I promise I'm a happy, optimistic person. I really am, but sometimes, things just get me down.
Prologue: Andy Hoffmann, one of my favorite professors at the U, sent me an email that said:
"Isn't it beautiful the way we carry tunes? I think this is why my heart is so broken about the oil spill, because I know sea critters carry tunes as well. Apocalypse is heavy."
I don't know if you have read about this, but I was unaware of it until today. Apparently, Nigeria has been the focal point of spills from many international oil companies for the past 50 years, amounting to more oil spilled per year than has been lost so far in the Gulf of Mexico. I know the recent gulf spill has only been going for a few months, and it is certainly horrific. It's just funny/awful to me that the developed western world is so willing to literally ravage the third world for the sake of its prosperity, and that it takes so long for anyone to say anything about it. I'm growing incredibly weary of this pattern, friends.
It's also funny/awful to me that even once something like this happens on our own soil, our population is so quick to just direct all our anger at a company like BP, who really did nothing other than to take on the risks associated with running an oil company, which is necessary in order to supply the needs of a country whose upper classes will point their fingers and yell"F*** BP!!!" at the MTV movie awards while their town cars idle in the back parking lot. In the meantime, the lower classes watch this on TV and feel that they are responding adequately to the situation; we're all fighting the big guys, right? There's a serious cause/effect disconnect happening here. The fact that BP is trying to throw blame around for the corrupt and brazen policies that led to this particular spill becomes ironic and sickening when we realize it's only a reflection of the attitude of our entire populace. It's what we all do every time we max out a credit card (I don't get paid enough, I needed new ______ for ______), every time I drive instead of bike because it's raining, or because I'm tired, every time we lift that bag into that magic green trash-be-gone compartment on the side of the road (Landfills? Gross!). As humans, we are incredibly adept at circumventing blame, which seems like a survival mechanism that may have worked well for hunter-gatherers, but in my mind it's a boulder we're all tied to as we try to pull our weight toward the promise of a peaceful global society. How do we learn to own up to our mistakes, all of our mistakes, every time? To live more sustainably? How do we teach the next generation?
I'm realizing now that a lot of these ideas I have about human nature stemmed from reading Freud's Society and its Discontents in a Theory class last year. I didn't understand it very well that time, so I'd like to re-read it.
"Why is the sky brown, mom?"
"Well, BP did it."
"Dang those poop-heads!"
"I'd ask you to watch your language Jeorg, but no words are too cruel for those villains. Now let's get in the van, or we'll be late for your painting class."