State Of Fear by Michael Crichton
Warning: minor plot spoiler.
Attributable to worstwriter’s past, I usually think about three things when it comes to the political and economic freak show of “climate change”. Now don’t get me wrong. When I say freak show it doesn’t mean I’m against the shebang. I actually dig Greenpeace & Co. Heck, I’m all for controlling pollution and regulating industry and energy. But after all these years of bullshit, it’s no wonder that so many people fall into an abyss of cynicism and carelessness regarding what’s good and bad for the environment. And it’s also no wonder that so many have turned something important into something trivial and thereby use it as a wedge to split an already brain-drained and dumb-downed society into factions of t-shirt wearers that have the decal of the arrow pointing right or left and underneath: I’m with stupid. Which brings me to one question about climate change: So what?
Worstwriter’s interest and subsequent cynicism about the environment started early on. One of my first environmental memories is of an Indian, a single tear and a TV commercial. The American Indian was standing on a hill above what looks like Los Angeles. On his face he wears the infamous tear because of what he sees in the valley below. I suppose in America this image is endearing. But the irony of it and the shear confusion it brought to me meant that for most of my adult life I associated a crying Indian not with pollution (i.e. the ads intention) but with a disdain for white Europeans that brought both hell and havoc to North America. And then, of course, there’s the irony of it all. The actor playing the Indian is in reality an Italian-American. Hats off and deep bows to Hollywood, Eurowasteland and advertising execs!
It didn’t stop there though. In a land obsessed with symbolism, false icons, and the power of advertising, there was also Smokey Bear and his tenor motto: Only you can prevent forest fires. Yeah, right. The thing is, I actually had a lot of fun with Smokey on account he never really convinced me that a bear gave a hoot about what humans do in forests—unless they were stupid enough to search him out without bear protection. So I went ahead and played with fire and I can still remember the luscious stink of burning sulphur from every match I ever lit. And so I learned to douse my flames before they could catch on. And from the grand American falsity of false symbols, soon the bear and the Indian were the same. But it didn’t stop there. Ingenuity abounds in American, baby.
I reckon after growing up with TV commercials hounding you about the environment, taking it all with any seriousness was challenge in itself. But then, eventually, I started to potentially… become politically aware. The last and most important symbol of climate change or environmentalism (before I gave it all up) took the form of a well dressed and perfect hair-cut Senator from Tennessee: Al Gore. Is there a better example of political ambition that never quite got it right? This guy was born to be president. From day one his family dressed and curated him to do grand things in the world of American’t politics. And what does Al Gore go and do with what he was meant to be? He literally rides on the back of a political mandate that was ultimately nothing more than dead weight and presented it to an under-educated populace raised on TV, commercials and false icons. That’s right. Bears in funny hats, teary eyed American Indians from Italy and the environment. Talk about mindless ambition. I wonder what’s really inconvenient for Al Gore now?
And so. All these things got recently stirred in my head after reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. It’s not really the type of book I read but since I heard so much about it in all the other stuff I read, I thought I’d give it a go. To say the least, it’s a thriller that kept me glued to the pages. But it’s also corporate writing. That is, it’s the type of novel that I can only guess has gone through tens if not hundreds of renditions after various writers, ghost-writers and editors honed it to read just like a movie. If you like krapp like what Dan Brown writes then you’ll love this book. Yet it did get me thinking–and not only about my confused and TV influenced past. It got me thinking about the wedge that has split society and turned life into a free-for-all of winner-takes-all and the rest can play musical chairs. Know what I mean?
Crichton is without doubt on the side of the climate deniers in State of Fear. And he takes a clear stance against the rest of Hollywood that is all for politicising climate change. In fact, one of Crichton’s characters in the book is an actor/environmentalist that is both rich and free to express his opinions about what he believes to be a big problem for the planet but because his beliefs don’t agree with Crichton’s, especially the Crichton-like hero of the book, he is literally eaten by cannibals. That’s right. According to Crichton and the deniers that he represents in this book, those who prefer to adhere to science that says the earth has a problem because of all the shit humans are doing, should be eaten by cannibals. That’s it. That’s Crichton’s take on the environment–or is it climate change? Nomatter.
As far was worstwriter’s take on this mess? To me the whole discussion and debate about the “environment” is skewed on account it requires mindless consumers of American’t to actually think. It doesn’t matter if people see smoke spewing into the atmosphere when they breath air out of their SUV’s. Ice melting here or there doesn’t matter either as long as everyone can cool their beer cans and the tobacco they spit is absorbed by the ground. This whole debate should have never been politicised. Responsible leaders, in both politics and in business, should know that their egos are not the only thing at stake here. Business leaders should know that there is such a thing as externalities that they hide from balance sheets and hence they hide form us being informed about what’s really going on. Politicians should know that the dumb-downed are incapable of making rational (political) decisions and they stop feeding us propaganda. And the list of all that’s wrong–of all that’s worst goes on and on and on and on….
But I digress.
At the least, read State of Fear. And get your cannibal on.