Saturday, October 08, 2005

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Don't Feel Fine)

"The world's gone mad!"
Citizeness Sane, on many occasions
Is it me, or does the whole world seem to be imploding? I'm usually quite rational when it comes to the craziness that passes for everyday existence on this troubled planet, such that when Ms Sane does utter the above statement (which is often), I usually retort that the world is probably no more troubled, chaotic and dangerous than it has ever been: it just feels that way because we're getting older, and every passing year heaps another deluge of trauma and tragedy on us all. Plus, there are now myriad ways for the news to reach and impact us in some way. You'd have to be a hermit lacking all five senses to avoid the media in this day and age. It seems like every week there's a new method to drive home the message to us all: the planet is fucked and we're all going to die.

And it's becoming increasingly difficult to think otherwise.

Just look at this year alone. It started with 200,000 people dead from the tsunami. Later we all saw hurricanes Katrina and Rita cause devastation in the US. Last night we watched harrowing footage of Malawi, where up to five million people are on the brink of starvation and one in seven of the population has HIV/AIDS. In the more general region twelve million people could die of hunger this winter. Then this morning we woke up to the news that another earthquake has hit South East Asia overnight, with the death count 1,000 and rising. Oh, and Asian bird flu has reached Europe. In other news, Iraq continues to teeter on the edge of utter chaos, London has been bombed by bearded fantasists twice and something very similar is feared in New York. Meanwhile, the ice caps are melting, Iran may soon be a nuclear power, Chelsea look unstoppable and Ronnie Barker is dead. Oh, and it is alleged that the most powerful man in the world believes that God advises him directly. Personally, I don't think we should trust the source of this revelation wholeheartedly. But it still wouldn't surprise me if it was true.

So, anyone heard any good news lately?


dw said...

Hey CS, I have a wonderful friend. She is so upbeat I have wondered if she is high all the time but after 15 years I know better. She loves to say 'It's a wonderful world'. That is my que to snap, 'What the hell is wrong with you? A third of the people in the world are hungry and another third are actually starving, children are being brutalized in ways I would kill to avoid and you think the world is wonderful? Godamn woman, you may be having a wonderful life but your not the world' She'll just shake her head and go 'Ooooh Don' So whats wrong with enjoying what we have as best we can without guilt and worry. I can't but she can so I think I'll leave her her fantasy. After all it is real to her and I wouldn't want her to worry. (she never ever watches TV or listens to any news)

Laura said...

Just the sort of uplifting, cheery post I needed on a monday morning


tafka PP said...

On many occasion I've heard that line about the multimedia providing us with a wider platform to feel worse about the world's general direction than in previous years, but I don't buy it either. Anyone got a sandwich board and a loud bell?

Anonymous said...

No good news I'm afraid but a good example of how the world has gone crazy...

In yesterdays papers a boy expelled for carrying a knife to school was awarded £11,000 compensation. Actually it was his mum who got it for worry and tuition fees. This despite the fact that he had be suspended several times and offered a place in assisted learning scheme which she refused.

Its kind of depressing huh. Surely there must be someone I can sue.


ph said...

But I am sure a lot of lawyers made a lot of money and that is what justice is all about

x_trapnel said...

Yes, we're fucked. I've been feeling that way for ages...wish I could do something about it, but I can't. No amount of Fairtrade coffee and bananas and donations to Amnesty are going to put it right. And the way we (as a species) behave - good riddance.

My way of coping is to carry on partying. Selfish - of course. But when the power stops and we face starvation, then at least I'll know that I *didn't* turn down the opportunity to get shit-faced beforehand. Unlike all those poor suckers saving for their pension.

And of course, if the world *does* sort itself out (hollow laughter) then at least I'll have the memories of various drunken sessions to blot out the pain of having to sell the Big Issue at 70; but the chances of 'civilisation' as we know it being around 30 years hence are roughly the same as George Bush becoming Orator of the Year.

Actually, my plan is to go and work in the orphanages of Nepal in 9 years (when my kids have left home) to try and assuage the guilt I feel about living in comparitive luxury. Still, easy to plan to do good tomorrow, isn't it ?

Citizen Sane said...

Now that is a bleak outlook! I think 30 years left of civilisation is a bit on the pessimistic side. Then again, you never know. . .

Good luck with the Nepal thing though.

x_trapnel said...

OK, well lets look at what's behind my pessism - see what you think:

a) resources. Oil about to reach it's topping-out point within 5-7 years. Demands of China and India for resources increasingly drastically. China set to overtake US as dominant world economy in <10 years. Chances of US changing resource usage to share limited resources out with China / India = nil. China's ace card = they own most of America's increasing debts. Not good.

b) Increasing ageing population. In <10 years, most people in the UK will be >50. The baby boomer generation is just about to stop working and start taking out of the system, rather than putting in as they have been doing. Not good, when a minority of the population have to support the majority's final salary pension scheme, when they themselves have no access to such a pension resource and also no way of getting on the property ladder.

c) debt levels. Many people in the developed world hopelessly in debt, in the UK people are mortgaged up to the hilt and also owe thousands on the plastic. House prices going backwards.

d) Global warming. Set to accelerate like a snowball going downhill. Reports today that there will be 50m environmental refugees within 5 years - so how many in 30 years ?

e) That's it, off to top myself.

No seriously, what do you think ? How many of the factors above can be reversed ? Nothing but a massive cull due to bird flu can stop China / India starting to add to the world's woes by using up all the remaining resources (and why shouldn't they - we've had our fun for long enough).

Time to party on down, dance while Rome burns...

dw said...

CS, 30 years? Hell that may be optomistic considering global warming, astroids, solar flairs, pollution, weapons of mass destruction, the ozone, science trying to create a black hole, gene splicing and biological warfre, mass hysteria in an armed world, hostile aliens trying to open a portal into our dimension, anti matter weapons, Picard leading the Borge back to our time, all the men dying and women enguaging in global PMS warfare, the cobalt bomb, the Romans aligning themselves with the Russians and overrunning everything quickly, a worldwide zombee plague, a black hole sucking up everything, the universse collapsing as we change to much energy into matter, or to many particle beam accellerators sucking all the electrons out of place and shit flying apart.

Other than that we'll be fine