Wednesday, July 5, 2006

it no longer takes a village

just a little something i wrote awhile back, thought it could use an audience.

It no longer takes a village. Now it takes a venture capitalist with a blog and a law firm. Now it takes some hollywood cheese and his million dollar diamond shoes sparkling on corporate network television. Now it takes Visa, Mastercard or American Express! Now it takes Big Business International bulldozing the friggin rainforests of the world to wake up a few liberal hippies to direct action in their own bioregion against the weathered old warrior that is industrialized logging in the Northwest. Now it takes denigrating fashion ads and decades of brainless video hypnotism for us to notice theres something wrong with our children. Hmmm, tTough one. Now it takes our very bodies withering away beneath the wiry fingers of cancer, AIDS (see conspiracy), or Alzheimers for us to realize that maybe we shoudnt have been living next to that power plant; maybe having all these chemical ingredients that we dont know what are isnt a good idea; maybe we should have traced our drinking water to its source; maybe something really is up with the Hanford Nuclear Reservation; maybe its not too late now.

With old enemies like these deadly sins wearing new masks, we need old warriors in masks of their own to do battle with them. From the darkness emerges a fairy tale clad in peasants robes, dirt poor Zapatista Mayan farmers armed with pitchforks and solar laptops combatting the International Monetary Fund and the Mexican Government, and inspiring a new generation of activists. Guerilla gardens begin springing up in metropolitan areas all over the world, on rooftops, in alleyways, on abandoned lots. Radical, free-thinking college professors like Ward Churchill step up to the plate (see badass) and deliver what such exhorbitant tuition costs should be paying for in the first place: quality controversy and informative debate. On a lighter note, massive global anti-capitalist uprisings are occurring more frequently and efficiently and on a greater scale. Green and Sustainable Business shoulder their way into the arena after the initial boom of socially responsible investing, more cool lawyers and business people that will chain themselves to the doors of the WTO preaching about the evils of governments who hop in bed with corporations (see Mussolinis definition of fascism) and then represent everyone in the courtroom later. We need more small, sustainable, local pirates with their radio stations and far-reaching ideas all over the world. Or secret shoplifters who watch the secret shoppers. We need Big Sister to beat the snot out of Big Brother. Where are the writers and artists who will craft for we, the people, a contemporary cultural mythology which transcends borders and ethnicities, genders and classes and unites the people on the common ground of food, water, shelter, clothing and medicine for everyone? Where are the wordsmiths to wrench back our language from the ad designers and corporate whores and corrupt politicians and media moguls and wield it like the magical weapon that it is, the magical weapon to which our country owes its roots? But we dont think of roots much these days do we?

Our communal sense of place and purpose that has held us together sustainably as indigenous peoples for eons has been increasingly eroded over the last ten thousand years by Civilization & Empire, Inc. Its gotten to the point now that barely anyone knows their neighbors, most money spent leaves town immediately on the corporation superhighway and people pacify themselves with mindless forms of entertainment instead of interacting with other living, breathing beings. Were Americans, we dont know who the hell we are or where the hell we are and this ahistorical, geographically ignorant mindset is reflected perfectly in the way we treat the places that we live in and around. It is mirrored in the boring shoebox practicality of our architecture, in our hopelessly linear urban planning, in our destruction of and open indifference to the natural world. As we grow more and more detached from ourselves and each other, the environment and all the teeming life around us that used to hold our utmost attention and respectnow suffers most.

Not just our own survival is at stake here, but the fates of all the species we havent already eradicated are in jeopardy as well. Even if we are just a microcosmic blink in the eye of the universe or some unnamed god and the mushrooms will clean up all the harm we do, shouldnt we have our act a little more together? Were supposed to be custodians of this place to pass on to our children and our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Theres supposed to be something left for them to work with.

But even the little things add up and at times overwhelm. Daily we are driven to subconscious distraction by a million blinking lights, at night we cannot see the stars to wrap our world in perspective and remind us of our miniscule size in the grand scheme of things. This contributes directly to the false inflation of our collective ego, not to mention just jamming our receivers full of junk, and drives us further away from the sustainable, communal model that we once practiced in harmony with our surroundings. This ruggedly reckless nation of individuals who can do everything alone except think for themselves is running the rest of the world into the ground selfishly and effectively.

In recent years a globalized industrial agricultural whirlwind coupled with rampant deforestation and over-consumption of fossil fuels in the stupidest way possible (burning them) has accelerated this cataclysmic process of environmental annihilation to the boiling point. We live in a radioactive chemical neon nightmare of automated ease and capitalist-industrialized (find a better way to say this) freedom built on the backs of screaming trees and bloody natives. But can we, as individuals, be blamed for our neophobic, rut-loving ways? Can we be blamed for not listening to the land? We who are bombarded by a virtually constant buzz of motors, engines, stereos, beeps, whirs, whistles, and clicks? It is no wonder we cannot stop for a few seconds and focus on our surroundings, or the silence inside our own heads, or the plight of a sister or brother. But we need to try.

Urbanites questing towards something better should look closer to home for the answers. Villages exist within our midst, we just have to define them. Seek out the local craftsmen, the local bakers, the local bookstores. We have the answers and solutions to most of our problems right here in front of us (some assembly required). It will enhance our individual quality of life and make our community more whole. It still takes a village, in fact, now its gonna take all the villages weve got to de-standardize the world. We just need to tell all the venture capitalists, hollywood cheeses and Big Business brokers. And we need to tell them loud.

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