Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo

On July 23, 2016, we discontinued our forums. We ask our members to please join us in our new community site, The Hartmann Report. Please note that you will have to register a new account on The Hartmann Report.

26 posts / 0 new

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Klein’s much-anticipated new book, is both surprisingly hopeful and deeply personal as she deftly weaves in her story of struggling to conceive her first child while researching the potential collapse of the natural world.

The fact that global warming is man-made and poses a grave threat to our future is widely accepted by progressives. Yet, the most commonly proposed solutions emphasize either personal responsibility for a global emergency (buy energy-efficient light bulbs, purchase a Prius), or rely on market-based schemes like cap-and-trade. These responses are not only inadequate, says best-selling author Naomi Klein, but represent a lost opportunity to confront climate change’s root cause: capitalism.

to read the interview with Naomi Klein published on September 12, 2014, click on

http://portside.org/print/2014-09-15/naomi-klein-breaks-taboo

more at http://www.climateandcapitalism.com, http://www.citizen.org, www.freembtranslations.net and http://www.alternativetrademandate.org

demandside's picture
demandside
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Comments

A fine thinker and humanist, Naomi Klein. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get her latest offering.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 8:14 am

/all-in/watch/naomi-klein-talks-new-book-

managed degrowth needs a little semantic first aid, Demergers we know, divesting we know, degrowth ought to be lateral growth, or sustainable growth, or intelligent growth, progressive growth, intensive care growth, curative growth, arrested cancerous growth, reverse metasticized growth, benign growth, true measured growth, true valued growth-(parks and mass transit, vs disaster capitalism growth).

Chris and Naomi are both strong eco-warriors and understand the challenge.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

douglass, I know you meant it as a compliment, but I winced at "eco-warrior" for these apostles of peace. I don't think it worked out all that well for St. Paul to get us armored up for Jesus either, although "ambassadors of grace" could have been cool.

Allow me to put the light on the grace they both shed as they expose the lies we live by and liberate our humanity from these burdens. They both make the Good News be that things are Far Worse Than We Think!

PIketty's critique of Capitalism is almost entirely socio-economic with only some mention of ecological issues. Klein deftly turns the tables on the Right is Right to see "climate change" as a total game changer and not something that Capitalism can deal with and survive. The "bottom line" changing revizes a lot of other calculations and presumptions.

Hedges makes it personal as well as our national and global tragedy, and it can only be tragic is there is something worthwhile in life. Gaia thinking begins with the idea that human beings are part of the web of life and have a place here in connection. Both of these voices restore hope even if expectations are grim. Both shift our attention from the sideshow to the main stage.

Corporate Globalism is obviously not doing the world much good. It is making some very rich and powerful, but at the expense of many others and of our home on earth. What are wars being fought over? No, religion is the narrative frame for revenge or for the recovery of dignity and status illegitimately denied. What is ruining things is that old illusion/delusion of Mammon and Money.

If our petroempire did not require global reach, the 1% and their staff would not "need" to have "global peace through war." Is Oil the sacrament this time, or the True God? The High Priests of Capitalism have reason to fear that the jig is up.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Everyone I'm familiar with on this site who attempts to detail the ecological destruction taking place on this planet is equally aware of the causes. Welcome to our side, Naomi. Oh, by the way, we've been breaking those same taboos for some time now.

Putting a name on a problem does not necessarily describe the depths or nature of the problem, and without that depth of understanding, there is no path to a solution, just more surface touch strokes. In the same vein, "Global Capitalism" can be a heuristic device, and it will help an author already popular with progressives to sell another round of books, but will it make the evening news?

Climate change is only one aspect of the total biospheric destruction taking place on this planet as a result of the technological advances as well as the total social deployment of technologies in what has become one integrated global civilization.

The institutional managers whose role is to keep the system well oiled and functioning are well equipped to defeat any attempt to build a mass movement designed to understand modern civilization's suicidal bent based on simply the concept of anthropogenic climate change. I fear that Naomi does no service to that movement with yet another round of Marxist-associated clichés.

Mass understanding -- if that's not inherently an oxymoron -- needs to transcend that binary opposition to capitalism in order to deal with these modern ruling institutions. Their make up is of neither of any two simplistic binary oppositions -- such as Capitalism vs Marxism.

The make-up of modern institutions is systemic, just as it would appear, from the best of our scientific investigations, the natural planet is made up of complex organisms in ongoing systemic feedback processes with one another.

