The Great Chayefsky

And people look to the Bible for prophecy? Try the playwright Paddy Chayefsky, who back in 1976 through his screenplay for the film Network drew the map on our upcoming world with Arthur Jensen’s lecture to Howard Beale.

‘The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane (sic), interwoven, interacting, multi-national dominion of dollars…It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today! …..There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. These are the nations of the world today…’

Currently we talk about this phenomenon via Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, a very uncomfortable read. Because what is really so disheartening about this reality we struggle to face is that Arthur Jensen’s corporate world vision is entirely missing from Klein’s reported results.

‘…our children will live to see that perfect world in which there is no war and famine, oppression and brutality — one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.’

Instead great numbers of us will perish. It is built into the “shock and awe” plan and we, like Hardy’s sheep in Far from the Madding Crowd, will hustle to the cliff’s edge. I will be in that first fall because, frankly, I am tired of it all. I cannot fight the counterfeiters, I cannot convince you to refuse to vote for the politicians, I cannot even hang on to what little I had thought was mine to keep. The power is in the hands of the indifferent: my passions are up for mock.

Little use in arguing that overpopulation is not primary cause. The resources simply cannot sustain the numbers in need, and that is certainly our fault. We become those sheep because we never learned the grace of the lemmings. So I guess we deserve what’s coming.

and so to begin…

What happened is that an anger surfaced  I could not quell. Quickened speech, inevitable slur or stutter, in the end, pure rant. They have AM talk shows that pay for this, I know, but my audience has been confined to my kids. 21st century kids. So where do you put a mother you can’t even listen to anymore?? In a blog…with media options to boot.

Today is July 17, 2008 and Al Gore is back in the news, making a speech about you know what, and a couple of weeks ago I finished Jeffrey Toobin’s Too Close to Call, and my heart’s aching. We could have had our attention forced in the direction of this calamity eight years ago and now we’re going to find ourselves lacking the proper amount of shock when salt water overtakes the pumps protecting terrestrials on Manhattan.

We all know this is happening…we know it. Any argument now is anachronistic. But what are we prepared to do? Leaders we chose fail to possess even our own common sense: it is as if we follow them thinking they will insulate us from the truth (which in their self-interest they gladly guarantee), but we still know it. We know it.

So Gore was addressing infrastructure attracting our tax dollars to create alternate energy systems and the jobs enough of us need. (You know when Manhattan goes soggy that futures trader will be standing behind you in the new step-up-to-get-some-employment line.) We could be drawing paychecks for what would feel like volunteer work. Volunteer work: stuff done for the greater good. What if your favorite nightly news program reported on federal tax dollars that weren’t wasted?

What Gore stresses, and what we know more than all the rest is that fossil fuels are killing us. And everything else that we may not care about but curiously drag our kids to the zoo to see. Fossil fuels, like every other resource Nature provides, are only benign when consumed in moderation.

“Ya can’t stop what’s comin’,” Ellis said to Sheriff Bell in No Country for Old Men. But according to Gore, you can temper it.

And temper it we must.

We know it.