Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The frustration of impotence

So I've just watched Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
I'd originally put off seeing it when it was first released, partly out of the feeling of preaching to the converted (which, it has just occurred to me, makes no sense as a phrase. Preaching to the converted is the norm in most religions...), and partly out of a wariness brought about by the sustained dissection of Bowling for Columbine.
There were various accusations pertaining to the parts that seem to be insinuated or fabricated as opposed to documented, and I accepted these as the film as a whole got the message across and well - that the USA has a disproportional rate of gun related violence, guns are readily available and that the mainstream media scaremongers.

But in the run up to the release of Fahrenheit (after the post-Disney suppression) I'd read a lot about how the film suffered even more from events that were insinuated or just made up, so I gave it a miss. And I really shouldn't have.
There really isn't any actual content that is in dispute. The way the film is edited creates obvious bias, it's true, and whilst no documentary can be truly objective I don't think Moore ever set out to pretend this. And like I said, none of the facts can be disputed - they can be argued against just as I can argue that you're not really reading this, but you are.
It is a fact that the 2001 US election was fixed, that Al Gore was the elected president of the USA. Sure, elections are rigged the world over, but rarely do they impact so deeply into the lives of people outside the respective countries.
It's a fact that the Bush family has a long business history with the oil industry and the Bin Laden family, and that Bush and his administration have personally gained from their foreign policy decisions. It is a fact that they knew there were no WMDs in Iraq and that Iraq did not pose a threat to its neighbours at that time. And so on, and on and on.

And whilst we can ruminate on what could have been, that Clinton was often little better in his little Democratic blip in the last 25 years and that there's every possibility that Gore could have turned out as a spineless, money-grabbing war monger, but this brings me to the other documentary I saw two weeks back. An Inconvenient Truth.

It shows evidence that Gore has actually dedicated at least a small amount of time in at least the last 3 decades into thinking about the state of this planet that we all have to share, which seems a huge amount more than Bush has managed. Again, an Inconvenient Truth can be accused of preaching to the converted. But again the facts are undeniable. Our actions are having a direct and massive effect, changing the climate of our planet and everything we've come to take for granted.
It's not some risk like smoking, where you have the possibility of smoking every day of your life and living to 90 without dying of anything smoking related.
Climate change is happening now, the temperature of Earth is rising now, the weather systems have already been affected and even if we all stop contributing to global warming today, completely, the temperature will still keep rising for some decades.
This isn't something that we can ignore, that we can hope goes away, pretend isn't happening. Everybody needs to act now, and the film does a fantastic job getting it across, from what's happening and how, what will happen if we do nothing and what we can do to change.
And like Gore says, it doesn't require a massive effort on our part, we don't have to stop being the ipod generation, it just takes little steps, lots of little steps that all add up.
Click to visit the site and do at least one thing to help yourself

I really hate sounding like some git trying to get people to join a cause, but this is ridiculous, it's not something we can ignore, it's not homelessness, vivisection, extinction, it's going to affect the whole planet and everyone on it. True, many of us will be dead before it gets stupendously bad, so why worry?
Just look at the site and change your lightbulb to an energy saving one. And put a jumper on now it's getting cold, you don't need the heating just yet.

despite all the talk of Gore et al, saying that denial usually leads straight to despair - once you accept there's something wrong you feel powerless even though you're not - I still do feel that impotence.
Is it any wonder that I feel a sense of powerlessness when in my adult life I've seen the President of the US get in power despite losing the election, and my own country going to war despite hundreds of thousands of people actually taking to the streets, not just tutting and moaning but getting up, going out and trying to show that this particular thing is unacceptable. So what can we do to make a difference? I guess we just have to take a little step for ourselves, and hope that everyone else joins in.
So this is my bit to try and get other people to join in - just do something, change that frigging lightbulb, I know you can afford it and if you really can't then tell me and I'll get you one for Christmas.

And we're STILL in fucking Iraq! It's obscene!
The war that was "won" years ago is now worse than ever, and not only that but some reports suggest that incidents of torture are worse than under Saddam (clicky).
So, there were no WMDs, Iraqis are worse off, US and UK soldiers are dying every week not to mention the men and women left crippled and having to deal with out labyrinthine disability benefit system, poor fuckers.

Yeah, so to stop this degenerating into a rant, get yourself a fucking energy saving lightbulb and dig those jumpers out of the wardrobe.


  1. Ha! I already have energy saving lightbulbs! Just call me Captain Planet.

  2. What's this got to do with not being able to get it up? Horny Goat Weed is shit, by the way. Keeshan might be able to spring you some 'Zenegra' somebody smuggled out of India for him. That isn't shit. I got by on half a pill each time and you couldn't knock it down with a hammer. It was like a marble column. Except with, like, stuff shooting out the end.

  3. Whats that Denis Leary line?

    - Fuck you, it was like that when I got here.

    Thats basically what America, as a country, says to your blogpost. All 250 million people of it. Not to mention the 102 Billion Indians who don't know or care what global warming is. Or the 103 billion Chinese who just want to buy shiny new cars and fill the sky with their exhaust fumes while their countless new skyscrapers blot out the sun.

    But hey, I'm on board, so thats more important, right?

    If everybody who sees this film - the majority of whom will be educated middle-class westerners, already aware of the problem, just probably not in such great detail - changes the way they live, it won't make any difference. Because of those Americans and Indians and Chinese.

    But theres an upside to the impending death of Earth. It means that people will have to go and colonise outer space! Whoopee! They can have, like, laser-pistol battles, and marry aliens. Blue ladies, man, they'll sort out that impotence problem...just ask William Shatner.

  4. If all the middle class Westeners change the way they live, the carbon belch-out won't change a great deal, BUT
    the demand for and thus cost of relevant technologies will change, so it will become more cost effective to recycle, and the price of renewable energy tech will fall.
    A rise in demand will also become a political issue - such a wide ranging change in habits will become issues where parties engage in oneupmanship.
    Cheaper renewable tech out west will be available out east especially when conjoined with those lovely aid packages that the World Bank and IMF love to fill with clauses - aid if you install scrubbers in coal plants, install windfarms and solar panels and such.

    Whilst the burgeoning consumers of the new Eastern middle class don't give that much of a fuck, they do want less pollution with their demand for cars and electricity so some sort of carbon cutback will inevitably be 'put on the table' at least for areas with a middle class, regardless of outside pressure.

    All of this assumes a sea-change in the behaviour of the Western middle class. It does seem unlikely, but you only have to look at the massive rise in the organic food market and the overt marketing of 'no additives, no GM etc.' foods to see that changes can come quickly.

    We're still fucked, but what happens now is we can do something about how fucked we are.


    As for space battles, I'm haunted by the fact that it's likely never to happen. The lack of gravity in space results in perpetual momentum, meaning that debris from any space explosion would just fly out forever, meaning you blow one ship up and they're all fucked. Inter-colonial ground based civil war, however, is inevitable. With lasers.