But one (civilization as a whole) is the result of human invented rules and laws for human behavior, along with the behavior that goes on within these system, the other is of something we only attempt to understand and give temporary, hypothetical names to, like 'nature'.

We can think logically about parts of one, and can think we are solving problems in doing so. But to do so also tends to abstract us from the real living processes taking place. We trick ourselves with our ability to think into believing that we can remove ourselves from real time. And then we humans think we are above all this and not connected as well, all we have to do is solve this or that "problem" -- of capitalism and climate crisis, of institutionally managing care giving instead of managing problem causing technologies, as if those aren't related.

Meanwhile whatever else is going on with the living systems of the planet as a result of our combined human actions on this planet defies that sort of attempt at understanding and problem solving.

From Naomi Klien Breaks a Taboo

John Tarleton: Why has that taboo of talking about capitalism and climate change in the same breath become so entrenched here in the United States?

Naomi Klein: I think it’s primarily because capitalism is a religion in the United States. But also because the Left in the United States is extremely Keynesian, though Keynes himself questioned economic growth. But the translation of Keynesian thought we are seeing in this historical moment is a debate about the distribution of the spoils of economic growth. It’s not about some of the core facts about blanket economic growth.

In the book I talk about selective de-growth. There are schools of thought on the Left that dismiss all forms of growth. What I’m talking about is managing the economy. There are parts of our economy that we want to expand that have a minimal environmental impact, such as the care-giving professions, education, the arts. Expanding those sectors creates jobs, well-being and more equal societies. At the same time we have to shrink the growth-for-growth’s-sake parts of our economy, including the financial sector, which plays a large role in feeding consumption

She hasn't broken taboos, not really. Derrick Jensen does (Endgame Volume I & Volume II, etc., etc.)

First, she's not in the main stream corporate media. That's where taboos are in effect.

And we see that Naomi still reasons the system can be tweaked and managed if only we can de-religiofy it. I suppose having a brand new baby with its potential for a future might have an effect on her thinking.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote .ren:

Climate change is only one aspect of the total biospheric destruction taking place on this planet as a result of the technological advances as well as the total social deployment of technologies in what has become one integrated global civilization.

*****

And we see that Naomi still reasons the system can be tweaked and managed if only we can de-religiofy it. I suppose having a brand new baby with its potential for a future might have an effect on her thinking.

Thoughtful post, .ren. I noted this sage comment from a review of Jensen's Vol. 1:

"civilization is F-U-B-A-R and doomed to collapse in the near but not too distant future"

I subscribe to this belief and I have often suggested that VHEMT might be taken seriously by serious, caring people. I don't think that Naomi's new baby - or any new baby - can look forward to a particularly rosy future. Why condemn people, sons and daughters, to the looming horrors - horrors that Cormac McCarthy has suggested as our fate?

Maybe what we need right now is a new cook book: “One hundred ways to roast your - or your neighbor’s - baby.”

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 8:14 am
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

Thoughtful post, .ren. I noted this sage comment from a review of Jensen's Vol. 1:

"civilization is F-U-B-A-R and doomed to collapse in the near but not too distant future"

I subscribe to this belief and I have often suggested that VHEMT might be taken seriously by serious, caring people. I don't think that Naomi's new baby - or any new baby - can look forward to a particularly rosy future. Why condemn people, sons and daughters, to the looming horrors - horrors that Cormac McCarthy has suggested as our fate?

Maybe what we need right now is a new cook book: “One hundred ways to roast your - or your neighbor’s - baby.”

Derrick raises the level of discussion from competing political/economic dichotomies to civilization as a whole phenomenon, which itself is a late-in-our-species development in social organization that went from nomadic hunter/gathering adaption to sedentary cities (the heart of the word civilization) sometime in the last ten thousand years, of which agriculture is but one systemic, technological aspect, not the driving force as many are often inclined to believe.

I keep adding Joseph Tainter's archaeologically-based survey that notices civilizations grow complex -- you might paraphrase his argument as it's the nature of institutions to become complex as they solve various forms and degrees of survival/adaption problems -- and eventually they arrive at a level of complexity with self-generated problems that they can't solve for a variety of reasons, but mostly tracing back to resources and energy.

Cormac's The Road is a good example of a budding art form some people are dubbing "d-fi" -- a sci-fi spin-off that defies (hence d-fi) expections, settled convictions and just about everything within the systems we call civilization.

