Some Things to Read
Good things from the past few days:
- My Luddite Summer
At the lake, the kids were the first to trumpet the news: there was now good cell service. Still, I kept the phone off. At night, thunder rumbled through the mountains, the wind galloped across the lake, pines creaked.
Staged our own health care debate. All agreed: our parents probably would not be alive without Medicare, that socialized government program. We hit a few rhetorical dead ends. Without Google, realized that memory is selective and colorful, but unreliable.
- Virginia (a must-read)
There's something about our country in there, something bone-deep, harking back to the Originals. Something about mini-mansions and hamburgers on demand, something about standardized eateries with playgrounds, music when you want it, cars built on military technology. And then this--video gamers shit-talking each other across the broad American expanse, with no concern of what race. One wonders whether the Civil Rights pioneers defeated white supremacy, or if technology did it for them. One wonders whether white supremacy is in the process of cutting its losses and then getting bigger. We have mastered the land for all, and one senses that the Dream is now so powerful, so potent, so technological innovative that it can be extended to the very people it was built upon--hence Baldwin's integration into the burning house.
- Green Like Me: What's Wrong with Eco-Stunts
If wiping were the issue, this would be a reasonable place to end. But, sadly—or perhaps happily—it isn’t. The real work of “saving the world” goes way beyond the sorts of action that “No Impact Man” is all about.
What’s required is perhaps a sequel. In one chapter, Beavan could take the elevator to visit other families in his apartment building. He could talk to them about how they all need to work together to install a more efficient heating system. In another, he could ride the subway to Penn Station and then get on a train to Albany. Once there, he could lobby state lawmakers for better mass transit. In a third chapter, Beavan could devote his blog to pushing for a carbon tax. Here’s a possible title for the book: “Impact Man.”