Sunday, March 29, 2009

Whakairo te whenua

I recall a cover piece to a New Zealand atlas, ‘Whakairo te whenua”, sculpting the land. We do not live as animals, relying on evolution to fit us to our niche [okay, I’m not a strict evolutionist, having been persuasively persuaded by Lewontin and Levins and their The Dialectical Biologist (with Richard Levins). We attempt, for better or for worse, to make our lives easier, to give us more time to sit and play with the kids, enjoy a Three Boys IPA, reread Gravity’s Rainbow, or whatever.

"You are sitting in the deconstruction of the American Dream," he says, indicating Baltimore. "Which is to say there was a fundamental myth that if you were willing to work hard, support your family, stay away from shit that ain't good for you, you'd do all right. You didn't have to be the smartest guy in the room. The dream wasn't that everyone could get rich. It was that everyone gets to make a living and see the game on Saturday, and maybe, with the help of a government loan or two, your kid'll go to college."

His anger is wide-reaching: deprivation in Baltimore, imaginary WMDs in Iraq and Wall Street scandals are all part of the same betrayal - of capitalist institutions "selling people shit and calling it gold".

Never again...?

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Simon Lambert

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