21 September 2014

It's the End of the World as We Know It: I Think I Thought You Were Someone Else

Should we talk about the weather?
Should we talk about the government?
-- R.E.M., "Pop Song 89," GREEN

I am a child of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. It sounds like the call sign for junk, pop radio, doesn't it? In truth, I am, as is everyone of my generation, and the generation before us, and that generation before them, a child--a "product"--of the 19th century. We are all Victorians. We are the new Victorians--"the 'other' Victorians"--as Foucault so memorably described himself, us, and you. 

If you are younger than I am, you, too, perhaps feel unmoored from the 19th century, perhaps do not even know what it is, what that means. I assure you, the only thing that divides me from you is this understanding: We are still living in the 19th century. And we live very much in the 19th century A.D.--"of our Lord," Jesus Christ, though not in any sense he--or even He--would recognize as living during such a time. "We" are "living" it "up"; but we are not living. Friends, we are at the end of days. And it isn't the one indicated to us in Scripture, in the inscription, of The Word--an "in scripture," an inscription, a script, which, as its name clearly indicates, is a writing, a quotation, because all writing is a quotation of something and thus a something subject to misquotation, mistranslation, emendation, animus, amendment, redaction, addition, subtraction. 

No, in fact, the coming apocalypse arrives, at what may be the actual end of the industrial, 19th century, by way of "Science," which is--the public discourse of which is--only another indispensable invention of the 19th century. We are living at the End of Times, during which the agricultural year of dependable, repeating cycles is overtaken by and dissolved into high-speed and the overproduced, entertainment version of high-speed called instant gratification. As the early, seasonal manifestation we are coming to know so well, perhaps even, perversely, getting used to, illustrates; yes, the awkward disturbance in, and disruption of, the seasons, which used to number four, makes so clear--the times of Autumn and Spring are subsumed by Winter and Summer, which then start turning into each other in alternation. Your latest evidence is the Winter of 2014, with snow and freezing temperatures interspersed with 50 degree days, and a Summer in Ohio, traditionally a time of luxuriant, overwhelming humidity and heat, reduced to a bizarre string of 50 degree days and nights during the high summer of July and August, followed by a September heat wave in New York coinciding, exactly, with snow in the Midwest.

Seasonal time is out-of-joint; time is out of joint. And this is just one of the many gifts of the 19th century and its passion for unregulated industry, which has returned to us in the 21st century, a time we live in in name only.


#peoplesclimate, #peoplesclimatemarch, #climatechange, #globalwarming

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