Friday, October 12, 2007
I Love This Scene
I love this scene for lots of reasons, but particularly for the way it reduces Americans to self-important windbags. Unfortunately, we can very easily come across this way to the rest of the world. This is why I make a point to measure my effusiveness whenever possible, back up my arguments with fact rather than boisterous opinion, and remember to take a dose of humility. Because I'm used to being right doesn't mean I am always right. Because I have a college degree and half of another doesn't mean I am always right. I remember upon a visit to NYC I had a chat with a Romanian named Josef. His English wasn't that good, but what I do recall him saying is, with no small dose of surprise: You are American! But you are normal!
I shall be honest with you, readership. No one could ever confuse me as normal. I am the same person whom one of my dear professor friends remarked, "Ah, Mr. Camp. Strange young man, but focused." I want it on my tombstone after I pass on from this life.
Here lies Kevin Camp
Strange, but focused.
The point of this post is not to pat myself on the back. It's just to say that it's a very easy temptation for anyone who lives in the consumer paradise like we do to develop a sense of entitlement and privilege. This was a fact that was beat into my head constantly by my British friends when I was in London a few summers back. They were nice about it, never preachy, in that typically tactful, sideways, English manner but they never failed to remind me about how wasteful American culture can be. A cursory visit to the Supermarket can prove my point quite well. Look at how very much food we have. Food for every taste and every palate. An orgy of consumption. Food which has been niche-marketed for every individual taste possible. Rest assured someone is working this very minute to find another variation upon a food theme in an effort to make maximum profit. This strikes me as obscene, somehow. You can delight in it like a '50s ephemeral film, or you can ponder how it is that some in this world have so much and some have so very little.
Congratulations to Al Gore for winning the Noble Prize. Global Warming is an issue which up to this point is mired in political debate. I will be honest with you. I believe Global Warming is a real thing, but I wonder if we've not been inundated with the worst-case scenario in an effort to warn us against the growing storm. An Inconvenient Truth was criticized for portraying a Doomsday scenario of climate change. It's almost forgivable, because these days it takes a catastrophe of massive proportions to get us off our duffs. Still, the part of me which clamors for truth above all else wants the honest-to-God facts without political spin or well-meaning but paternalist clap-trap.
Global Warming and Climate Change are, at least for the moment, a study in competing ideologies, logistical studies, line graphs, hypothesis, counter-hypothesis, and dueling graphical interpretations. No one knows for sure. Instead we have educated guess versus educated guess. Though wholly insufficient, it's the best we've got right. Any time this kind of stalemate exists in the forum of public discourse, we break into us versus them teams. The issue becomes transmogrified into a political football and because none of us are sure, we have no bones about attaching emotional response, political opinion, supposition, logical fallacy, and knee-jerk reaction to it.
As it stands, Global Warming is a faith statement right now. I wish it were not. But like any good scholar, I have to entertain some sort of rational doubt upon the veracity of much of the information on the topic spilling from both camps. Much of it has been hyper-politicized for the sake of maximum impact. I shall level with you, readership. Often I do not know who to believe.
*edit. Notice how they drive their cars to heaven, instead of walking with The Grim Reaper. I just noticed that.