greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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I think that I'm lost here, lost in a place called America...

Yesterday, we drove to Athens to visit an old friend I'd not seen in many years. Lately, it occurred to me how very odd it is that I've lived in Atlanta for more than four years and not once made the hour+ drive east and north to Athens. Yesterday, I found out why. Too many memories there, of one sort or another. A memory minefield, and I absolutely do not need those. As many good memories as bad, but that doesn't make much difference. Ghosts everywhere I look. Francis Phelan coming home to Albany. Every street corner and vacant lot was haunted with significance. But the visit with David was good. These days, he's an NPR dj and writes a very popular political blog as "TRex" over at Fire Dog Lake. That means we had to think about things to talk about that were not politics. He has not yet abandoned hope for this system, and I fear that I have, so political discussions are dicey.

But he played a couple of Tori Amos albums for me. I admit I tuned out after To Venus and Back (1999), so Scarlet's Walk and American Doll Posse were new to me. I was pleased to find that I liked most of what I heard. Oh, and he also introduced us to Télépopmusic, with whom Spooky and I are now smitten. We left Athens at sunset.

Athens hasn't changed a great deal since I moved away in August '97, though a number of my most beloved institutions are deceased (Blue Sky coffee, the original Jittery Joe's location, etc.). But the route to and fro has changed quite a lot. We drove in on 316 and back to Atlanta on 78, and both are now squalid monuments to sprawl and corporate saturation. And crazy Jesus billboards. The crazy Jesus billboards are something else new, and reason enough to stay inside the Perimeter of Atlanta (though I already had lots of good reasons). I should have made a list of all the billboards. I can only recall a few: COMING SOON! JESUS; Stop Hilary Now!; some crazy creationist shit; and so on. And on. And on. Howard Hughes will stay here in her overpriced, godsforsaken, queer-friendly ghetto, thank you and please

We made it home in time for a late dinner (11 p.m.), and then more Planet Earth ("Seasonal Forests" and "Caves"). And then my nightly share of insomnia.

Regarding my Earth Day post, I received these comments:

stephenhsegal wrote:

I will continue to think of myself as an earthling first, a human second, and all other categorizations a distant third. And for what it's worth, I will continue flying James Cadle's flag and trying to live by Fred Rogers' words: "Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel, a facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not."

One problem, of course, is that most humans do pretend they are not and so will not acknowledge that kinship, even among their closest relations — other primates. Or if they do acknowledge a kinship, they see themselves as somehow favoured above all the other inhabitants of the planet, not as fellow travelers but "stewards" or "masters."

This comment from corucia was especially appreciated, though I suspect he's just trying to cheer me up:

Our intelligence has given us the power to ignore the usual boundaries set on other species, boundaries that act to limit the expansion of a species. However, our intelligence hasn't done a single thing to negate the drive to expand that is inherent in all species. It's buried too deep for most people to even comprehend that it is there, let alone do anything constructive about it. Unfortunately for the human species, we didn't eliminate all of the boundaries, merely sidestepped the more common ones. Our drive to expand eventually will cause us to come up against a boundary that we can't think our way around, and our expansion will stop. In all likelihood, that will mean that our population levels will implode, as our current numbers are only supported by expansion, and not by maintenance, as you point out. If model organism population studies actually do provide a reasonable overview of likely outcomes, we could be looking at a drop of more than two to three orders of magnitude, leaving Earth with a human population of five to fifty million, or less. I would expect the technologically based groups to be the most affected. Once again, if model organism studies can be used as an indicator, the rapidity of the descent could be measured in years, not decades. It depends on how far out over the abyss we are when we finally hit the triggering event.

Sorry to be all somber and gloomy, but today is Earth Day, and not Human Day. The good news is that Earth, and life in general, will not have too much problem picking up and continuing, after the humans have effectively killed themselves off.

Also, my thanks to jtglover for the link to this article, which boldly, sensibly states why yesterday should be the last Earth Day. I do not agree with its authors' optimism, but they're dead-on about the corporate co-opting of Earth Day and the irrelevance of individual gestures in the face of environmental collapse. If you're the sort who looks at the two choices now before humanity — a) radical, immediate change or b) business as usual, leading to unspeakable misery and possibly human extinction — and chooses "a," then you should read the article.


Today needs to be spent polishing the "Yellow House" story for Sirenia Digest #17. There's so much else waiting to be done.

This would be a fine day for comments...
Tags: #17, athens, david, earth day, planetary death, population, sirenia, tori amos

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