Monday, July 08, 2013


Over the past couple of decades one of my favorite authors was Charles Bukowski. It wasn't just his ability to articulate his life as an overtly worthless bum in his brilliant prose and poetry. I also had a grudging admiration for his ability to not give a damn about humanity. It's refreshing to encounter a person who, on the one hand, has no faith in humanity, but on the other hand does not give in to praise of the status quo. That was, I think, what I liked most about his collective work.

There is much to be said in favor of that ideal. That being of not giving, as my father would have said, a good goddamn about human society.

Giving a damn is pointless. Nothing good is going to come of the industry of people.

I almost don't even want to bother talking about us anymore. The people who do are regarded as strange and just shoved aside. Alarmists, they call us. I think of Rachel Carson. Or (so that none of you think that I'm comparing myself to Rachel Carson), any of the thousands of people who worry about the world becoming a slag heap.

There are people out there who actually get their hands dirty trying to keep this from happening. They toil endlessly trying to stop corporations from turning forests into bare hillsides, from tearing down mountains and making them into open pits, from transforming clear watersheds into foul sumps. I talk to them. They are mainly positive young people who think that they are going to win. That the little victories their groups (they all work for some kind of group, whether public or private) tally will add up to the preservation of Mother Earth.

But after almost 60 years of watching...I can assure you that Mother Nature has been raped beyond all hope of saving. She is, as that German word so perfectly delineates, kaput.

There's no saving Her, or us, now. We passed the point of no return some time back. And, of course, no one really cares. People who are stupid are led around by an imaginary struggle between left and right. These idiots only care about their air conditioning and their tablet computers. People who are relatively intelligent tend to think that there is still some hope left, and I sympathize with them.

Because there's not.

The Earth is burning up around us and everyone acts as if this is all normal. Every day things that have existed on Earth for millions of years are made extinct by our actions. No one will do anything to stop this. No one can, really.

There is a solution to the big problem, but it would involve--unfortunately--tremendous bloodshed and tremendous power. And the folk who are in control are in control so utterly and so completely that this will never happen.

Bukowski had us pegged. We're going to continue along the path we're on. We're just going to walk the Earth destroying everything until the ecosystems that birthed us and sustained us collapse completely. We'll follow the creatures we have destroyed into that black hole of Oblivion and there is no stopping it. Hell...there's not even going to be a pause in that crazy march beyond the event horizon.

Unlike Bukowski, though, I don't plan to sit in a room typing out misanthropic poetry. I will, as I've done the past couple of decades, plunge into what's left of our wild places and see them before they're all killed off.

As surely they will be.

Mountaintop removal mine in Letcher County, Kentucky. Where enriching billionaires takes a back seat to...everything else.


MarkGelbart said...

Mountain Top Removal Mining=Terrorism.

Foreign terrorists never hurt America like this.

James Robert Smith said...

And, of course, Mankind is doing this (and worse) all over the globe.

Kirk G said...

That photo somehow reminds me of Jack Kirby's image that the Watcher shows to the FF of how the matter-energy converter will drain the life out of the earth! The image is in FF #48 or 49...and reprinted in Marvel Masterworks FF Vol. 5, and in the Silver Surfer graphic novel reprinting the first Galactus trilogy.

James Robert Smith said...

He was a visionary. He was illustrating a scene of horror and destruction.