Work Reading

It may just be the funniest thing ever written about what working has become:

George Saunder's title novella "Pastoralia," about working as a caveman in the
history theme park from hell:

   In the old days, when heads were constantly poking in, we
   liked what we did. Really hammed it up. Had little grunting
   fights. Whenever I was about to toss a handful of dirt in her
   face I'd pound a rock against a rock in rage. That way she
   knew to close her eyes. Sometimes she did this kind of crude
   weaving. It was like: Roots of Weaving. Sometimes we'd go
   down to the Russian Peasant Farm for a barbecue, I remember
   there was Murray and Leon, Leon was dating Eileen, Eileen was
   the one with all the cats, but now, with the big decline in
   heads poking in, the Russian Peasants are all elsewhere, some
   to Administration, but most not, Eileen's cats have gone wild,
   and honest to God sometimes I worry I'll go to the big slot
   and find it goatless...


   Nobody's on the path, although from the direction of Pioneer
   encampment I hear the sound of rushing water, possibly the
   Big Durn Flood? Twice a month they open up the Reserve Tanks
   and the river widens and pretty soon some detachable house
   parts and Pioneer wagons equipped with special inflatable
   bladders float by, while from their P.A. we dimly hear the
   sound of prerecorded screaming Settlers...

A good next movie for Spike Jonze.


Green Machine Dreams

From Orion Online

No Such Thing!
by Jane Holtz Kay

   How could "clean" cars free the Americans now immobilized by auto-dependency spending eight
   billion hours a year stuck in traffic; help the 55 million school age children on bike or
   foot threatened by racing roadsters; aid the dependent elderly unable to drive, or the 9
   percent of our households - the poor, women and minorities--who can't afford a car?? What
   would a dream machine do for the quality of life of the overworked American needing a ton
   of steel and wheel to buy a quart of milk?

   ...Altering the chemistry of the vehicle that causes one-third of our CO2 emissions is fine. But
   how about acknowledging that another third of this energy consumption is spent in highway-bred
   building of 953,000 homes a year - largely at the end of a road - filling 60,000 acres of wetland,
   and taking one million acres of farmland out of production every year. Why adopt the car guys'
   detour? Why not challenge the chief polluter of our lives and landscapes? Clean consciences
   may put coins in some psychic (or Detroit-based) bank, but they don't clean the environment.

Dreaming wrong.


What then shall we do with all the gold?

Published on Monday, November 27, 2000 by Outlook India

Power Politics
The Reincarnation of Rumpelstiltskin
by Arundhati Roy

   One marrowy American panelist put it rather nicely --"God gave us the rivers," he drawled,
   "but he didn’t put in the delivery systems. That’s why we need private enterprise." No doubt
   with a little Structural Adjustment to the rest of the things God gave us, we could all live
   in a simpler world (If all the seas were one sea, what a big sea it would be...) -- Evian
   could own the water, Rand the earth, Enron the air. Old Rumpelstiltskin could be the
   handsomely paid supreme CEO.

   When all the rivers and valleys and forests and hills of the world have been priced,
   packaged, bar-coded and stacked in the local supermarket, when all the hay and coal and
   earth and wood and water has been turned to gold, what then shall we do with all the gold?
   Make nuclear bombs to obliterate what's left of the ravaged landscapes and the notional
   nations in our ruined world?

Via the excellent Wood_s_lot.



Think, Thank, Thunk
The importance of diversity and the threat of proprietary nature:

Fruits We'll Never Taste
Preserving diversity -- in the natural world and human culture -- lets us delight in an abundant world
By Beth Ann Fennelly, Michigan Quarterly Review

   What I want to say is this. As a poet, I’ve been carrying on a love affair with words and
   the world for 28 years, and I’ve come to believe that the sheer magnitude of creation
   blesses us: the gross numbers, the unaccountability of it -- as if the world were a grand
   room full of books and though we might read all we can, we will never, ever outstrip its
   riches. It’s both an unsettling and a comforting thought. If we are stewards of the world,
   we are stewards of a charge beyond our comprehension; even now science can tell us less
   about the number of species we have on earth than about the number of stars in our galaxy.
   There is something important in the idea of this fecundity, this abundance, this escape
   hatch for our imaginations. Somehow, despite our savagery, we have been overprovided for,
   and I believe it is a sign of love.

Via SciTech Daily.


Ned Wump

A little luddite reading for the 'bairns...

Wump World by Bill Peet

   The Wump World was mostly grassy meadows and clumps of leafy green trees with a few winding
   rivers and lakes. Then suddenly a myriad of huge iron and steel monsters from outer space
   invaded. Soon the Wump World was overrun by pollution. What will happen to the Wumps?
   The Wumps had an ideal world that satisfied all of their needs. Then the Pollutians
   arrived from the planet Pollutus. They made a real mess of the Wump World. It became so
   bad that the Pollutians moved to a new world. The Wumps were left to deal with their
   polluted world.

   The Pollutians invade the Wump World and turn the green meadows into a concrete jungle.

We hate it when that happens...