Posted by: terrapraeta | December 9, 2009

Grumblings From the Peanut Gallery

Once the telephone starts
ringing I stop thinking
Sittin’ at the TV I’m just blinking
Go to the compuler and I’m punching
What’s this information that I’m munching
The leader and the followers
The rock star and the model
The general and the perverts
They’re poking me where it hurts (ouch!)

I I I want something from you
I I I want something from you
I I I want something from you
Knucklehead what can you do?

Iggy Pop, Knucklehead

Kunstler posted an article this week about the “knuckleheads” in power in this country. It speaks, very much I think, to the frustration, the amazement, the head-shaking exasperation many of us feel when we think about the state of the world today.

But I think he missed the bigger picture in some ways.

Everything he says is right on target. About peak oil and supposed savior finds, about the war in Afghanistan, about Climate-Gate… but, and tell me if you think otherwise, I think that we have mostly come to expect these absurdities from the people in power. I think the true head-shaking exasperation that most of us experience relates to our friends, family, neighbors and community. It’s not only the “knuckleheads” calling the shots that continue to believe themselves “…an organism so specially blessed and entitled that it is excused from paying attention to reality. “ It is the average Joe (or Josephine) on the street as well.

We truly, honestly, cannot do much of anything about the knuckleheads in Washington, on Wall Street, at Walmart corporate headquarters, etc. (An intentional slight. Raise your hands if you get it… nerds 😉 ) I gave up on them long ago. But the cats on the street… on my street and on yours… we should be able to reach them. Some days it seems like the possibility of reaching them is starting to open up, but then I find the gates slamming shut once more.

Is it fear? Is it entitlement? Is it something else? Most likely it is fear, entitlement and more, but I’m not sure that helps in finding a way to reach them.

Recently, I have gotten involved on Facebook. Not because I have any interest in “crack”book itself, but because I have gotten back in touch with some of my oldest friends. People from high school and even junior high, that once meant a whole lot to my life. Strangely, the friends from that era that I have run into over and over, I find are very much like me. Perhaps not quite as involved or aware of TEOTWAWKI, but at least concerned about the environment, animal rights, and especially living a better way in general. But these friends I have caught up with on FB, not so much. They are mostly living the “suburban dream” — or something that is a good mockery of what was once the American Dream. They buy stuff when they are unhappy, they work themselves to the bone, and they encourage others to do the same. Distressing at the least.

But the point is, these people that I once cared about very much, that I know – or knew – extremely well, have so far been completely immune to my influence. I’m not preaching at them, ever. I’m not trying to tell them they are wrong. But I do occasionally ask very pointed questions about choices they are making. Usually about stuff that would seem to be relatively unimportant (one friend bought an electric composter that composts materials within two weeks. I asked why she would need an electric composter, and she had all kinds of snappy answers for me. Even claiming that her “natural compost pile” failed to decompose after two years. Really? So that lettuce you threw away back in 2008 is still edible? It’s a miracle! Food that doesn’t rot! I gotta see this!)

So why is it, how is it, that they are so completely blind to what is going on around them every day? I know they are intelligent people. I don’t tend to spend much time with people that are not either above average intelligence, or above average compassionate, or both. (Even back then) It is not that they don’t care. It’s not that they cannot understand. So it must be that on some level, they see themselves as “…an organism so specially blessed and entitled that it is excused from paying attention to reality. “

Disturbing on so many levels I cannot begin to explain. And of course, my family is no better. But at least I can excuse my parents on some levels because they are old enough that they won’t live to see it. And they are old enough to be set in their ways. And as much as I hate it, and what it represents worldwide, I cannot quite bring myself to wish this final acceptance of the horror we have created onto these two people that will not live to see a better way. My sister is another story, but suffice it to say that she has lived her entire life in opposition to everything I am. She often believes she is just finding her own way, but cocky as it sounds, she has too consistently chosen her path to oppose mine for me to overlook. Forgivable? Not really. But we are a culture of the insane.

So deep breathe. Commune with the world that gives me that breathe. And then dive back in, looking for those ready to listen, continue to nudge those that are not ready until I get a glimmer of hope. And pray that it will be enough for the human race to survive…..



  1. Gah. I been back in touch with someone really dear to me… the love of my life once. Smart, caring. Yet completely trapped in the suburban life, working so hard he can’t keep his head straight, swamped by debts… and so he uses avoidance as a way to go on. Very rarely he admits it, but most of the time, he does not want to go there at all.

    I think it threatens his vulnerable equilibrium, to think about the real stuff. When you are on a treadmill, distraction can cost you a painful misstep and fall. I don’t give up, but my hope lies with those prepared to see, and to act.

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