Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hell on Earth

It's late on Saturday night as I'm typing this, but I know I'm not going to get to it tomorrow because I have work to do tomorrow -- I'm reviewing grants for the federal government (yikes!), and they're due on Monday morning. I had hardly any time to write on Saturday, what with the baseball games and parties. I don't go anywhere these days except to, well, baseball games, and I actually had two parties to go to, and they were both great. So now it's close to midnight (yes, I'm so not a big drinker that I can come home from two parties and sit down at the computer and write -- maybe not anything scintillating, but I can still type!) -- and I've been thinking about this post for a few days and wondering how to write it and what to say.

It's about the oil spill in the Gulf. It's about wondering what the Drill Baby Drill crowd thinks about the spill. It's about reading what the woman who famously shouted Drill Baby Drill at one of her inane rallies said about the spill (that accidents happen but we've gotta keep drillin') and it's a bit of an extension to my previous post about those tea-party bagging, whatever folks that spend such an inordinate amount of time protesting about the evils of government and the slippery slope to socialism and how we're all going downhill and they want to bring America back and you know the rest.

I saw the photos of the birds, today, the birds who are being plucked from the Gulf, one by one and fed, drop by drop, Pepto Bismol in tiny, tiny syringes and I'm imagining that the Pepto draws the oil in their tiny bodies to it, but I don't really know. Every time I see those birds, their feathers black and slick with the muck I think of hell on earth. I think of evil, not the evil of human on human but a greater evil, actually, a true evil, that of rape against creation. As I type these words, I cringe at the drama implicit in them, the judgement. I think of the giant cars, the Escalades and the Jeeps, and the behemoth SUVs that careen around my neighborhood, that drop their precious cargo of children off at ball parks. I think of the DVD players in those cars and the blasting air-conditioners and the chorus of those who argue that we're fighting to preserve our way of life. And I can't help but hate "our way of life." Our way of life is disgusting, really. I drove a minivan for years, and while I tried to justify it by claiming that it helped me with Sophie; the fact is that when I downsized to a much smaller, more gas-efficient car, we fit just fine. Sure the boys grumble a bit when we're all inside it, and I can't fit a basket of CDs in between the front seats, but we fit just fine. I plan on driving this vehicle until I can get an electric one or something that does an even tinier amount of damage to the planet. While I'm not absolving myself of contributing to this culture of consumerism, because I've done my share of bad, those big cars make me particularly grumpy -- and don't get me started on all the bozos who are fighting tooth and nail about climate change.

Hell on earth.

Well, I'm all over the place with this post now, and perhaps the mint julep and the margarita scrambled my brain enough today that I just can't pull it together into something coherent.

It was just those birds in the oil that did it to me.

Sometimes I want to get rid of all of it. Start fresh. Buy only what I need and maybe a couple of pretty things to look at. Plant a garden and eat from it. Read a lot of books. Sort of like John Prine's song Spanish Pipedream whose chorus goes like this:

Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try and find Jesus on your own.

and later ends with this:

We blew up our T.V. threw away our paper
Went to the country, built us a home
Had a lot of children, fed 'em on peaches
They all found Jesus on their own.


  1. We drive a Highlander Hybrid, use as little electricity as we can manage, we have not watched tv for over 25 years now, are organic gardeners, our entire garden front, back and side are declared a wildlife refuge by The Wild Life Federation because we feed, care and protect whatever happens to be here. We recycle everything and anything we can. So are we good citizens of Mother Earth? Heck no, and what we do is the minimum we can do.

    I am sick about the oil spill. This country's dependency on fossil fuels is no different than a drug addiction or eating food that makes people insanely fat and yet we keep on producing it while the other day a new study revealed that young men are more likely to die in a car accident when they are overweight. Fast food wins over common sense and Escalades over birds and other creatures.

    Someone said that all the people who chant drill baby drill should be there cleaning and I wonder if they even care. Unfortunately I know the answer to that one.

  2. The sight of that bird is so distressing. To think it cannot clean its feathers and its all because of our desperate 'human consumption'. A sobering, but eyeopening post. Thanks.

  3. Totally coherent. This is the kind of stuff that paralyzes me and makes me feel, perhaps, the way those oil slick birds feel.

    I remember watching Guliani at the convention and witnessing the Drill Baby Drill thing and the first thing that popped into my head was the bar scene from The Accused.

    Gang rape.

    Heavy stuff, Elizabeth. And I hear you right down to the house in the woods and living on peaches.


  4. I want to cry. I feel so much despair. When Obama announced drilling as part of his energy policy I knew there was no hope. That is put on hold for the time being, but how enormous the price being paid.

    I have not been able to write about this. I believe I would only accomplish an incoherent rant.

  5. We have woefully injured our mother. No two ways about that. It's a sin of unpardonable proportions.
    I keep thinking of a thing that the author and marine biologist Jack Rudloe said in one of his books, "The Living Dock" and what he said was that mother nature can heal what mother nature does to the planet but mother nature cannot heal what man does to the planet.
    We all do the best we can but it's not good enough. We have to find better ways than to fuel our lives on the remains of dinosaurs. Science, government, business, all of us must work hand-in-hand and yet, I can't help feeling that maybe we've done it this time. We've gone too far.

  6. As always, I agree with everything you wrote, condensed into the evil of the rape against creation definition. ON a different note, I love that you have Patty Smith's book in your amazon list.

  7. What great lyrics! And I agree with you, and want to change the way I live, too. It's so difficult to know where to begin, sometimes. Downsize to a smaller house. Drive less. Walk more. Eat differently. I'm the only one in my house who sees it this way.
    Thank you for posting this. Keep on saying what you believe; we are listening!
    P.S. the word verification this time is: comence (spelled wrong, I know, but still! A message? To "begin where we are.")

  8. can "hell on earth" wake up the sleep walkers who blindly "drive" the road of I ME MINE consumerism?

    offshore oil drilling ??? may this man made tragedy SLAM that door forever more.

  9. Just watching this video and having a good cry.

  10. Again I come here to find you speak my thoughts. It is such a huge tragedy. The spill, the blindness, the lack of care. When did we start to need so much? Was it when we stopped caring about what we already had?

  11. Couldn't agree with you more.

  12. I have days where I believe that my little bit of composting, etc , my little steps, will add to those of everyone else , and there will be a great impact on sustainability, carbon footprints , etc.

    and then there are the days when I see for every one consumer driven green product or effort , another overpackaged processed food, or appliance with no shelf life, or incredibly daunting tragedy, such as this, fill me with such grief. I don't want to let apathy rule my family, nor greed, nor dispair or hopelessness.
    I don't know the answer to balance.

  13. I hope it bankrupts BP and changes Obama's mind about offshore drilling .... it is a heartbreak

  14. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. My heart tells me that this oil spill is bigger than a big deal. This is some sort of reckoning. If we don't "get it" now, I'm not sure when.



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