I don't recommend anyone watch this (22 After), but if inclined, be forewarned it's not for the faint of heart. It's an artistic conception envisioning a documentarian interviewing some remaining humans after a collapse and die-off of the present global civilization.

Here's one comment that speaks to the issue of this thread:

Quote Tarver:

The best line (paraphrased): "We believed in the science that gave us flat screen TV's, but not in the science that said we were running out of oil and water", climate change, etc.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

If the question is why we do not hire our best and most scrupulous scientists to pay the closest attention to any threat to human life on earth and take their warnings with the same urgency we show the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces or the Chair of the Fed when they make dire predictions to scare us into being stupid?, well, fear works.

At least for some time, fear will reject any threat one is not already prepared to face. Having to pull the rug out from under the world as one knows it is not the trick one turns to unless there is a magic wand of ideology to bend reality to its purpose. Denial is popular because it is the low anxiety road to the apocalypse.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote drc2:

If the question is why we do not hire our best and most scrupulous scientists to pay the closest attention to any threat to human life on earth and take their warnings with the same urgency we show the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces or the Chair of the Fed when they make dire predictions to scare us into being stupid?, well, fear works.

At least for some time, fear will reject any threat one is not already prepared to face. Having to pull the rug out from under the world as one knows it is not the trick one turns to unless there is a magic wand of ideology to bend reality to its purpose. Denial is popular because it is the low anxiety road to the apocalypse.

I don't think that's the question, drc. Whether we hire them to tell us or not, the best and the brightest scientists are telling us about the threats we are creating for ourselves. And on a national level, even at the level of the Presidency, we know:

Quote President Obama:

The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more expensive to extract from the ground.

We can’t afford it when the costs to our economy, our country, and our planet are so high.

The only way for America’s energy supply to be truly secure is by permanently reducing our dependence on oil

(Remarks by the President on America's Energy Security -- March 30, 2011)

Meanwhile the entire nation is going crazy over an oil boom that is seemingly reducing the cost of the gasoline for their SUVs, while at the same time causing an increased pressure on environmental destruction causes, including the ever more precious and dwindling water resources necessary for each and every aspect of life support (America is a Gas Hog and we're not going on a Diet even if Global Warming Kills Us by Michael T. Klare)

Here's how Michael Klare sums up the results of the behavior you describe in your second paragraph:

Quote Michael Klare:

At a national level, such a situation — knowing one thing and doing something else — can only be described as some form of mass delusion or a collective version of schizophrenia. In one part of our collective brain, we are aware that petroleum use must decline sharply to prevent the sorts of global catastrophes that we are only used to seeing in science fiction movies; in another, we retain our affection for driving and gasoline use without giving much thought to the consequences. We have a global warming president presiding over a massive expansion of fossil fuel production. Think of this as a form of collective mental compartmentalization that should frighten us all — and yet from the president on down, it’s remarkable how few seem disturbed by it.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I am not disagreeing about what is "known" including what fear rejects as unacceptable in the unconscious. I am not even arguing about what ought to be obvious but seems not to be registering with people who should know better. The last thing I would question is how well what our "leaders" say today compares to what they have said in the past in different roles or situations.

I would also be the last person to say that DC was sane or that those sucked into its culture were likely to avoid playing the game with other masters of the universe. Even the inside critics and whistleblowers are compromised by the system, as are we who are spectators or flotsam in its drains.

What it takes to separate oneself to the extent possible does not necessarily link well with others or have much sense of connection.

How upset are we about this? Some think that everyone must share our rage and others wonder why they obviously do not. I think the truth is not exactly in between these polar opposites, but that disconnection leaves us alone in our discontent and disempowered rather than connected to possibilities and engagement.

Naomi has, in the past, given public frame to ideas that had preceded her writing about it. "Shock and Awe" and "Disaster Capitalism" made a lot clear that had been more academically or prophetic/wonk clear to those paying special attention. I think that is what she is doing in this Capitalism meets Nature story.

"Gods" die hard because they have deep charismatic holds on people's "reality constructs." "Capitalism" has been the God behind Economic Man and conflated with Jesus v. the empty materialists of Communism. As we know, "facts" and "issues" take on meaning in the context of the narrative or reality construct, and to change these minds or have a Great Awakening, the old story has to have hit the end of the road.

