideology of positivity and all that (guff).

Can't help it. Sorry.

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