When it rains it pours… yet again I am too busy for proper posts. I should be grateful at least that I’ve got so much on my plate at the moment – certainly many a freelancer would trade regular work for ample blog time with me… Anyhoo here are some more fun/weird/scary shorties.
1. Last month I wrote extensively about the Climate Camp on this blog, as well as in a piece for the Toronto Star. I’m not sure if my enthusiasm for creative dissent came across clearly enough, so I’m going to make sure it does here right now: I absolutely love protesters. I adore and respect them, and I wish I had more time to join them right now. Even if you disagree with what they stand for, you have to admire their courage. And you have to agree that society needs them. We can’t all be suit-wearing sheep.
What I love most of all however is when they are funny. What better way to stick it to the man than to make us laugh? Remind us all how utterly messed up our world is with a bit of comedy? Laughter is, as they say, the best medicine, both for a sick person and a sick society.
Check out what these protestors at the APEC meeting in Australia pulled off – it’s just pure genius.
First they manage to drive into the high-security area with just a fake motorcade bearing Canadian flags and – seriously – “insecurity” passes. Brilliant! Then some other dissenters across town bear this message for Bush: “BUMS NOT BOMBS.”
2. I’ve written quite a bit before about the possibility that the polar ice caps could melt much, much faster than anybody thought possible.
Now new data says that the Greenland ice sheet is melting so fast that it’s actually triggering earthquakes. (Not that the earthquakes are particularly dangerous, it’s just an indication of just how fast the ice is melting.) Great. As I described in my piece in The Globe and Mail, scientists really don’t know just how quickly the ice caps will melt. But I for one am seriously afraid that it’s going to happen really, really fast – and I’m becoming more and more afraid every week.
3. I don’t have a television here in the UK, and I’m not very familiar with what’s on, apart from what I read about in the paper. What I know of Channel 4 is just that they are responsible for a documentary that is – frankly – not worthy of mention. So I don’t give them much credence.
I did however just read a great piece in the Independent about a new doc that they are going to air that – frankly – I’d love to see. They’ve take the anthropological convention of sending white people to isolated cultures, and instead took five men from the South Pacific island of Vanuatu (considered the happiest culture on Earth) and plopped them in England to see what they thought.
As you can imagine, the men – from a culture without electricity, the combustion engine or the insane tyranny of Nine To Five – are pretty shocked by many aspects of English life that – frankly – we should all be shocked by.
In the Norfolk countryside, they were deeply upset by the practice of artificially inseminating pigs (“a crazy thing … undignified … goes against nature”)… In Manchester they were staggered by the phenomenon of homelessness (in Tanna, your family provides a home, come what may)… They are staggered at the amount of time Britons spend cleaning and washing up, which is regarded as a waste of time and effort… [And] in one of the most instructive episodes of the show, they spent half an hour on London Bridge during rush hour, attempting to film pedestrians and engage commuters in a conversation, with predictably unsuccessful results. This they thought was “crazy”. A rejection of the most important things in life, which they believe to be: “love, happiness, peace and respect”.
The whole idea of “the noble savage” – the idea that humans in hunter/gatherer cultures are inherently happier and more peaceful – is, admittedly, considered debunk nowadays. But I for one am still attached to the idea. Either way, you can’t deny that there are certainly a lot of aspects to our modern lives that are seriously messed up, and we certainly won’t be able to see most of them unless through the eyes of men like these.
4. I love the idea of White Nights: all-night urban festivals, where the subways, museums and restaurants all remain open all night. I’m a bit of an insomniac, so I personally would love the freedom to do all my stuff at two in the morning, when my brain often feels most active.
On a more philosophical level, though: why can’t we stay up all night? So many people are more comfortable operating at night, I’ve always thought it quite silly that modern society expects everybody to work from Nine to Five, as though we were all built the same way.
Les nuits blanches started in Paris, spread to Rome and St Petersburg, and even my hometown of Toronto does them. Rock on. I hope they spread to London – but I sure ain’t holding my breath, the tubes aren’t even open past midnight in this town.
Right, that’s all from me for now. I’m so tired from so many deadlines I think I’m actually going to fall asleep before 1am tonight… how novel.