This isn’t abstract psychoanalysis. There is a brutal calculus going on in the minds of everyone from your skeptic uncle to the bankrollers of squillion dollar think tanks whenever they think or talk about climate change. They know that they will never have to really answer for their opinions on this matter, because they’ll be six feet under (and loving it!) when the world’s arable land is rendered infertile and its coastal cities flooded by rising oceans. In some dark and venal corner of their minds, they’re thinking about that fact all the damn time. Despite the frightening predictions of the new IPCC report, they’ve still got plenty of wiggle room to keep denying until they’re dead – which will be sooner rather than later. With any luck they’ll even avoid being held accountable in any concrete way, which for the conservative commentariat is an even worse fate than the Mad Max hellworld towards which we are hurtling.
I’m in The Outline today being polemical against the olds. Been too long since I’ve written something Rude.Read More
The act of gathering souvenirs has been intrinsic to the human experience since we first began to stray from our lands. From early pilgrims amassing the dirt of the holy sites they visited, to the collection of construction materials and rough pieces of woodwork from foreign cities, there has always been an innate desire to mark the course of our journeys with objects hoarded along the way.Read More
To Walt, the looming failures of the postwar liberal consensus were mere problems of efficiency. His specific mode of technocracy preempted by decades the Silicon Valley mode of thinking that now pervades our thoughts about sociopolitical organisation. If the broader community structures of a city could be aided by technological solutions, guided by universal design principles, then logic dictated that such a city simply could not fail.
A little multimedia bit I did about Walt Disney's original, bizarre EPCOT vision – a huge futuristic city constructed on thousands of acres of Florida swampland.Read More
Michael Oliver was a Las Vegas real estate tycoon, who—like many of his ilk—began absorbing
some of the more febrile reactionary currents pulsing through the id of the American right in the
second half of the 20th century. He believed that the postwar liberal consensus—inaugurated by
the Democratic Party and more or less accepted by mainstream Republicans—had set the country
on the path to collapse, and that the looming spectre of hybrid fascist-socialist governance sought to dispossess him of his wealth.
It doesn't take a genius to note that the media isn't particularly loved at the moment. Whether justified or not, the general consensus is that journalists are elite, out-of-touch and utterly untethered from the material concerns of regular people. Thanks to Trump and his regional wannabes, everyone has a working vocabulary for pointing out media deceptions and nepotism.Read More
Imagine a train hurtling towards you. It’s a hundred metres away, close enough to hear the hum of the engine and the rattle of the tracks. You’ve been told what you need to do. You’ve been given four or five different ways you can avoid being struck by the train – but you don’t do any of them. Instead, you conceptualise the millions of possible realities in which being run down by a fast-moving train might not be so bad. You consider how you might pick up the shattered pieces of your body after the train obliterates you, rearranging it into something vaguely resembling what it looked like before. You know it will never look or function as it once did. But you don’t even think about stepping out of the way.Read More
From a distance, ginkgo trees are beautiful.
Their fan-shaped, lobed leaves are a sight to behold, transforming from a light, pleasant green to a brilliant yellow in the autumn. The foliage falls in waves, blanketing the ground in what is widely named ‘golden snow’. A fully grown ginkgo tree, which can grow to fifty feet in height, recalls the delicacy of a woodcut or a classical Chinese painting.
They still blossom under the hardiest and most unlikely of conditions. They are an ancient species, dating back to the Cambrian era, and they have no close surviving relatives. A tree near Chengdu is believed to have lived for more than 1,200 years. The natural hardiness of the ginkgo tree saw them survive the bombing of Hiroshima. A tree only one kilometre from the epicentre of the blast began to bud less than a month after the event, having suffered negligible damage.Read More