Saturday, February 26, 2011
Corporatists & penguins: Both poop in their own nests
I just got back from Antarctica and it was the Commute from Hell! First I had to endure three-and-a-half horrible days almost solely devoted to seasickness and fear while crossing back to Ushauaia through the infamous Drake Passage in a boat originally designed to cruise up and down the Danube. It was like being trapped in a washing machine 24/7. Terror in a Maytag.
Next came my air transportation nightmare. I mean seriously. How long can you spend in a succession of faceless terminals while trying to sleep on plastic chairs or limping from wrong gate to wrong gate on swollen feet and bad knees while living on airplane food and watching grade-B Hollywood movies through loop after loop in order to try to take your mind off of turbulence that sounds like the wings on your plane are about to fall off -- without going crazy?
And now I know the Lima (Peru) airport and the Santiago (Chile) airport and the Buenos Aires and Ushauaia (Argentina) airports intimately -- after spending three days sleeping with them, waiting for my delayed luggage and trying to find out which gate I'm supposed to be hobbling off to next.
But that's okay. The experience was worth it because of Antarctica's majestic untouched beauty, my renewed sense of urgency regarding global warming, marching with the penguins, scoring multiple souvenir T-shirts and having gained much deep knowledge learned the hard way.
So. Exactly what kind of deep knowledge did I acquire down there?
"An ice shelf is a glacier that extends out into the sea. Glaciers in Antarctica are 100 times larger than glaciers in Alaska and after they reach the edge of the land, they continue on out into the ocean and create enormous ice shelves the size of New Jersey. And two of these gigantic ice shelves have recently broken off from their bases as a result of pressures on them caused by global warming."
And these two huge ice shelves the size of New Jersey are now happily melting and floating our way. Why? Because in the last ten years alone, global temperatures have spiked up more than 800 percent higher than from their original documented baseline, set approximately 150 years ago when temperatures first started getting recorded.
And as a result of these gigantic new post-industrial temperature increases, Antarctica is melting, water levels all over the world are rising and Americans are all stuck in what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross calls the "First Stage of Death -- Denial". And instead of trying to bail out our poor planetary ship before it's too late, we just sit around on our hands while our global Titanic goes down -- hit by an iceberg.
While on this trip, I also learned something about penguins that I had never known before. Penguins are rather smelly birds. When visiting a penguin colony, you first start to get unpleasant whiffs of it from miles away out at sea. Penguins have no latrines. They poop in their own nests. Yuck!
"Wanna go ashore and look at penguin colonies today, Jane?" No thanks.
And after coming back to America, I also discovered that the corporatists and oligarchs who now own my country are like penguins too -- pooping where they live, heaping excrement down on the workers who support them. And just how long do the corporatists actually expect this situation to last? Penguins can always migrate elsewhere. Corporatists cannot. Corporatists have pretty much pooped in every nest here in America and have also moved on to poop in every nest in the rest of the world too. And now they have nowhere else to go.
"Wanna go visit Wall Street and K Street and the Cayman Islands and the Federal Reserve Bank today, Jane?" No thanks to that either. Can't stand the smell.
PS: In every single airport that I was stuck in on the way home to Berkeley, I could always count on seeing hundreds of flashy, elegantly-designed, glamorous and fabulous posters and displays and billboards that advertised all kinds of useless consumer stuff that nobody really needed -- so much stuff!
I must have seen over a thousand ads during my five flights toward home.
In every airport I waited (and waited) in, glossy in-your-face hard-sell ads campaigns and marketing blitzes covered almost every square inch of their walls, ceilings, counter-space and aisles. "Buy this! Buy that!" Then you too will be happy.
And the oligarchs and corporatists (and us too) continue to sell and buy all this stuff and to poop in our own nests just like the penguins -- while silent, white, deadly icebergs float closer and closer to New Jersey.
PPS: If you want to donate a pizza to the heroic protesters in Madison, Wisconsin, first click here for more information: http://gawker.com/#!5765822/egyptians-are-buying-pizza-for-wisconsin-protestors. And then click on Ian's Pizza FaceBook page to actually purchase the pizzas: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ians-Pizza-by-the-Slice/72866932924
In America today, our government and our media have been almost completely bought out by corporatists and oligarchs -- and our unions are the only real organized voices we have left that are strong enough to stand up to these creeps. But if we silently stand by and watch our unions go down too, then we will obviously get what we deserve -- a nest filled with corporatists and oligarchs, happily pooping on us.