Lemmings, I have heard, don't really rush over cliffs. But human societies and empires seem to. Brilliant minds are required to be this stupid and obstinate.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote drc2:

Lemmings, I have heard, don't really rush over cliffs. But human societies and empires seem to. Brilliant minds are required to be this stupid and obstinate.

The cliff is metaphorical for humans. Humans living within and adapting to institutions live in a metaphorically constructed idea of the world. Describing that metaphor as viral, or driving over a cliff is not the same as what lemmings actually do.

Lemmings are actually just going away from the absence of food (because their population has exceeded the carrying capacity of their local tundra environment) in hopes of finding some elsewhere, across a river or whatever. Not knowing what was taking place in a snapshot of time, those first observing these behaviors saw it as a form of mass, suicidal insanity on the part of the lemmings.

Yes, Naomi Klein frames things for the group she writes and speaks to. That's what human communication generally entails, a kind of metaphorical narrative framing. She constructs a narrative based on a certain group's perspective on ideas like capitalism, economic man and so forth. She does not necessarily construct a meaningful narrative for large group of people who have learned to listen to the narrative of the main stream corporate media.

The idea that Naomi breaks taboos probably appeals to the deep anger in the group to whom she's so eloquently framing her narrative. It makes an attention-grabbing headline in case the writer of an article needs some. And most journalists not in the mainstream do.

If some of those in her target audience actually believe no one should talk about the devastating environmental effects of their actual everyday work and life activities, like driving to work, going on vacation from work, driving to the supermarket, all within the neoliberal "capitalist" institutional system, then I suppose it could be said she's breaking some sort of taboo. Perhaps the taboo is that of telling a self-defined progressive that she or he is also a de facto capitalist. A kind of double bind -- you're damned if you say you are and damned if you say you aren't. But it seems to me she's not drawing that association to the people she's talking to themselves.

I'm not really sure there is any such "the truth" other than the kind of truth the lemmings are responding to, hunger, imminent death from starvation. If you are looking for some in a human constructed metaphorical systems of any kind, I wish you the best of luck. I'm pretty sure now that making politics out of what's taking place in our home, the earth's environment, is not about making truth.

I don't know what exactly you are trying to say, but I merely try to present what I hear you saying from a more descriptive point of view, having had to deal with incoherent and maladaptive behaviors in my own background, also called schizophrenia. I don't try to talk meaning to a schizophrenic.

Quote Michael T. Klare:

Collective Schizophrenia

As polls show, most Americans acknowledge the reality of climate change and support efforts to reduce carbon emissions in order avert future climate-induced disasters. California and other states have even taken significant steps to reduce energy-related emissions and the Obama administration has, among other things, announced plans to improve the fuel efficiency of American cars and trucks.

In addition, the president and many in his administration clearly grasp the dangers of climate change — the increasing heat, drought, fiercer storms, rising sea levels, and other perils that, without serious curbs on the combustion of fossil fuels, will make the present look like a utopian moment in human history. Nevertheless, the numbers — from production to consumption — are anything but promising. According to the latest EIA projections, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from petroleum use will increase by eight million metric tons between 2013 and 2015; such emissions are then expected to level off, at about 2.2 billion tons per year, despite substantial increases in average vehicle fuel efficiency.

Meanwhile, gas prices at the pump have gone down recently, and people are buying more of it, and driving more than ever.

Quote Michael Klare:

Despite what you may think, Americans, on average, are driving more miles every day, not fewer, filling ever more fuel tanks with ever more gasoline, and evidently feeling ever less bad about it. The stigma of buying new gas-guzzling SUVs, for instance, seems to have vanished; according to CNN Money, nearly one out of three vehicles sold today is an SUV. As a result of all this, America’s demand for oil grew more than China’s in 2013, the first time that’s happened since 1999.

This is happening even though that lowering of price at the gas pump is a kind of lie, because no one -- not the billionaires still making even more billions with lower priced gas (because the true costs are accumulating in the environment), nor the public who are collectively contributing to the environmental biospheric decline that's still taking place, even accelerating -- is paying the costs that are being borne by the environment. These costs are actually increasing with this new oil boom, from the new processes that are making the U.S. Empire giddy with its new energy independence, thus much more geostrategically powerful in the world when it comes to negotiating with other governments for vanishing resources, and that is not just about capitalism, it's about a whole way of life, sometimes called civilization, and people's willingness to use a process to adapt to the environment.

