Tuesday, September 1, 2015

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

[It might be Labour Day but, it's not.]

So. ... What shall we pray for then?

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Précis:   (for busy executives with no time to spare)
Wiley Miller: Piranhas.

Our friend Jorge/Francis calls for a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and it's today, September 1st. Of course there's no guidance or amplification of any kind from 'the Church', no event to attend, no organization provided by the high-priced organizational help. Fuck 'em! What else can one say? And, since the call was heard (after all) carry on in the dark.

I'm definitely not the praying kinda guy anymore so I hope y'unnerstan' this'll be nowt but fat fond rhetoric, subjunctive, uma ficção - pretend but true in its way, the best I can provide. Carrying on from the Pleiades last time, and the much too complicated virtues of Aristotle's 'Nichomachean Ethics', and so instead taking a cue symmetry-wise from the simple seven deadlies, and the 3+4=7 virtues, I'll put seven of 'em - seven bites of (partly) bitter blather:

1. May what remains be strengthened:

Naomi Oreskes: These boots are made for walkin'.What follows is more of the hysteria mentioned in the last post.

So, for balance, here's Naomi Oreskes; because she's a cool head and from her expression I'd say she's hummin' that old Nancy Sinatra fave-O-rite - with a strong message for the Koch brothers:

"One'a these days these boots are gonna, walk all over you!

Attac press: Crime Climatique Stop !'Crime climatique stop !' (not 'Stop Climate Crimes' as indicated in the article) will start shipping tomorrow - orders can be made here.

On August 26th The Guardian produces this article. It is not at all clear what it might be about. McKibben's website at 350.org sheds no light.

They are all such wonderful communicators.

The prayer here (if it were a prayer) would be for competent heads to prevail (or for The Guardian to do something rudimentary in the way of proof readers). There is little enough time left without stupidly wasting it on confused misinformation.

I am no fan of Kalle Lasn either but his recent presentation concludes with "Only an angry tide of out-of-control youth can bring the world to its senses."

I agree. And more, I think the activist heavy-hitters are wasting their time in Paris when they could be at home raising an army.

2. May the global economy falter & collapse:
Ben Jennings: Riding a Chinese dragon.
Brian Gable: Goldilocks & the bear thing.Chris MacKenzie: Dirty Money.
For a few days it was billed as a 'crash', which moderated (unfortunately) into a 'crisis' and thence to a slump and a blip. Oh well.

A 'sober look' by the New York Times Editorial Board (no less) concludes that it was a market swoon, a 'mild correction' of 6.6% lost. As is most obvious in another recent editorial, these people are vitally hooked on the crack cocaine of growth (that is, fatally addicted in their inmost vitals, willing to give blow-job nonsense lip service for it) and terrified at any prospect of life without it. (They're doomed.)

Gwynne Dyer (a somewhat less venal fellow) gives us hope that the main event won't be too long coming; especially if there's any truth in the NYT stories of Chinese Zombie Factories.
Marian Kamensky: Market Crash in China.
B. Rich: China in a Bull shop.

3. May Ottawa and all who live (and 'work' ) there . . .
Gas burning in Ottawa.
No, I'm not perverse enough to pray for sedition. BUT. If Ottawa were burning I would stop pissing on it.

Hull too for that matter.

Angel Boligán Corbo: Bureaucracy.This poor fellow, Tony Turner, the Environment Canada migratory bird scientist, who got the shaft when he sang his little ditty 'Harperman' on the Internet (you can watch & listen to it here) may very well be better off out of it and away.

This headline says it all: Canadian families spend more on taxes than food & shelter, reporting on a study by the Fraser Institute. (And here we thought everything coming out of the Fraser Institute was Conservative spin.)

Stephen Harper is the leader of the band and every party (including the Green) is playing his tune and dancing to it, and all of the party-leaders as well EXCEPT ELIZABETH MAY (!).

