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Moment of Truth: Back on my Sixteen Tons.

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Reading the journals of others, I’m always struck by the way their strengths in one area make up for weaknesses in another. “I wasn’t interested in the majestic mountain ranges, but the old volumes in the village’s small library held me in their thrall.” Or, “My brother’s studies of the classic works of Linnaeus held no interest for me. I lived for the rush of wind as I schussed down the berg.” Or, “I never could get the hang of archery. No, for me, all joy burst forth from the sea as I landed a fish for supper.”

I could never do that memoir schtick. For one thing, I’m too dishonest. And for another, for every weakness of mine, instead of a strength in another area making up for it, there’s an additional weakness. For example, “I never liked other kids much, and they didn’t like me, but at least I had some science fiction to read, which bored me a little less, but was small consolation for a lonely life as child pariah.”

“Oh, blah blah blah, Jeffrey, who wants to listen to you read your creative writing assignment?” I had a boss who used to complain about people’s creative writing assignments being read on NPR. That was the only good thing about my boss. See, I was born one morning when the sun didn’t shine. I picked up a shovel and I went to the mine. I hauled sixteen tons of number nine coal and the straw boss said, “Well bless my soul.”

That’s one thing I like to pretend. That I worked in the mines. That I had one fist of iron and the other of steel. The getting another day older and deeper in debt part, well, that I don’t have to imagine. That happened this morning, as it does every morning.

Yep, that’s why I voted for Trump. Because he said he was going to open the mines back up, bring coal back. Not cuz I’m racist. I mean, I am racist, but let’s be honest: Obama made it hard not to be racist, with his audacity to be black and president at the same time, presiding while black, defying the laws of white physics. And white people invented physics, and don’t you forget it. I mean, can you imagine a bunch of Black people achieving a fake moon landing? They’d never get that hoax off the ground. You know why? Because their Jesus doesn’t have German science on his side.

It’s also not because I hate Hillary. I mean, I hate her, but she’s asking for it.

Now let me step out of redneck character for a second, not that it was a particularly well-drawn character. I, mejeffdorchen, do hate Hillary. Because she is full of grade B horseshit. But unlike my redneck character a paragraph back, I didn’t vote for Trump. I voted for Hillary. Because bad as Hillary is, Trump was exponentially worse. I mean, I said at the time, the last thing we need is someone who studied at the knee of Henry Kissinger and is considered by libs and conservatives alike, neoliberals in other words, and so considers herself, an expert on foreign policy. I mean, she’s certainly an expert on the kind that’s messed the world up for your average Earthling.

But Dump thinks he’s an expert on everything. He thinks he has natural ability or something. “It’s my mind, it’s such a good mind.”

It’s not a good mind. It’s a very diseased mind. But the kind of society we’ve put up with for so long paved the way for this loaf of Dunning-Kruger manure to sit in the captain’s chair.

Anyway, Dump brought the overt incompetence, racism, misogyny, disregard for humans and other Earthlings, disregard for the whole Earth itself. But he didn’t bring the coal back.

He had one job, according to my racist persona, and he couldn’t get it done.

No, as slowly as it’s going, as ass-backwards as it often seems to be sliding, the world is trending toward renewable energy and sustainability. Even the markets. It’s the reliance on markets that’s retarded the pace of progress, and it’s why we’ll probably not get it done in time to save thousands of species and our own civilization from going extinct. But the trend is there. Like every collective effort to do good on a broad scale, it’s too little too late. But it is heading in the right direction, more or less.

Why, just last week, Caltrans, the California Transportation something, announced it’s testing a new, recycled plastic paving material. One mile of this material will incorporate 150,000 plastic bottles.

It’s gonna happen out on Highway 162. They’re gonna scrape off about three-inches of 1000 feet of mess-up highway, grind it up, and instead of mixing it with tar made from leftover bitumen, waste usually trucked in from an oil refinery – and you know there aren’t as many of those left as there used to be – instead of tar, they’ll mix it with a binder made from melted plastic beverage containers. #1 PET plastic, the most commonly recycled plastic in the world, and actually in high demand already, but they’ll probably retool eventually to use #3, 4, and 5 plastic. Give them time. Like we have time. Like we have all the time in the world.

We’ll probably be turning a lot of highways into farmland, as we leave behind the personal automobile in favor of highly efficient, beautiful, comfortable mass transportation. Maybe Caltrans will get back aboard the bullet train train. They can pick up right where they gave up like pathetic losers.

But I’m not here to beat up on Caltrans or California development policy or the inefficiency and destructive priorities of markets or Donald Dump and his racist supporters. I’m here to deliver good news. I’m here to strip the world down to its underwear, turn its ratty old clothes inside-out, and show you all the silver lining.

Maybe it’s a good thing that the USA has lagged behind every other developed nation in almost every facet of material public policy. Once we slog through this reactionary period, and start catching up to the rest of the contemporary world, assuming the contemporary world can adapt to what’s required to maintain itself through this reactionary period, we’ll be able to learn from all the trial-and-error implementation all the other countries have done before us, and reap the benefits of the technologies they’ll have developed.

Mississippi just posted the highest per-capita number of corona deaths in the known world – nice work, Mississippi, god damn. Maybe a large swath of the reactionary US public, along with much of the progressive public, I’m sure, will have been thinned out by time we’re ready to become a halfway decent society, and no one, or only a few easily picked-off hard cases, will stand in the way of the new Socialist Leisure public works and integrated lounging program. Because once we’ve miraculously turned all the at-large plastic waste into building materials, once that ambitious young man who invented the ocean plastic cleaner is ready to retire his fleet, and even the oceanic gyres are gone, well...

That is how I, president mejeffdorchen – or maybe I’ll go with President Yosephus – that is how I will bring back mining to the USA. We’ll pick up our shovels and go to the landfills, ride the elevator down – it’ll probably be a short escalator, actually – and start picking into the compacted cells to get at that sweet, sweet plastic. We can even use the plastic layer that lines the cells, because we’ll have stripped away all the toxins that might contaminate the soil and groundwater, and we’ll tote those bales of unrecycled recyclable plastic – from veins of number 1, numbers 3, 4, and 5 – no direct relation to number nine coal. Plastics, young Benjamin. It’s the future.

And that is how the American dream of having a cruddy, shleppy job for an honest day’s pay will return to these flogged and bloody shores. You’ll have to put up with a lot of relaxation, a lot of down time, because we will have one-hundred percent employment. So, that means certain capitalistic priorities will be deprioritized, and most likely decapitated.

My goal, as agitating blabbermouth and president-in-training, is that we as a species avoid at all cost the future predicted in the movie WALL-E.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day.

 

Moment of Truth

 

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