Paradox, double binds and schizophrenia have a kind of infernal relationship in this human-generated systemic process.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I have an idea that I'm working on that just might work. We humans are curious creatures often unable to register the obvious. Now, the U.S. is supporting a group, the Syrian rebels, who have "got it." They've shown us how they eat human bits from those they have killed - liver, heart and so on. Just imagine: if the Israelis ate their human kill their energy savings - diminished pollution - in fertilizer, irrigation, tractor petrol, etc. would be enormous. Why just 400 or so children they wasted this last go round might have supplied them with food for months. Why waste good, plentiful sources of protein? You run short, start another food gathering expedition (or defensive war as it's now called). You run an excess? Then rev up a booming export business - fresh, frozen, canned or pre-cooked and seasoned human meat.

"What's for dinner, dear?"

"Oh, my. I've baked baby with beans, some delicate fried women's fingers and - your favorite - mashed adolescent brain to top it all off. Eat up, there's lots more."

I've a series of recipe books in mind, the first might be titled "Kosher Kooking with Kids".

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 8:14 am

Anyone interested in a pre-publication copy of my KKK recipe book? Lavishly illustrated using graphic photos generously and laughingly provided by the Zionist entity. Won't cost you an arm and a leg (in deference to those Palestinians who may no longer have them).

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 8:14 am

You're missing your calling Al2. Get a marketing plan put together for KFC, McDonalds, Burger King or Wendy's. I'm sure one of them would buy it. After all no one can tell wtf those guys are selling anyways.

Do you have hot mustard to go with that? No? I'll have some honey bbq sauce then.

Don't worry if those guys aren't interested there's always Taco Bell. They'll buy anything.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

I have similar reactions to popular work in areas where I have read scholarly work that makes the "shock" more about what is popularly believed than what has been known by those who have looked closely. A lot of people still believe in Capitalism even if we have pulled this construct apart, shown the twists in the meaning of the term and know that Global Corporatism does not bring what it promises while it does obvious damage.

My son suffers from schizophrenia, so it is not a distant metaphor to me and is quite apt to the fact that intelligence can be more twisted than its lack can achieve. The brilliance of his creative alternatives and evasions of his own real world of consequences are beyond my understanding. Nothing I have been able to say or do has reached him even though love manages to be known.

As a metaphor for this "human-generated systemic process," schizophrenia 'works' for me because I don't understand what is going on even if I try to describe it anyway. I do know that people "on the other side" think we fail to believe things that they see as patently obvious. Making "personally responsible" decisions is what we both decry as we see the other not doing it. "We can't handle the truth!" Is that news?

The overly dramatic "breaking a taboo" description of Naomi's "The Right is Right" "shocker" essay rhetoric is funny to those who have already thought these thoughts with less headline language. The "gambling at Rick's" line has gotten tired as I watch new revelations get the spotlight, and one wonders why it took so long for what has been obvious to become accepted as operational truth.

At the same time, shifts in popular understanding and belief matter. If it is still, "the economy, stupid," I suspect there are a lot of cracks in the dogma that were not there when Dollar Bill made that line popular. I may ask, "why is there any dogma left at all by this time?" You got me on that one.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote drc:

My son suffers from schizophrenia, so it is not a distant metaphor to me and is quite apt to the fact that intelligence can be more twisted than its lack can achieve. The brilliance of his creative alternatives and evasions of his own real world of consequences are beyond my understanding. Nothing I have been able to say or do has reached him even though love manages to be known.

I suppose you may remember, though I haven't mentioned it often, I have a similar intimate experience with schizophrenia. My mother -- who graduated at the top of her high school class during WWII, got married soon after, college was not an option in her first generation Croatian family -- had her schizophrenic "break," as they like to call it, when I was five. Really gifted people (and my mother was very gifted with a poetic ability to use language), reality, and schizophrenia are not factors that go together in any sensible way for me. Didn't stop me from trying to make sense of it. But I have eventually learned to live with my lack of capacity to do so to any satisfying degree.

