Thursday, December 24, 2009

Writes of Passage

What Ed said. This has been a huge pet peeve of mine for some time. I love the way technology has democratized and facilitated our ability to communicate freely and easily. But it's sad to realize that so many people who have absolutely nothing to say, nor the skills to competently say it, have been empowered and enabled by these toys.

It's not about the linguistic lepidopterist's cri de coeur to faithfully preserve any and all conventions of spelling and punctuation, it's about what a moron's failure to observe those simple conventions communicates. At risk of stating the obvious -- but I seriously doubt it would be obvious to a preening halfwit like Sarah Palin -- the way a person writes is not only a function of the way they speak, but of the way they think. And what Palin communicates in her climate change twittering -- aside from the fact that she apparently does not know the difference between "ions" and "eons" -- is that she does not actually read, much less think about, the things she writes.

What you end up with is a shitload of people who don't bother to inform themselves about much of anything in any real depth, pontificating on subjects they know very little about. And since they don't read in general, they don't understand the fundamentals of composing an argument with coherence and structure and narrative heft. You get these stupid little word-salad blips that mean whatever the hell Miss Thang wishes they meant. But that's not writing; hell, it's not even typewriting.

In terms of intellectual honesty and probity, Palin is the equivalent of an illiterate, drug-addled dipshit on a sidewalk with a crayon and some cardboard, scrawling half-formed trifles of thought for the bemusement of unfortunate passersby. CNN, true to form, stenographs her nonsense uncritically, in fact casting her yet again as a scrapper unafraid to take on The Man. I mean, for fuck's sake.

Let's cut to the chase about what the climate change dispute is really about: exactly how many people around this benighted planet can achieve the American way of life, of consumption and indulgence, before it exacts a permanent, catastrophic price on a substantial part of the earth's ecosystem. We have it, they want it, and now that they have all the manufacturing jobs we used to have, as well as the technology to attain that goal, it becomes a number-crunching exercise.

Let's do some quick back-of-the-envelope calcs to illustrate. Figure that the most advanced industrialized economies -- North America, Europe, Japan -- total around 900 million people, out of roughly 7 billion total population. Figure also that the two most rapidly rising economies, China and India, have about 2.5 billion people just between the two of them. Each country has enormous seething underclasses and infrastructural gaps which will require attention in order to maintain their domestic stability.

The scale of just those two countries in comparison to Europe and the U.S. is amazing. Nothing Sarah Palin has ever tweeted or babbled about any subject indicates that she remotely comprehends any of this, that China and India each have lower classes far larger than the entire population of the United States. To bring them up to the same level that even the American underclass has would require efforts of a scope and scale that guarantees serious environmental consequences.

And yet we cannot continue to sit smugly at the top of the heap and deny to everyone else the creature comforts we take for granted. There is some sort of equilibrium that must be sought, or what we've seen just over the past decade -- the poles melting, mass mammalian extinctions continuing apace, clear-cutting everything in sight -- will be just a prelude. It can't be solved at some bien pensant circle jerk in Copenhagen, certainly, not with a bunch of douchebag private-jet limo libs smugly dictating terms for the peons, and overbreeding Third World shitholes refusing to take responsibility for their own demographics. But the dribbling buffoonery emanating from the denialists, who mindlessly chant "drill baby drill" without considering all the externalities of such endeavors, is far more destructive.

Perhaps this would be more readily apparent to a society that hasn't already done every conceivable thing it can to undermine its own capacity for reason and critical thinking. Dean Wormer was an optimist.


Marius said...

The Moose Hunter there illustrates the second paradox right-wing Republicans like her are caught in, in this country: trying to run for government office while deeply opposed to its existence (apart from a minimal role as owner of the police and the army, to enforce contracts on behalf of the ownership class); and trying to communicate while deeply skeptical of reason, arguments, uses of evidence, and other such 'elitist' baggage (apart from rhetoric, which even hillbillies can master and grasp, presumably).

As to the shocks of the future, America has prepared itself the only way it knows -- by spending as much on weaponry as the rest of the world together, more or less. If the global peonate becomes too restless, they can always be freedomized by a flock of F22s. I look forward to the coming (re)demonization of the yellow races in this country's culture and media. The sharper the competition for scarce global resources, the easier to make the case that "they" are evil. After all, the road to conscience does pass through one's stomach, as a cunning German Jew once observed.

And merry Christmas, Heywood.

Anonymous said...

Dig the Animal House reference. This blog is the molten core of my media mix.

Heywood J. said...

Hope you and yours had a merry Christmas as well, Marius.

Anonymous, the phrase "molten core of my media mix" is pretty damned sweet.