I’ve spent much of the past three weeks working feverishly on When Towns Had Teams. Yesterday, at 2:15 pm, I sent my pre-press materials via file transfer to my printer. Now, I can finally exhale, as a large weight feels like it’s been lifted from me.
Over this period of 16 to 18 hour days, it was hard to focus on much of anything not directly related to the book. Making lists, checking off items, and creating new lists of things that had to be done, occupied most of my waking hours. I’ve read very little in the newspaper, other than a cursory glance through the front page, on most days. This enforced period of work had me tunneled deeply into my project.
Occasionally, I’d allow myself a brief respite from my labor. One of the few sites I’d bother to check out was Jim Kunstler’s site. If you read my blog, you’ll know that I’ve mentioned him numerous times, of late. The reason why, is that he seems to have an ability to cut through the fog of narcissism and self-interest that envelopes American culture.
Last night, I had to return some software that I had purchased over the weekend, thinking I would need it to complete my file transfer. Happily, I didn’t need to use my $300 Adobe Acrobat, instead, finding the ScanSoft PDF-Professional adequate for my needs, at 1/3rd the price. On my way home, I stopped at a eating (and of course, drinking) establishment in Yarmouth, Grill 233. In the mood to celebrate a bit, I had dinner at the bar and enjoyed a couple of Bluepaw Wheats, courtesy of Sea Dog Brewing Company.
While sitting at the bar, I was able to catch the evening news on CBS. As someone who rarely watches mainstream news programs, I still was drawn to the screen, like a moth is to flame. Listening and watching the shallow analysis that passes for news, particularly on a story involving rising fuel prices, was maddening. When I asked the bartender if he knew much about peak oil, he got that glazed over look that I see often when I speak to people about the subject. He obviously didn’t know about it, and was looking to blame oil companies for the rise in prices. While Exxon, Mobil, Shell and others aren’t without blame, the issue is more complex than the talking head with the nice head of hair was able to articulate in his staccato soundbite pops of information.
Back to Kunstler and his recent post on the war. If you don’t know it, I’m a registered Independent. While I succumbed to some degree to the insipid “Anybody but Bush” thinking during the last presidential debacle, I recognize that both parties are leading us over the cliff with their policies that continue to enrich the wealthiest, at everyone else’s expense. Liberals are death merchants in their own ways, with their flawed thinking and morally-superior attitudes. As a matter of fact, I can’t say that I’ve met too many true liberals that I liked much better than the most rabid members of the right-wing.
Kunstler, riffing about Harry Shearer, he of Le Show fame (on NPR), hits some of the issues that I have with liberals, squarely on the head. Take for instance their opposition of the war. While there are those who deplore war in any form, for many, I think it’s about their antipathy for George Bush. If their man (Kerry, Clinton, or whoever) were occupying the West Wing, they probably wouldn’t be offering a peep of opposition.
As Kunstler writes, regarding Shearer’s recent program, where he was speaking about his opposition to the war in Iraq.
“This, of course, is the predicament of the Democrats, my own party. They have no interest in modifying the nation's suicidal suburban sprawl lifestyle either, only in the easy pretenses of political correctness. Instead of twanging on WMDs and the depravity of the war in Iraq, I'd like to hear someone like Harry Shearer (or John Kerry, or Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid) stand up and pitch for restoring the US passenger rail system. I'd like to hear some of these assholes propose some meaningful changes that Americans can make in behavior so we won't be so desperate to engage in military contests over the oil we need to drive for sushi in Los Angeles."
Despite rising gas prices, hardships and difficulties facing the poor and elderly this winter heating their homes, and the continued escalation in consumption of petroleum in places like China and India, Americans refuse to consider modifying any of their “drive everywhere we go” behavior. Even if some of us would like public transportation options, in a state like Maine, there are virtually none. I’m afraid we’re in for some difficult days ahead.
While getting the hell out of Iraq would be nice (and I’m certainly for it), I also recognize why we’re there, as does Kunstler, as well as a few others. You can’t allow destabilization of a region that controls much of the world’s oil, particularly when you need so much of it to fuel one’s multiple car trips to Wal-Mart (and Staples, in my case).
War certainly isn’t the answer, but until we find some way around having to drive everywhere we go, it will continue to be part of the equation.