And I agree, it's not an easy behavior to comprehend, and it displays itself in similarly incomprehensible fashion, as you've so eloquently put it, in our society.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I find that both the terms of schizophrenic behavor and the Lemmings cycle of feast and famine are good useful metaphors for what the human is doing for it's self at the this point in time no matter the absolute clinical definition of either one.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Alberto, surely you're familiar with Soylent Green, and the intrepid ultra right wing conservative actor, Charlton Heston, who ironically played the lead? I mean, a science fiction movie produced in 1973 projecting a slightly ahead of schedule world in 1999, with a 2015 to 2019 in a Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report, from which Charlton Heston, a police investigator, finds out there is no plankton left to produce the Soylent Green everyone eats, and then discovers the stuff everyone is eating is actually made up of euthanized human beings in an over-crowed, resource-depleted world. Some science fiction may be the lie that tells the truth.

The book they made the movie from included "soylent" steaks, but never mentioned Soylent Green, so there's plenty of room for your creativity in designing a menu.

The movie was one of the last appearances of Edward G. Robinson on the big screen:

...the film "will be most remembered for the last appearance of Edward G. Robinson.... In a rueful irony, his death scene, in which he is hygienically dispatched with the help of piped-in light classical music and movies of rich fields flashed before him on a towering screen, is the best in the film."[7] New York Times critic A.H. Weiler wrote "Soylent Green projects essentially simple, muscular melodrama a good deal more effectively than it does the potential of man's seemingly witless destruction of the Earth's resources"; Weiler concludes "Richard Fleischer's direction stresses action, not nuances of meaning or characterization. Mr. Robinson is pitiably natural as the realistic, sensitive oldster facing the futility of living in dying surroundings. But Mr. Heston is simply a rough cop chasing standard bad guys. Their 21st-century New York occasionally is frightening but it is rarely convincingly real."[6]

The Horror, The Horror.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote .ren:

Alberto, surely you're familiar with Soylent Green,

*****

The Horror, The Horror.

No, .ren, thanks for bringing it to my attention. I was in and out - mostly out - of the country during the 70's and missed just about everything going on in the U.S. during that time. I read the links you gave - and, yes, The Horror, The Horror. I just cannot understand siring children whose future looks grim indeed.

Conrad has always topped my "best" authors list. There's no equal to the short novel "Heart of Darkness" - perhaps his finest work.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 8:14 am

"Heart of Darkness" is the story behind Apocalypse Now, so the beat goes on.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

The bookends for Conrad are coincidental [I did delete Crane's Red Badge of Courage but his works were between the other two as shown]

  • http://www.openculture.com/free_ebooks
  • another coincidence :SabotageFree – Alfred Hitchcock directs this British thriller based on Joseph Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent. Also released as The Woman Alone. (1936) from the same culture link click on free to see.
  • douglaslee's picture
    douglaslee
    Joined:
    Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

    And "Youth," douglaslee, maybe the best introduction to Conrad for those who haven't yet had the great pleasure. No one can match his splendid, evocative prose. I have a particular fondness for the story as it stirs my memories of vanished youth, of both great oceans (and some lesser ones) passing spitting distance beneath my feet, memories of my introduction to strange lands. I, too, knew Bangkok, Sydney, Melbourne and more. Click on the link if you want to read all of it. I'll paste a few out-of-order paragraphs as a teaser:

    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/conrad/joseph/c75y/

    “Yes, I have seen a little of the Eastern seas; but what I remember best is my first voyage there. You fellows know there are those voyages that seem ordered for the illustration of life, that might stand for a symbol of existence. You fight, work, sweat, nearly kill yourself, sometimes do kill yourself, trying to accomplish something — and you can’t. Not from any fault of yours. You simply can do nothing, neither great nor little — not a thing in the world — not even marry an old maid, or get a wretched 600-ton cargo of coal to its port of destination.

    “We left London in ballast — sand ballast — to load a cargo of coal in a northern port for Bankok. Bankok! I thrilled. I had been six years at sea, but had only seen Melbourne and Sydney, very good places, charming places in their way — but Bankok!

    ‘Sartor Resartus’ and Burnaby’s ‘Ride to Khiva.’ I didn’t understand much of the first then; but I remember I preferred the soldier to the philosopher at the time; a preference which life has only confirmed. One was a man, and the other was either more — or less. However, they are both dead, and Mrs. Beard is dead, and youth, strength, genius, thoughts, achievements, simple hearts — all die. . . . No matter.

    ‘Judea, London. Do or Die.’

    “O youth! The strength of it, the faith of it, the imagination of it! To me she was not an old rattle-trap carting about the world a lot of coal for a freight — to me she was the endeavor, the test, the trial of life. I think of her with pleasure, with affection, with regret — as you would think of someone dead you have loved. I shall never forget her . . . . Pass the bottle.

