The Long, Hot Summer of 2011: Time to Get Your Doom On
Long-time readers of this blog are aware that it has gone through several phases — or rather, I have personally gone through several phases — of intense doomerism. Leading up to the global financial crash/panic/mini-apocalypse of 2008, I was fully caught up in the doom meme, with a special emphasis on peak fossil fuels and impending economic annihilation. Oddly, once the financial part began in earnest, my personal intensity for it ramped down of its own accord. My feeling was kind of like, “Well, here it is, or at least the opening stages of it. Nothing much to say now.”
Then came 2011. And while I don’t have any designs to resume my former life as a mad prophet of the webwaves, notwithstanding a comment to that effect that I tossed off at Facebook a few minutes ago, if ever the time was ripe for a re-blossoming doomerism, it’s now. What I find so utterly, purely, exquisitely fascinating about the present moment is that the mainstreaming of the doomer worldview and mindset that had already begun in earnest by the time we hit the iceberg in 2008 has only continued to advance, so that by this point in time, when we’re facing (already experiencing?) what may be a truly galactic explosion of unprecedented ugliness all around us — politically, economically, ecologically, socially, culturally, spiritually — everybody in the U.S. has already thrown in the towel and accepted that we’re truly, deeply, irrevocably, and by any and all sane and reasonable measures, completely fucked.
And may I just say: It’s about time. Our collective life has been so bloated, so over-the-top, so fake, so frenetic, so exploitative, so ugly, so greedy, so soulless, for so very long, that nothing short of a total implosion can even begin to clear away the exoskeleton of corruption. We’re just like the dwarf banana trees that my wife and I planted in our yard last year: we have to be hacked down to the ground, to a blunt stump, before we can see new growth. (Wait, am I sounding like John the Baptist? “The axe is already at the foot of the tree…”)
So here it is. Apocalyptic heat and drought. Apocalyptic flooding. Apocalyptic storms. Apocalyptic crop failures. Increasing energy squeeze. Riots. Financial panics. Epic failure of entire governments, including the holy U.S. of A. Culture rot. Social decay. (You should see/feel/experience the seedy, violent crime-ridden condition of Waco, Texas these days. Then again, no, you shouldn’t.) To invoke biblical language: It all sucketh. But only from one point of view, and a short-sighted one at that. In actual fact, this is necessary medicine, an integral stage in a holistic process.
I guess it was today’s disaster in global financial markets that knocked me back into this thought world. Here are a few headlines to set the tone. Obviously, they don’t even approach comprehensiveness in terms of recent events. No mention of S&P’s downgrade of the U.S., or the debt-ceiling debacle, or Europe’s economic catastrophe, or ongoing nuclear contamination problems in Japan, or recent indications that the Gulf isn’t really cleaned up at all, etc., etc., etc. These are just the ones that came to hand via an easy Google search. I’ve thrown in one about paranormal matters to spice things up, since the breakdown in our human society is apparently being paced step-for-step by an upsurge in UFO sightings and such. I feel like I’m living in a Robert Anton Wilson novel.
- Hideous Day on Wall Street as Stocks Plunge (Yahoo! Finance)
- ‘Fear Gauge’ Near ‘Flash Crash” Levels (The Wall Street Journal)
- Texas Drought: Desperate Enough to Recycle Urine (International Business Times) — Municipal water managers in Texas, where the drought has reached a painful point, have decided to recycle sewage water.
- Texas drought will have lasting impact on ecosystems (USA Today) — The worst year-long drought in Texas history will have a lasting impact on entire ecosystems inside and outside the state, according to wildlife biologists. Jeffrey Bonner, biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, says the conditions harm everything from plants to the predators at the top of the food chain, the Associated Press reports.
- Freak weather and climate change: Don’t connect the dots! (Salon) — It’s far smarter to repeat to yourself the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change. There have been tornadoes before, and floods — that’s the important thing. Just be careful to make sure you don’t let yourself wonder why all these record-breaking events are happening in such proximity.
- Third Night of London Riots, British PM Cuts Vacation Short (Voice of America)
- ‘Freaked out’ BBC reporter tells millions of radio listeners of the moment he faced a UFO on his way to work (Daily Mail) — ‘Freaked out’ sports journalist Mike Sewell said he was left gobsmacked when he spotted a huge ‘disc-shaped’ aircraft hovering above the Hertfordshire countryside on his way to work in the early hours of the morning.