I admit it ... I'm addicted. But not to opioids, synthetic or otherwise. I'm not more fiend, nor a wild fenfen, I don't stick pins in my trauma doll or smack my heroine. No, what I'm addicted to is crosswords puzzles. But buying a Crossword puzzle book somehow takes the fun out of it, so I rely on our local rag's, The San Francisco Examiner, reprints of the best: The New York Times puzzle, edited by Will Shortz, with credit given to the actual creators of the puzzles via tiny print beneath the grid (Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shortz edits ALL the puzzles, whereas the creators change daily and are the actual, ya know, Creators of the puzzles ... but such is power: it knows nothing of fairness or justice which must be imposed by a higher power).
And sometimes, even in something as inconsequential as a crossword, you uncover that which they most try to avoid: controversy. Or perhaps I make it up myself. But since a crossword puzzle is at its heart, a study of language, syntax, punctuation and grammar, it often can be illuminating as to how the meaning of certain phrases can, with a mere shift in emphasis, be completely changed, enabling you to perceive how malleable language really is. I believe there is currently a movie in general release called, You Get Me, a title that, taken as it is meant to be taken, means that you understand what drives me, but if, should you pronounce it, You get ME, instead of, You GET me, changes "you" from the the protagonist to the booby prize.
The clue that got me in the puzzle I'm referring to was, "Stop wasting energy, say". The correct answer to which was, "Go Green".
Even in a crossword puzzle, can anyone actually say that with a straight face?
Can it be possible - even conceivable - that they have confused us with that gang of backward children they've been playing tricks on - that they have the same contempt for us that they have for them?
In the past decade I have lived in books, immersed myself in online essays and blogs, existing on data and compilations of statistics on energy resources as a Trappist monk lives in his faith. I have no other world, no other life. So I’m nobody’s fool in regards to energy usage – least of all Will Shortz'.
So when I read even a line of, not just nonsense, but deliberately repeated snippets of propaganda regurgitated as grist for the crossword mill, my hackles are raised, my sense of Truth insulted, my enjoyment of a treasured pastime sullied by the use of a crossword puzzle as a device for gladdening the heart with what is palpably, even tragically, not true.
|Only the rich Nations' citizens can afford motorized personal transport.|
The first so-called Green Revolution was the answer to Malthusians. Using the new miracle of fossil-fueled agriculture to mechanize both the planting and harvesting processes, and supply nitrogen fertilizer, it stripped the prairies of their stabilizing topsoil and plant growth and thereby created the Dustbowl. To bring about their Green Revolution, they used so much DDT and other poisons on crops that it required a Silent Spring to snap down on its rampant use and careless application; it created, and to this day continues to enlarge, various dead zones in the oceans with the runoff of those expensively derived fertilizers into waters once rich with life, but soon enough emptied of any vestige of it but a rank growth of slime and muck; it destroyed agricultural regimes that fed populations for centuries, replacing them with unsustainable practices that more resembled a methamphetamine high than any sane activity ventured into for the purpose of improving man's lot.
But it fed a lot more people with a lot fewer of them needed to produce the bounty of fossil-fueled growth of grains that fed not only the humans, but stuffed their many animals. Pasteurland that once were fed and nourished by animals' urine and manure were plowed under and planted with grain to more efficiently feed and herd them, again, without the messy necessity of humans to pay. Agriculture was thus transformed to suit the needs of the machines, the living beings, for whom the entire enterprise was originally engineered to feed, completely left out of the equation except as consumers.
The second time the misnomer of a Green Revolution was invoked was more recent. It came to the fore during GW Bush's first term, when the concept of corn-based Ethanol was being sold to a gullible public as a means of making America "Energy Independent" (A lie right from the start: Energy Independence was not only not its intention, it never had a glimmer of possibility of being achievable). But to the science-addled Left, none of that mattered, what was important was that the young could easily be persuaded of the "rightness" (the left is besotted by the need to be in the right) of the drive toward energy independence from foreign sources of oil, itself a goal of dubious value, and one completely at odds with the same population's enthusiastic embrace of globalization.
This resulted in even more prairie being plowed under to grow unneeded grain to power SUV's. Because, at the same time as the "green" solution was being touted, the real reason behind it, the doubling in the tonnage that the average drivers were dimwittedly dragging around with them occurred, such that its weight burgeoned to more than three tons. Whose zooming who when you have to haul three tons of glass and metal around with you to pick up an 85 pound child from school, never mind a quart of milk from the grocery store?
To accomplish this Green revolution, a coal-fired power plant, needed to process all that grain into ethanol, was constructed and put on line for every single week of the Bush Presidency - from 2000 to 2008. A growth rate that saw the number of coal-fired plants increase by fully a third, from barely a thousand to more than 1450. Blowing mountaintops off Appalachian peaks, sloughing off slag and mounding it in heaps on the sides of rivers that eventually collapsed into them, digging mines so fast and furious they didn't bother much about safety, resulting in collapsing mines with miners trapped inside, as King Coal was crowned anew; its demand driven by the very Green revolution that pretended it was, well, green. Guess that's why it's called a revolution: what goes 'round comes 'round.
