Tuesday, June 24, 2014
In which the pond prefers a lot of time on Walden Pond to even a little time with the Australian ugliness of the dim-witted Caterists ...
On VIDEO: We're in an empty parking lot on a cold, gray day. Something is floating across from us... it's an empty, wrinkled, white PLASTIC BAG.
We follow it as the wind carries it in a circle around us, sometimes whipping it about violently, or, without warning, sending it soaring skyward, then letting it float gracefully down to the ground...
Jane and Ricky sit on the bed, watching his WIDE-SCREEN TV.
RICKY: It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing. And there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just... dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That's the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever.
RICKY (CONT'D): Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember... I need to remember... Now Jane is watching him.
RICKY (CONT'D): (distant) Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it... and my heart is going to cave in.
Of course the pond leads a secret life.
If all the pond read was the barking mad outpourings of the commentariat in Australia, soon enough the pond would be as barking mad as the Bolter, or Akker Dakker, or little Timmie Bleagh, or Miranda the Devine ...or the entire stable of paranoid reptiles who drink the kool aid at the lizard Oz.
To develop the strength to deal with the ratbags, the pond spends moments over breakfast reading sensible publications dealing with poetry or climate change.
This might involve reading Helen Vendler reviewing the poems of Mark Ford in Intriguing, Funny, Prophetic Ford - inside the NYRB paywall - or the satanic Bill McKibben, reviewing a work by Richard B. Primack, in Walden Warming: Climate Change Comes to Thoreau's Woods - also inside the paywall.
You can read Thoreau explaining how he likes to go for four hour walks each day - lordy lordy that such times should have been - but the paywall cuts McKibben off just as he's hitting his stride, so allow the pond to complete the thought:
Concord is now an affluent Boston suburb, but Primack and his Boston University graduate students have fanned out across the twenty-five-square-mile town (which includes several large tracts of preserved swamp and forest) spring after spring, duplicating Thoreau’s labors. They’ve learned where dozens of rare plants hide, and made sure that they’re on hand to observe their first flowering. The result is one of the best records of the transformative power of global warming—a before-and-after picture of a planet in very rapid transition to a new climatic state.
Take, for instance, the pink lady’s slipper orchid. In 1852, the second spring of his careful record-keeping, Thoreau noted the first open flower on May 28. As Primack points out, this is an easy flower to notice opening—“over the course of a week, the flower bud is elevated a foot above the ground on a green stalk," and the bud changes from green to pale pink before the "flower pouch puffs out and turns bright pink and the petals flare out to the sides." In 1853 Thoreau saw this show climax on May 20, and between May 24 and May 30 in subsequent years.
For Thoreau, then, "this was a late May species." But today, Primack says, most of the lady slippers would be long-wilted by that date - in recent years it has blossomed as early as May 3. That is, in the scant 160 years since Thoreau wandered the words recording dates on slips of paper, the spring had moved forward three weeks, at least for the lady slipper.
And many other things too: in Thoreau's day apple trees flowered in the third week of May, but now the blossoms appear as early as April 18. Wood sorrel, with its five-petaled yellow flower, blooms six weeks earlier. "Not all species shifted the same amount," writes Primack. "Some changed by one week, others by two weeks or more, and some species did not change at all. But the general shift toward an early flowering is a widespread pattern." Thoreau, in Primack's words, has provided us with a valuable "biological yardstick" against which to measure a changing climate. Or to use Thoreau's more evocative language from Walden, Primack has discovered a "realometer" that should allow readers to dig beneath
"the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality and say, This is, and no mistake".
But of course the pond's beat is the mud and slush of opinion and prejudice and tradition and delusion, and there can be no finer example of this than a Caterist in full winter bloom, scribbling furiously UKIP will rock cultural elite (behind the paywall because some will also pay for undiluted rock solid crap).
Now on any other planet, the sort of hard right ratbaggery of the UKIP would be treated with some kind of scepticism, some kind of distancing, in much the same way that Hansonism in Australia was seen as representing the worst in Australian politics - though some might argue that Tony Abbott using a mysterious slush fund to bring Hanson down set a new level of political thuggery. (How the Labor party must regret not having mounted a Royal Commission into the $100,000 or so Abbott raised to mount legal actions against Hanson and One Nation in a bid to bring her down - Abbott faces questions over Hanson slush fund).
But there you go, once again the pond has been distracted by the spectre of a grubby, boofheaded, head kicking thuggee getting away with it ...
Back to that other dodo, the Caterist at play, raising the spectre of the plastic bag.
Remember when the world was going to collapse over the new light bulbs?
That was a bit of little Timmie Bleagh nonsense. Week in, week out he raged, like a dim-witted bulb:
Here, if you must, and comically, the movement even had a facebook page, Bring Back the Incandescent Light Bulb, Urgently, though the last entry seems to have been back in 2012.
Well there's urgency and then there's getting a life, and soon enough the petrol-headed Bleagh's railing at electric vehicles will seem wondrously comical and silly, like everything Bleagh scribbles ...
But stay, the pond seems to keep getting distracted from the Caterist, furiously scribbling away, easy enough to do when you're in the company of a class A fuckwit.
So what's lighting the Caterist bulb?
Yep, you've guessed it, he's clinging to the plastic bag, because what better way is there to suffocate an old person and put them out of their misery?
With less than 11 months left to persuade a sceptical British public he deserves a second term as prime minister, David Cameron has decided to charge shoppers five pence for a supermarket plastic bag.
In April the Eurocrats declared a jihad on plastic bags, a holy war they prefer to call “a Binding European Union Target”.
All member nations have been ordered to reduce their use by 80 per cent in five years.
