Miscellaneous, Rants

You’ve probably heard that Barack Obama’s father is from Kenya, so there’s a sort of Obama-mania around here. Here’s how most of my conversations go with the locals:

Local: “Do you think Obama will win?”
Me: “Yes, but I’m not going to vote for him.”
Local: “What? Why not?”
Me: “Why should I vote for him?”
Local: “HE’S KENYAN!!!”
Me: “But that’s not what Democracy is about…”

One teen-aged girl proceeded to ask me if I hate black people.  I told her that I don’t care if the next president of the United States is white, black, green, or a tree.  American politics make it so that any candidate with drastically different ideas has absolutely no chance to get elected.

Books, Rants

I’m reading David Barsamian’s collection of interviews with Arundhati Roy, The Chequebook and the Cruise-Missile, and I came across something that made me crack up:

“But still, how are you going to persuade a Naga sadhu–whose life mission has been to stand naked on one leg for twenty years or to tow a car with his penis–that he can’t live without Coca-Cola?” page 17

… a reference to the uphill battle the West faces in its quest to develop countries like India. “Develop,” of course, means that companies like Walmart are trying to create a demand for big box stores, processed foods, iPods, etc. It’s an uphill battle because India is essentially still one massive “wilderness.” With the possible exception of booming twenty-four hour cities like Bangalore and Mumbai there there is just no concept of supermarkets. For whatever the reason, people would rather eat a dosa or an idli than a McDonald’s hamburger, even if it is a “Masala Chicken Burger.” Continue Reading

Books, Rants, The Sky is Falling

In May I read Derrick Jensen’s A Language Older Than Words

“Every morning when I wake up I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam.”

Although I know the feeling, I have no interest in being a writer and I don’t know the first thing about bombs; I’m not sure where that leaves me.

Jensen’s definitely an environmental activist but the book isn’t really an “environmental” book. I gave the book away so I can’t verify, but I think the book is even categorized as “Spiritual/Philosophy” on the back cover. What stands out in my mind from the book is Jensen’s use of historical references to explore the complete disappearance of once-flourishing animal populations like salmon, bison, and passenger pigeons. He quotes North American explorers who, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, remarked on flocks of passenger pigeons one mile wide and three hundred miles long, containing up to one billion birds. Holy crap, right?
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