I tell you what: When she walks into a room I stand up and applaud (and without looking around first to see what everyone else is doing). If we could make her Prime Minister we might just get out of this with a civilization more-or-less intact.

Now there's a prayer for you.

Bruce MacKinnon: The Wizard of Oz.
Brian Gable: Two Solitudes revisited.Joep Bertrams (edited for k-k-Canada with apologies to the artist): De grote mars / The long march.

4. May all the dilettantes & dissemblers
spontaneously deconstruct:
Alan Rusbridger.
You may wonder that I number Alan Rusbridger among the dilettantes. Perhaps he's really dying of some horrible disease and wants to spend his last months on a Brasilian beach with his family, and if so I apologize (he could even have said so). But I don't think that's it. I think he stepped into his final Guardian 'project' and then stepped out of it again like Leonard Cohen's "five year old scientist" who simply "leaves the room where he has dissected an alarm clock".

There are so many. Madame Defarge might quickly change their hearts with the threat of a guillotine ... but there is none such here at the moment (though there will be - or the equivalent - in decades to come); all we have is a reminder of Jorge/Francis' call for conversion in Laudato Si' which itself might easily be mistaken as code for some arcane religious ritual - baptism, or, confirmation, or something like that, circumcision, infibulation.

The necessary conversion is nothing so mundane.

Amber Rudd.Amber Rudd.Ann Pickard, Shell.Ann Pickard, Shell.Ann Pickard, Shell.Ben van Beurden, Shell.Ben van Beurden, Shell.
Fred Singer, climate contrarian.Lord Browne, Sun King.Louise Metivier, Environment Canada flunky.Louise Metivier, Environment Canada flunky.Louise Metivier, Environment Canada flunky.Sepp Blatter.Sepp Blatter.
Watch and listen to this short video by Ann Pickard and Shell's high-priced PR help at McKinsey & Company. A large, clever, admirable woman making a complete slag of herself.

Even with such competition (and it is fierce what with climate hypocrite of the decade - Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama up in Alaska, and those bum-buddies Tony Abbott & Bjørn Lomborg) the lowest-hanging fruit of all is still ... our very own k-k-k Stephen Harper:
Before You Approach A Harper Supporter ...The only good Tory is a supposiTory.You lying pieces of shit.Billy Debeck: Barney Google.Stephen Harper as Barney Google.
This may seem crude, scatological, sophomoric even, and ... possibly so, but it is also par for every hole on this particular course. (Thanks to Gord.)

The maggots!   God damn them all!

We were told we'd cruise the seas for American gold,
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears!
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett's privateers.

God save us all!
(It's the same.)

5. Up the Laudato Si' !   Praise Be:

(At least) two spiritual events following on in August; widening ripples:

The International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, August 17-18 in Istanbul, Turkey; which issued an Islamic Declaration on Climate Change.
International Islamic Climate Change Symposium participants.
Good on 'em!
A-and after such a long wait, after the good example of the World Council of Churches more than a year ago and many good examples among their congregations, particularly Trinity Saint Paul's here in Toronto (also more than a year ago): United Church to divest from fossil fuels (better late than never).

Of course, any UCC resolution must be carefully qualified. First consider the foil resolution (the culmination of a series actually, all so extremely well considered and thought out with the assistance of that eminent moral philosopher Sid Ryan, spreading over the annual meetings in the last decade or so) to 'resolve the mideast problem'. And then ... well, you know, for Christmas one year the UCC got one of those junior-coin-collector books, the blue ones with a place for every penny, a slot (pardon the pun, entirely unintentional) as it were. Oh sure, I'm a bigot for mentioning it, but, well, you know, there does seem to be a pattern.

You can always tell a politician, he or she is the one riding on someone else's coat-tails.