The environmental logic of making customers pay for plastic bags is baffling enough. The political logic of caving in to the latest moral Euro-crusade, instead of simply ignoring it, is even more abstruse. If Cameron’s bacon is to be saved next May, it will not be by the grace of the hessian bag carriers of Hertfordshire, the compost makers of Kent or the cappuccino chuggers of Chatham.
It's impossible to imagine a more compact example of rhetorical fuckwittery, from the talk of a jihad to cappuccino chuggers.
Compounding the stupidity is the apparent inability of Cater to understand price signals, which surely means there's a column coming soon denouncing Tony Abbott for attempting to use a price signal to send sick people off into the world to quietly die out of sight and out of mind ...
But stay, the real point of the Caterist rant is to explain to the world how all good hearted citizens are heading off to the UKIP:
The votes Cameron needs to chase are in middle Britain, where honest, decent folk shunned the major parties and voted for UKIP in last month’s European parliamentary election.
They voted en masse for a party that wants Britain to leave the EU and its petty obsessions.
Now you might think this would alarm even a Caterist. After all, the UKIP is but a thinly disguised, crypto fascist aggregation of racists and far right ratbags, using populism to smuggle all the worst of the good old days of Oswald Mosley, black shirts and the British Union of Fascists back into modern British politics.
Mosley, it will be recalled, fancied himself as an ultra-nationalist, as he confessed in an interview with William Buckley, reproduced here:
MR. BUCKLEY: What else did ultra-nationalism mean?
SIR OSWALD: Ultra-nationalism meant concentrating on our own affairs — and here, this is a big point against me — and letting, in a way, the rest of the world go hang.
Well indeed, pity the hapless recanting Mosley, lesson learnt, tommy rot about the empire and Hitler abandoned, a shining example to the Caterists and their folly, jolly good old bean, wot wot, the gatling's jammed, the square runs red with blood, never mind the empire's gone, embrace Europe, play up and play the game, wot wot, and so on and so forth ...
Sorry, you really don't understand the Caterists do you:
Farage is patriotic, which, perversely, is an unfashionable position to take. Britain gave the world the rule of law, habeas corpus, parliamentary democracy, the industrial revolution and the Scottish enlightenment. It fought with extraordinary courage in two world wars against tyranny.
Yet to express pride in one’s country is regarded as ghastly by Britain’s hand-wringing cultural elite who turn a blind eye to the rising tide of national pride.
“It’s the little things,” says Farage, “the turnout at Remembrance Day parades. They go up every year. A younger generation, an under-45 generation, is hungry to know about their history.”
With the collapse in support for the Liberal Democrats, UKIP is effectively the official third force in British domestic politics judged by its share of the vote, if not in the number of seats it holds.
Yes, here in Australia's alleged national paper is one of its favoured sons approvingly cheering on a crypto-fascist party and its cynical use of patriotism, the first refuge of Caterists and other scoundrels.
It will be remembered that this was a favourite ploy in the rise of Hitler:
In his public portrayal, he was a man of the people, his humble origins emphasising the rejection of privilege and the sterile old order in favour of a new, vigorous, upwardly-mobile society built upon strength, merit, and achievement. He was seen as strong, uncompromising, ruthless. He embodied the triumph of true Germanic virtues – courage, manliness, integrity, loyalty, devotion to the cause – over the effete decadence, corruption, and effeminate weakness of Weimar society. Above all, he represented 'struggle' – as the title of his book Mein Kampf advertised: struggle of the 'little man' against society's 'big battalions', and mortal struggle against Germany's powerful internal and external enemies to assure the nation's future. (more here at History Today)
And the Caterists don't stop at patriotism.
Should the Cameron government introduce plain packet cigarettes, for instance, as it has been threatening to do, it will be a vote-winner for UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Farage stages press conference in the boozer, holding a pint in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He has contempt for “the cardboard cutout careerists in Westminster”, politicians “who daren’t say what they really mean”.
Farage articulates their unease about the direction modern Britain has taken and presents himself as the defender of common sense.
He shares the popular irritation at the finger-wagging nanny state and is troubled by mass immigration, graffiti, vandalism, law and order, the quality of education and the welfare state.
Uh huh, though it should be noted that Hitler favoured a cradle to the grave welfare state.
So who do we have opposing this valiant modern politician, happy to see his voters die vile deaths from tobacco poisoning and alcoholism?
Why you have the same spirits, the same wretches, the same decadents who produced the Weimar Republic:
The Guardian, that repository of British smugness, lists reasons not to vote for UKIP. First, “its stances are bonkers”. Second, “it has nasty friends in Europe”. Third, “it’s a magnet for unsavoury types”, people “who say racist, Islamophobic or plain offensive things”.
Farage refuses to kowtow to political correctness and claims that “normal, decent people have been bullied out of the debate”.
Ah yes, it's an honest politician of the people up against the professional political clique, the plastic bag haters, the cappuccino sippers ...
And so back to hailing the UKIP as stout-hearted mainstream British folk:
The rise of this politically incorrect force has reshaped the landscape of British politics. Eight years ago Cameron dismissed them as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”. It is doubtful that he would be foolish enough to do so today.
And there you have it. It would be foolish to call out fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists as fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists even if they are, and so the Caterists, in effect, have decided to plant their patriotic angry anti-Graudian, anti-cappuccino coffee flag alongside the fruitcakes, the loonies and the closet racists.
And why? Because of a fucking five pence charge on a fucking plastic bag ...
Talk about American beauty all you like, especially when you're hard up against the Australian ugliness ...
But please don't wonder why the world is fucked, and why the pond sometimes likes to spend a little down time on a different pond, with Thoreau on Walden Pond ...
And where has this flirtation with populism landed the dodos and the Caterists and the Abbotts in Australia?
As always, David Rowe nails it in one, and more Rowe here:
Posted by dorothy parker at 6/24/2014 08:31:00 AM