I saw a fantastic quote on Facebook today, from one of my favorite authors, the recently deceased Ursula Leguin. I haven’t read all of her work, but I loved The Dispossessed, the Lathe of Heaven, and The Mote in God’s Eye. The Dispossessed was more of a political statement than a science fiction novel but LeGuin is a lefty like me, so I enjoyed it.
Anyway, it was a rather long quote so I’m not going to try and get it exact or even paraphrase, but the gist was the capitalism and maintaining a healthy ecosystem are mutually incompatible, because capitalism depends on always making more, and the environment depends on balance. There is a place for both the wolves and the mosquitoes.
It’s the kind of simple statement that once you hear it you know it’s absolutely true. Capitalism depends on always making more money. We have a large number of billionaires in the world today, and I’ll bet every one of them dreams of becoming the world’s first trillionaire. Corporations need to make a profit every quarter in order to keep their stockholders happy, and they might do that by increasing sales, but they more often do it by slashing the work force, and maybe raising prices. In any event, there are limits. If you raise prices too high, nobody will be able to buy your product at all, and if you slash your work force by too much you won’t be able to function.
There are limits. Those limits are not currently being heeded, so capitalism is bound, eventually, to fail.
Of course, properly regulated, capitalism could be a part of a sustainable world-wide system. But any such system would depend on a healthy ecosystem, and rich people don’t want to spend a damn dime on that.
I made a list of things to get done in the time of quarantine, that was about four days in, and I’ve pretty much ignored it entirely because tomorrow’s always another day and I’ve gotten lost in watching Netflix and doing Sudoku puzzles which is a total waste of time because I’m not getting any better at them. I have grown a beard so I can check that off the list but as far as serious goals go, I might as well have put ‘get a little bit fatter’ on the list because I’ve accomplished that, too.
With each day being very much like the day before, I’m finding it hard to pick a topic for my daily blog. I don’t want to write about politics every single day, and y’all can watch Netflix for yourselves. Currently, I’m watching The Crown, The Flash, Arrow, Community and How I Met Your Mother and out of those five only Community would hold my interest in normal times. It’s just a sitcom with a simple premise and a group of wacky characters, but it definitely has moments of brilliance. I recommend.
Just started watching The Crown today, and have seen the first couple of episodes. It’s interesting.
I don’t know why, really. I don’t know why I’m interested. I tell myself that it’s historical and therefore educational but, really, the British royalty is not really the shaping force in human history that they were, say, before Cromwell, or certainly not since Victoria.
And I totally sympathize with the views of the anti-royalists that they suck up far more of the country’s wealth than they need to, although I generally consider them harmless and, since most Brits seem to like them and it’s kind of a thing for the tourists, I’m not too bothered. I do pay attention to royal weddings and babies, because who doesn’t like weddings and babies?
But, I’m watching. The acting is good but the story is really nothing. Insanely rich and powerful people live their lives, and give a lot of speeches. They shoot ducks, travel around the world, and are very conscious of what they’re wearing. Philip is kind of a dick, but we all knew that, and maybe Margaret was a bit of a slut, but we all knew that, too. Mostly people just stand there and look very dramatic.
The most interesting part to me is the intrigue between Churchill and Anthony Eden. Churchill is played by John Lithgow, which seems like a bit of a strange choice to me, both because he’s usually in comedies and because he’s an American. They couldn’t find a British actor to play Churchill?
Not complaining too much. I like John Lithgow.
A couple of days ago I was arguing with some vbnmw people, as I frequently do, and one made a comment about how people just obviously like Biden’s positions better. So, I asked them to name one of Biden’s positions they thought people liked better. Actually, just to name one of Biden’s positions.
That was, essentially, the end of the thread. They didn’t even try to rise to the challenge. Because they couldn’t. Nobody can.
Biden has failed to clearly present any position, except maybe “we’re coming for your guns” which was basically a show.
If you believe in Universal Health Care, that’s Bernie’s issue. As we can see clearly now, in this time of quarantine, that’s a pretty important issue. Biden, of course, has promised to veto it.
The environment? Totally Bernie’s issue.
Legalization of marijuana? Joe’s against it.
So, from now on, that’s my go to argument against these people. Name an issue. One. damn. issue.
Well, just participated in – I wanted to say ‘attended’ but that implies physical presence – my first international zoom poetry reading. It was interesting but, barring any great advances in technology, I don’t expect it to survive past the quarantine era as a major poetic venue.
It was interesting, though. I expected it to be the usual Prague gang, but we had people chiming in from Morocco and Iceland and I’m pretty sure one woman was signing in from England although I’m not sure if she ever specifically said that.
Also, there seemed to be a majority of female poets, which does not tend to be the case when we meet in physical space. Perhaps it was a fluke or perhaps many of them are not as fond of dark, smoky basements as I’d thought.
Anyway, back to that line in paragraph one, ‘barring any great advances in technology’ which I realized as soon as I wrote it meant the opposite of what I was saying, but it was right and I was wrong, and you have to listen to the voices inside your head.
Of course there will be great advances in technology. In future, events like this will take place on a 3D holographic beach, and we’ll all have connectors in our brains so nobody will even read poems they’ll just think them.
Just as sure as everything changes with technology, everything is going to continue to change with technology.
The Czech Republic has 39 deaths so far, and most people rate the government’s response as adequate. Even our totally crooked,
Bloomberg-esque Prime Minister has gained a little bit of respect. 39 deaths is a high number in a country this size, but the stores are stocked, the hospitals have, so far, not been completely overwhelmed.
The U.S., as I understand from what I see in the news (which must always be taken with a grain of salt) and also what I hear chattering about on social media (which also needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but I trust far more than major media – people babbling irrationally about what’s happened to them, vs. rich people with an agenda telling you the story they want you to believe) is far worse.
There is, of course, a 3rd way to gain information and insight, and that is scientific insight. For the sake of this blog, I am counting statistical analysis as scientific.
One thing that’s happening in the U.S. is that some churches are declaring themselves exempt from the quarantine, and continuing to hold services, with large numbers of people present. A lot of health experts are telling them they shouldn’t do that.
I see a silver lining.
Once this is all over, we’ll need some way to judge the effectiveness of the quarantine, to see if this self-imposed incarceration (which I’m not breaking and not suggesting anyone else break) was effective, was worth it.
Church goers are the test group. They are volunteering for it, nothing anybody else can do.
I was working on my next book of poetry today, called “Every Day’s a Butterfly” today. It should be ready in the next 3 or 4 days to publish (it’s on-line publishing, so it’s not that hard). By and large, I’m satisfied with the material.
But I did notice one whopping mistake. As I reread one poem, it seemed to me that the ending was inconclusive, and the ending of a poem is the most important part. It’s much more than the frosting on the cake. It’s the apples in the strudel. So, I was mulling over that when I started to proofread the next poem. Aha! Apparently what happened is the poem had spilled over onto the next page, I had misread the dangling last stanza as a separate poem and given it a title, and so I had to recombine them which makes the poem, and the book, one page shorter.
Maybe I’ll try to write one more poem. Maybe I’ll live with it.