    I did not know how good a man I was till then. I remember the drawn faces, the dejected figures of my two men, and I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more — the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort — to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires — and expires, too soon — before life itself.

    “I have known its fascinations since: I have seen the mysterious shores, the still water, the lands of brown nations, where a stealthy Nemesis lies in wait, pursues, overtakes so many of the conquering race, who are proud of their wisdom, of their knowledge, of their strength. But for me all the East is contained in that vision of my youth. It is all in that moment when I opened my young eyes on it. I came upon it from a tussle with the sea — and I was young — and I saw it looking at me. And this is all that is left of it! Only a moment; a moment of strength, of romance, of glamour — of youth! . . . A flick of sunshine upon a strange shore, the time to remember, the time for a sigh, and — good-by! — Night — Good-by. . .!”

    He drank.

    “Ah! The good old time — the good old time. Youth and the sea. Glamour and the sea! The good, strong sea, the salt, bitter sea, that could whisper to you and roar at you and knock your breath out of you.”

    He drank again.

    “By all that’s wonderful, it is the sea, I believe, the sea itself — or is it youth alone? Who can tell? But you here — you all had something out of life: money, love — whatever one gets on shore — and, tell me, wasn’t that the best time, that time when we were young at sea; young and had nothing, on the sea that gives nothing, except hard knocks — and sometimes a chance to feel your strength — that only — what you all regret?”

    And we all nodded at him: the man of finance, the man of accounts, the man of law, we all nodded at him over the polished table that like a still sheet of brown water reflected our faces, lined, wrinkled; our faces marked by toil, by deceptions, by success, by love; our weary eyes looking still, looking always, looking anxiously for something out of life, that while it is expected is already gone — has passed unseen, in a sigh, in a flash — together with the youth, with the strength, with the romance of illusions.

    Alberto Ceras 2's picture
    Alberto Ceras 2
    Joined:
    Dec. 9, 2012 8:14 am

    Truthdig.com has awarded Naomi Kline its "Truthdigger of the Week" recognition. This is a kind of moment in time recognition, not a life time achievement award.

    I consider it a fair and balanced write up of what she is trying to do with her new book. She is not trying to break taboos, according to Alexander Kelly, who does the write up, she is reaching out across the world to those who are not already aware of these issues in these terms:

    Quote Alexander Kelley:

    Contrary to the radically countercultural trappings of Klein’s cultivated milieu, her aim with her new book seems to be to bring a coherent vision of the climate crisis to the average voting American. As Guardian contributor Jenny Turner put it in her review of “This Changes Everything,” Klein’s “task is to take a potential catastrophe of unimaginable reach and to be calm and welcoming, drawing new people in. She does vast amounts of travel and research and thinking, then crafts all of it to the scale of her own voice: the voice of a pleasant, funny, unthreatening-looking woman with layerings and lowlights, a husband and a baby, living in Toronto.” And through it all—wading through the toxic effluent of BP’s oil disasters included—she endured two miscarriages. The experience enabled her to use the sudden arrest of life within her as a metaphor for the planetary scale arrest of life without. It’s a message that should resonate in particular with mothers who were not seduced into a personal engagement with the ecological problem by the sloganeering and other tactics of the environmental movement.

    .ren's picture
    .ren
    Joined:
    Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

    Attempting to sound an alarm without sounding like the boy that cried wolf is a challenge. A cold call salesman at the door needs to get his foot in, no obligation to buy, but still stirring an interest strong enough to question. Some still know that they don't know everything, and dusting the cobwebs from the drawers of curiosity in their minds might be challenging, but fulfilling if followed through. It's best to never let cobwebs form, but that's just my own opinion.

    The turnouts for the eco-marches were above all expectations and encouraging.

    douglaslee's picture
    douglaslee
    Joined:
    Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
    Quote douglaslee:

    Attempting to sound an alarm without sounding like the boy that cried wolf is a challenge. A cold call salesman at the door needs to get his foot in, no obligation to buy, but still stirring an interest strong enough to question. Some still know that they don't know everything, and dusting the cobwebs from the drawers of curiosity in their minds might be challenging, but fulfilling if followed through. It's best to never let cobwebs form, but that's just my own opinion.

    The turnouts for the eco-marches were above all expectations and encouraging.

    That may be more true now than it was in the early years of the environmental movement, though even then it wasn't easy to get the message out about the wolves. Today, the wolves come cleverly disguised as sheppards, merchandising doubt to the sheeple.

