News

I get a couple of daily email newsletters to keep me abreast of developments in the race to invent new laws. There are always bozos who want politicians to pass a new law to make whatever they disapprove of illegal, turning the transgressor over to the punishment industry, rather than to the family, or the health department, or to some outfit that made sense but maybe wasn’t so good for the economy and wouldn’t keep the sadists occupied.

The headlines tend to be about the deterioration of the environment, corruption in high places, and murder, mass and otherwise—e.g., “Mitigating Annihilation,” “Losing in Afghanistan,” “Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball: “Capitalism is dead, but we still dance with the corpse,” “Consumers unlikely to spend cash as government rips away their safety net.”

There’s always something to say about what passes for news among mainstream and alternative sources, but if I want to write about it I have to pay attention to it and think about it. I hardly ever care deeply about events thousands of miles away, and I don’t want to think about them either, so I’m conflicted.

Take the BP corner-cutting and mistakes in the Gulf of Mexico (and Alaska and elsewhere, evidently). It’s unfortunate that oil is getting all over everything down there, but I can’t work up a righteous anger—the best kind—with BP or its lying executives or the feds or anybody else while I’m driving to buy firewood or keyboarding on my Mac or putting new tires on my bicycle. I’m the reason the oil business is so profitable that cutting a corner and paying the fine makes financial sense—money sense—as opposed to real sense. I buy petroleum byproducts and the government gives the oil business subsidies and allowances and look what it goes and does. The oil business directly or indirectly sells something—maybe jet fuel, maybe a plastic bottle with water in it, maybe a laptop computer—to probably most people in the world. We’re all oil hos.

I’ve done my part to make oil worth killing for. When I saved up and made payments to buy a diamond ring, I helped oppress and work to death the generations of people who brought the diamonds out of the ground, too. I’m not glad I was complicit, but I didn’t know my ass from my elbow at the time, and ignorance counts with me.

Since I don’t think the average citizen knows her ass from a hot rock—a slightly lower standard than one’s elbow—I’m not angry at her for building her life around plastic either. She’s doing the best she knows how, and she’ll wake up when she’s ready. Meanwhile, I got a new plastic cover for my phone.

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