Soon enough Brazil adopted the green solution and started burning up their rainforests to plant sugarcane to propel their own growing thirst for hydrocarbon-fueled transport, followed by Indonesia, where even more rainforests, the lungs of the planet, went up in smoke, pumping CO2 into an atmosphere already besotted with it from industrial activities, to grow palm trees to fuel Germany's and the EU 's "Green" fuel of Biodiesel that poisons urban atmospheres so much with micro-particulates, that VW, and many of the other darlings of the European hi-priced automobile manufactory, devised means by which they could fool governments into sanctioning these Multinational Corporations' deployment of weapons of mass destruction in all their cities, enabling them to reap in profits while choking their citizens on diesel fumes (thank god it was "Green"!) and carcinogens. Yet you will hear nothing about how ironic it is that the company Adolf Hitler championed, and named after the Volk, is busily gassing innocent civilians, only this time selling them their own little portable gas chambers, with the added insult of charging them for both the gas chamber and the poison gas. Hey, who cares? It creates jobs. Heil Hitler!
And now yet again we're being raked over the coals we ourselves set on fire by the belief that "Going Green" means we stop wasting energy, when exactly the opposite has been proven to be true time and time again; a fact you can prove to yourself by examining your own attitude toward so-called green energy: it's free, right? Carbon neutral. Who has to worry about energy consumption when it's green energy generated with the use of "Clean" fuels? An appellation the cognoscenti know is ridiculous when applied to coal, but unquestioningly swallow whole when it refers to solar or wind.
But, battery and other forms of energy storage aside, for every wind-powered plant built there is a fossil-fueled plant necessary to power it when the wind isn't blowing or the sun don't shine, and the amount of energy consumed therefore becomes of tantamount importance. And this, actual energy consumption, despite all the hurrahs in regards to the increased output of green energy, has risen at a faster clip than the growth in renewable energy. So that, as it is thus far turning out, the more renewable energy produced, the faster fossil fuels are consumed. This is counter-intuitive at first, until one considers that there has been no push to conserve, no drive to use less energy, and even as every last dollar is leveraged to the hilt, the leveraging of energy use, such that the more energy an economy consumes, the greater its economic output, is plummeting. That's the reason, btw that the social planning of the OECD countries is falling into a black hole: the growth in the use of energy has become completely unmoored from economic productivity as it is burned more and more to power Game consoles, wall-sized TV's, refrigerators the size of closets, and everything Internet, which means tons of AC, the most energy-intensive user of electricity. Enormous amounts of fuel set aflame to cool down electronic switches and transistorized server farms. And one of the reasons for that escalating consumption is the very real misunderstanding, and consciously propagated fallacy, that Going Green means you stop wasting energy. But you don't. The belief that you have Gone Green has the exact opposite effect: it convinces people who should know better that they have the license to waste energy, because they've been led to believe, and want to believe, that it is no longer harmful to do so.
That sentence from earlier in this essay, when I asked if they are confusing us with those backward children they play dirty tricks on? That's from All About Eve. At the beginning of the movie, Eve asks Gary Merrill's character, as he's leaving to shoot a movie in Hollywood, if he isn't going to miss the theater. "The Theater", he exclaims sarcastically, and goes on to deliver a diatribe against the reverence with which New Yorkers hold "The Theater", at the end of which Eve meekly remonstrates, "I only asked a simple question".
I feel something of the same could be said about this reaction to a simple crossword clue, or, more to the point, the answer to that clue. Big deal, right? But that's how propaganda works. By subtly suggesting that something is simply accepted knowledge, and if you think otherwise, you're just politically incorrect, or simply too dense. But this wasn't in a mere puzzle book. It was in the pages of the NYT, and edited, with top billing, by Will Shortz, the most famous name in crosswords ever. Both the publication and its editors, whether of the op-ed pages or its crosswords, should be held to a higher standard than a random fifty cent puzzle book. We are currently, though few seem to realize it, in the midst of a Corporate crime wave the likes of which have never been seen. VW is just the one that got caught. The Madoff in the coal mine. The most famous example, although the public largely remains ignorant of the enormity of their crime, of the Enronification of entire economies that globalization represents.
But we are fighting for our lives here, and we neither need nor appreciate the NYT spilling what our illustrious president would bellow as Fake News across its pages, even if that lie happens to be buried in a grid and needs to be teased out by solving the puzzle in which it's encased. The Corporate malfeasance that VW gave us a rare glimpse into also had to be teased out and solved by subterfuge before the Bosses found out and had the investigators stopped ... by whatever means necessary. Things are buried for a purpose, and that purpose is rarely either aesthetic or accidental. And it seemed to me that allowing this purposely-construed misrepresentation to go unchallenged contributes to the poisonous atmosphere spreading through the body politic in much the same sinister way that gangrene seeps into the bloodstream from a festering wound that's simply ignored, and the result f that poisoning are already manifesting themselves while we continue to pretend that Capitalism, the engine that is pumping the poison into our bloodstream, will somehow (nobody even pretends to know quite how) provide the antidote.
But Capitalism is often described, even by its most ardent avatars, as economic Warfare.
And War, like the fires ravaging California, lives only for itself.