    From the final chapter of Merchants of Doubt, (7) Denial Rides Again: The Revisionist Attack on Rachael Carson:

    Rachel Carson is an American hero—the courageous woman who in the early 1960s called our attention to the harms of indiscriminate pesticide use. In Silent Spring, a beautiful book about a dreadful topic, Carson explained how pesticides were accumulating in the food chain, damaging the natural environment, and threatening even the symbol of American freedom: the bald eagle. Although the pesticide industry tried to paint her as a hysterical female, her work was affirmed by the President’s Science Advisory Committee, and in 1972, the EPA concluded that the scientific evidence was sufficient to warrant the banning of the pesticide DDT in America.

    Most historians, we included, consider this a success story. A serious problem was brought to public attention by an articulate spokesperson, and, acting on the advice of acknowledged experts, our government took appropriate action. Moreover, the banning of DDT, which took place under a Republican administration, had widespread public and bipartisan political support. 1 The policy allowed for exceptions, including the sale of DDT to the World Health Organization for use in countries with endemic malaria, and for public health emergencies here at home. It was sensible policy, based on solid science.

    Fast-forward to 2007. The Internet is flooded with the assertion that Carson was a mass murderer, worse than Hitler. Carson killed more people than the Nazis. She had blood on her hands, posthumously. Why? Because Silent Spring led to the banning of DDT, without which millions of Africans died of malaria. The Competitive Enterprise Institute— whom we encountered in previous chapters defending tobacco and doubting the reality of global warming— now tells us that “Rachel was wrong.” “Millions of people around the world suffer the painful and often deadly effects of malaria because one person sounded a false alarm,” their site asserts. “That person is Rachel Carson.” 2

    Other conservative and Libertarian think tanks sound a similar cry. The American Enterprise Institute argues that DDT was “probably the single most valuable chemical ever synthesized to prevent disease,” but was unnecessarily banned because of hysteria generated by Carson’s influence. 3 The Cato Institute tells us that DDT is making a comeback. 4 And the Heartland Institute posts an article defending DDT by Bonner Cohen, the man who created EPA Watch for Philip Morris back in the mid-1990s. 5 (Heartland also has extensive, continuing programs to challenge climate science.) 6

    The stories we’ve told so far in this book involve the creation of doubt and the spread of disinformation by individuals and groups attempting to prevent regulation of tobacco, CFCs, pollution from coal-fired power plants, and greenhouse gases. They involve fighting facts that demonstrate the harms that these products and pollutants induce in order to stave off regulation. At first, the Carson case seems slightly different from these earlier ones, because by 2007 DDT had been banned in the United States for more than thirty years. This horse was long out of the barn, so why try to reopen a thirty-year-old debate?

    Sometimes reopening an old debate can serve present purposes. In the 1950s, the tobacco industry realized that they could protect their product by casting doubt on the science and insisting the dangers of smoking were unproven. In the 1990s, they realized that if you could convince people that science in general was unreliable, then you didn’t have to argue the merits of any particular case, particularly one— like the defense of secondhand smoke— that had no scientific merit. In the demonizing of Rachel Carson, free marketeers realized that if you could convince people that an example of successful government regulation wasn’t, in fact, successful— that it was actually a mistake— you could strengthen the argument against regulation in general.

    Oreskes, Naomi; Conway, Erik M. (2010-06-03). Merchants of Doubt (pp. 216-217). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

    Yes, the march numbers are encouraging. Perhaps more sheeple will begin to sharpen their olfactory senses so they can smell those wolves disguising themselves as benevolent sheppards.

    .ren's picture
    .ren
    Joined:
    Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

    Mother Earth, Mother, mother may I................. thrive? Survive? breathe clean air? drink clean water? have access to water at all? Mother may I hear crickets chirp, hear bees buzz, witness Spring, Summer, Autmn,Winter? Mother may I inherit the Earth you knew? Mother will I die? Mother may I call a mulligan, or is it too late? Mother may I, might I, die?

    michellekovalik's picture
    michellekovalik
    Joined:
    Oct. 15, 2013 1:25 pm

    Impeachment: The Difference Between Nixon & Trump

    Thom plus logo There is a very simple reason why some Republicans participated in the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, but none have so far broken ranks against Trump. That reason is the US Supreme Court.
    Powered by Pressflow, an open source content management system