July 29, 2007

Art and Inconvenient Truths

As it happens, I finished Kurt Vonnegut's novel Hocus Pocus (1990) and watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth on the same day, yesterday. The connection: both are tendentious, both are concerned with environment degradation. One is good art, the other is decidedly not and doesn't pretend to be. One is na├»ve and bitter, the other is slick and evangelistic. At the same time, one convincingly makes the difficult connections between damage to the environment and religious beliefs, capitalism, greed, racism, class pretensions, and Yale. The other, with the approximate scientific depth of your average commercial for a headache remedy, pulls heartstrings and concludes with a web link. Two notes on that: (1) Yes, I admit, Al Gore brought me to tears several times; KV manifestly did not –even though there's a hell of a lot more to weep about in Hocus Pocus; (2) If Vonnegut had written another novel, I think he would have ended it with "go to http://www.tralfamadore.net/" [don't click on that]. And, don't get me wrong – of course we all want to fix global warming [and save…what? In memory of KV, let's be clear – it's not necessarily the planet we're trying to rescue, but our own miserable species]. Could it be that, ironically, the right wing is correct about the ill effects of profound reform on life-as-we-know-it: the whole deal, the ship of state, the health of the economy, etc., is, in fact, hopelessly tethered to waste, militarism and the heedless exploitation of labor and resources? And so it goes... R.I.P. KV 1922-2007 (photo by Jill Krementz/cover design by Paul Bacon)
from H/P:
It was speech by God to Adam and Eve supposedly…"Fill the Earth and Subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the Earth."


So the people on Earth thought they had instructions from the Creator of the Universe Himself to wreck the joint.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where the hell are you, Mr. Weil? I mean, I know where you are in conventional time and space, of course, but - I guess I sort of miss your postings. It's been a slow month for me. I'm sitting here in my cubicle eating too much out of a bag of Snyder's Pretzel Sandwiches ("Filled With Creamy Goodness") and feel, frankly, lonely, uninformed, and under-entertained. And insight-deprived. Those other blogs you link to - they're not part of my assignment anyway - just don't satisfy. Please, Mr. Weil. Come back.