To keep politics out, or not?

Should a writer avoid the topical, particularly the political, given that it dates work or that politics and the topical is considered by many to be as dull as dishwater. Take TRUMP. (Please take him and put him away somewhere dark and silent.) Given that he is at the forefront of our world’s conscious, it would seem that any story set now or in our possibly reduced future, and dealing with more than the trivial or very local, could not avoid having his mucky boots walk across context. He is the rumble of impending earthquakes. He must – at least metaphorically – grumble away in the distance. Characters will operate in a world he has sullied, talk of things he has some influence over. They’ll be  hotter than they should be, live places where climate performs aberrant actions. George Orwell said that all issues (and by these he meant, I’d assume, issues that characters worry over) are political. He also said that politics is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia…

Why is Galileo here? Think about it how the politics of his day got in the road of the practise of his science. You cannot write Galileo’s story without giving voice to that fact.

Galileo

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Our economic selves; the real enemy?

A question for any reader: does the argument below [introductory paragraph] make sense to you – as proposition, obviously, not fully reasoned essay… 

 

Naomi Klein argues in her 2017 No is not enough—among other things— that the Trump presidency is ‘a naked corporate takeover’ of the democratic process; corporations are ‘doing what all top dogs do when they want something done right; they are doing it themselves.’ (And, we might add, doing unto others what they won’t do to themselves.) It follows then that if we are participants in said democratic process—and we are, even if we do not vote—then it is perhaps not a stretch to suggest that we are all complicit in the malaise of our times; the rise of the new neo-liberal populist democratic revival; a kind of folk fest for wanton exploitation of others on the altar of economic ascendancy. We have become Homo economicus [1] and this is our harvest. Our economic self has become our worst enemy.

[1] Homo economicus is the human reduced to an isolate, a competitive individual. This has occurred via a seduction regarding how we think about how to live.  In The Birth of Biopolitics, Foucault (2008, cited in Kagan, 2016) argues that our way of life has become something based on “the rules of competitive market capitalism; no longer rights, laws, ethical considerations, and kinship loyalties, but interest, investment, and competition”. In short, we have become a fundamentally economic entity; entrepreneurs of self.

 

Not a political thing; then again, maybe it is…

Speaking of things climatic should soothe us into the realms of the non political; that of course is not so. I wonder if any of Mr. Trump’s people – or the mannikin himself – is aware of NASA’s perspective on climate change; just another expert agency one can safely ignore, I guess. I know that our own PM (Monsieur Turncoat) is ostriching us into higher use of dirty coal and the pockets of mining magnates.

climate-change
Image from Bloomberg site and based on NASA data.

For me, our days now are gravid with climate change; several years of personal recording of temperature and rainfall data where I live offer alarming evidence that (at least in this little corner of the world) things are getting hotter and less pleasant. Average summer maxima and minima have risen by over 2 degrees celsius in the course of just 3 years. Rain falls less frequently but more intensely. The birds and butterflies I know appear and disappear at different times than they used to.  Yes, I hear that it may be a temporary aberration… but it surely feels like so much more, and worse.