Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Must-Read

Well, Bush, I know there's an awful lot of important things to be talking about this morning--things like Iraq, Iran, the nerve of those Russians and Chinese to oppose your plan for sanctions at the UN, the letter from Ahmendinejad (did I spell him right?) the moves toward peace in Dafur, etcetera, etcetera. Some good, some... well, not so good. But I confess my head's just not into them. Instead...

I've been reading that old rogue Kurt Vonnegut's new book, Bush. It's very short. An easy read. Funny. Acerbic. Full of unpalatable truths, from the pen of an eighty-two year-old who has seen a lot--including, he reminds us, the fire-bombing and total destruction of the city of Dresden during World War II. Here's what he says about your team (your former team, I should say, before your Powell's defection): "The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon." I thought that was good for a laugh.

More seriously, though, he goes on: "Our government's got a war on drugs [...] But get this: the two most widely abused and addictive and destructive of all substances are both perfectly legal. One, of course, is ethyl alcohol..." He rants on a bit here, Bush, about your own younger days, and his, before getting to "the most abused, addictive, and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels. When you [his audience] got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won't be any left. Cold turkey."

"Can I tell you the truth?" he adds. "I mean, this isn't the TV news, is it? Here's what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we're hooked on."

Ouch, Bush. You want more? Okay. Here he goes: "Fossil fuels, so easily set alight! Yes, we are presently touching off nearly the very last whiffs and drops and chunks of them. All lights are about to go out. No more electricity. All forms of transportation are about to stop, and the planet Earth will soon have a crust of skulls and bones and dead machinery. And nobody can do a thing about it. It's too late in the game. Don't spoil the party, but here's the truth: We have squandered our planet's resources, including air and water, as though there were no tomorrow, so now there isn't going to be one."

And they called him a "science fiction" writer!

Okay, Bush, so Vonnegut is a bit of a poet and a bit of a cynic and his imaginative powers are as strong as any I know. In a word, he might be exaggerating just a bit for the sake of his argument. But not too much. What he has to say about ourselves and our world, seen in the light of the centuries, has a dreadful core of truth.

I realize that today's entry is more Vonnegut's than mine. Apologies. But what you should really do is go out and lay your hands on a copy of this marvelous book. It's called "A Man Without a Country" and you don't even have to go out: you can get it easily online. It will take you no more than an hour or so to read, and it's a whole lot more scary that "The Little Goat."


David said...

It will take you no more than an hour or so to read...

That's incredibly generous of you, Peter. I think you overestimate his reading level.

dennis said...

brushing my teeth last night, late, I came across a film on global warming, experts talking, and expose' of the entire problem. Surprising facts. Like how truckers are loving ethanol. And how a team of interesteds, got 118 miles per gallon with a current hubrid car. And about the wind power business in Texas! While the news is not good, it's still not reversable just yet.

'Yankee ingenuity' was mentioned. Much of the show dwelt on the fact that all the technologies exist to beat this rap. And, it's advantageous monewise, to boot. They say if business can learn of the money to be made saving the environment, we will do it.

I say it's the only way which can lead the US out of the mind of the world as a rogue nation.

ps. sorry I don't have the name of the film. later.

dennis said...

sorry for the typos, it's late.

anonymous said...

A report on writer James Howard Kunstler, who says that the biggest obstacle to getting our petro-dependent society to change its wasteful ways is a collective insanity, found in the "worship of unearned riches, which is based on a very stark idea, the idea that you can get something for nothing."

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, anon. I hope you'll join me again... Cheers, PaL

PK said...

Just a comment to all who come here and post comments, and those who just like to read Peter's writings. If you have a thought at all about going overseas to visit any country, best you get on it:). Also, if you have a new car, keep it. I'm not saying all is going to hell in a hand basket tomorrow, but it's getting damnably close! China is moving in on the good territory, the US will figure some way to try to stop them. Not that it will do much good. South America is getting tired of the exploitation, and so things aren't looking too good there either. Bush's big mouth isn't helping maters any. Over in our Arab friends countries things are starting to dry up, a couple of wells already have. We are trying to dig our heels deeper into Iraq, where there is oil, also hatred for the so called 'liberators' now. Within the next couple of years we may be on our own if Bush doesn't shut up. Or should I say Rummy and the Rottweiler.