We might pray then (if we were inclined to pray) for any scrap of momentum to help Laudato Si' avoid the black hole of Vatican/Roman Catholic inertia. The point is not that Roman Catholicism, or Islam, or some k-k-Canadian Protestant cult, is worthy of anything beyond contempt (they are emphatically not); it is that the common project of stopping carbon emissions IS worthy of any and every support.

6. May Davi Kopenawa live forever:

Davi Kopenawa (a Yanomami shaman): Quando a Amazônia sucumbir à devastação desenfreada e o último xamã morrer, o céu cairá sobre todos e será o fim do mundo. / When Amazonia succumbs to out-of-control devastation and the last shaman dies, the sky will fall around us and it will be the end of the world. Shades of Ragnarok.

Davi Kopenawa.Davi Kopenawa & friends.Davi Kopenawa.

(Because as long as he's alive there's at least one xamã still on the go and his prophecy won't kick in.)

7. May Dora Salvador be remembered and honoured:
Maria das Dores dos Santos Salvador.Maria das Dores dos Santos Salvador.
Ai! Ai! Ai! 

Ballard Street: He is confronted by a shaky resolve.It's worth a few minutes' meditation (perhaps), idle contemplation, cursory reflection, on the seven serious sins:
        Wrath (not anger per se), Sloth, Pride,
        Envy, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust;

and the seven (non-corresponding) virtues:
        three theological:
                Faith, Hope, and Love;
        and four cardinal:
                Prudence/Wisdom, Justice,
                Temperance, and Courage/Strength.

As another brief exercise try looking up 'cardinal' in the OED and see if you can marry the etymology - 'hinge' - with the four main points of a compass. (I can't.)

The cardinal virtues first came to me many years ago through E.F. Schumacher's 'Small is Beautiful' where they figure in the concluding chapter. He was a coal miner's economist remember; and Stephen Harper is an oil driller's economist.

Who can say what changes await our Stevie?

Caveat Lector:   The first line of this post, "Our friend Jorge/Francis calls for ..." started out to be "Our friend Jorge/Patrick ..." and it stayed that way until just a few moments before I hit the 'Publish' button. I read it many times during the preparation and thought, "Ah, how nice to have an Irish connection besides wazizname? ... the CUPE guy? ... Sid Ryan!"

I was also convinced that September 1st was Labour Day; didn't know it's a moveable feast and would not have twigged except the library posted a notice on the door that it'll be closed on the 7th for Labour Day and eventually I looked it up in Wikipedia.

And I've not read 'The Nichomachean Ethics' although I knew a guy at McGill who did and he told me about it.

I know you're not listening. It's OK.

My father was a bourgeois man, but not quite entirely all the way through. He rarely swore or raised his voice but once or twice I heard him chuckle, "They wouldn't say 'shit' if their mouth was full of it." I think what saved him included a rural upbringing that extended into his late 20s.

Even among my (very very few) old and intimate bourgeois friends, and my entire family of course, I have seen this propensity towards any euphemism, even outright falsehood or ... silence before mooting truth (and I mean lowercase 't' truth here) ... I have seen this propensity in practice as the almost seamless general rule. For the record I am just about exactly the same, certainly no better; except I've also lived for longish periods in places far from any city - cities being where the moribund bourgeois sensibility flourishes - and known some pipefitters, fishermen, unrepentant alcoholics, hermits, and beijos da rua who have not let me get away with it.

(Part and parcel of preferring Christ to Socrates. It's so complicated sorting out types and antitypes eh?)

I am waiting for a book to arrive for me at the library - 'Don't even think about it: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change' by George Marshall, 2014 - hoping it'll shed some light on this issue. Probably not. Maybe ...

Frank Lloyd Wright.Guggenheim Museum.

The Cicadas are still singin'. It seems wrong somehow - too late in the year - but I don't know enough about 'em to be sure; and there's something plaintive in their song, wistful. In Icaraí it was a loud imperative chorous impossible to ignore; here it's one and a pause of minutes and then, maybe again or, another or, not.
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