My usual post-ballot blues never hit me this time. I sublated it -- no, that's a hollow boast; I simply pre-empted it -- by reading this green shellac job on Ed Abbey, knight of the immaculate conception we call wilderness America.
Fuck the wilderness, the virgin cult of our time and place. And as to the latter day saint Mr Ed, he was just a grasshopper on to a good con, with his
"Magical, sensual evocation of the desert, fierce defense of wilderness and irreverent attacks on conventions of every angle of the political spectrum."Now there's a yoking of sacred asses for ya, eh?
Here's the Abbey outlook on our near future:
"[a] completely urbanized, completely industrialized, ever more crowded environment."And then he hits us with this:
"For my own part I would rather take my chances in a thermonuclear war than live in such a world.”
Gotta love that second part, if it has an iota of sincerity in it. But it doesn't, of course. Because in fact those who might opt for the big T Rex of wars over the same old same old, and I mean really opt for it -- those people crave not the sweet breezes of the wilderness but this very same horror, a totally Manhattanized planet Earth.
I venture that in Generation Now such souls are not scarce. Such bravado, real Satanic bravado, explains with Miltonic clarity why lost wilderness tears are so bathetic. At long last, Mr Thoreau, have you no sense of the truly sublime!
Here's another line to clear the sinuses of ballot box blues, this from the worship piece's author hizzseff, answering the musical question "what drives this madness?" The answer:
"human greed exemplified by too many people living too high on the hog."
Are we to accept as self-evident that the pursuit of high-hoggin' it is ipso-facto madness? Narco-nihilists take note.
Abbey and his legendary fictive hero Marmaduke (or whatever his name was) manage to concentrate every kind of arrogant mummy-nature slobbering Wandervogel aestheticism into one single flightless cry of pedantry: "stay off my wilderness!"
What a Grail that, eh? The moral equivalent of "stay off my lawn", for any footloose cellar monkey who happens to be enough of a megalomaniac to "contain multitudes" and burst through the pasteboard mask.
Buy this medicine-wagon con and then you gotta go further and listen to all that "I know its too late" geschrei and still get importuned to "fight on, dogfaces... fight on" against the browning of the great greenness. Throw down your tools of getting and spending, throw down your private chores and go raging into that smoke belching irradiated time tunnel ahead, pausing only to boohoo now and again, and boohoo so church-choir loud we might think it's March 6th 1836, and you're attending a prayer breakfast inside the Alamo.
As if evoking Ed isn't enough for one read, then comes this happy conjecture: "Today, Ed is everywhere" (like the Scarlet Pimpernel or that Joad geef, one imagines).
A f'rinstance alleged Abbey avatar? James Lovelock, "famed contemporary global warming critic and originator of the Gaia hypothesis." His prophecy?
"In the next 30 years rising oceans will displace a billion hungry refugees, worldwide desertification will draw the Sahara north into Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad."If that isn't enough to curl your toenails,
" By the end of the century... the human world will be torn apart by famine and disease, starving Asians who cannot grow their own food [will be] migrating into Siberia and precipitating nuclear war between Russia and China."Among all the numerous apocalyptic horsemen in Lovelock's stable, they can expect to
"kill off six billion of the world’s 6.6 billion human beings. The plants and creatures of our lovely planet would suffer the sixth great extinction, the most severe yet and entirely human-caused.... Human civilization... would collapse."Well. That does sound nasty. It's not terribly clear what "wilderness" has to do with it, though. But hey, who wants to be a spoilsport?