Mid-November Update


The weather finally turned, and chilly mornings and evenings mean happy lettuce. The one pictured above was planted as a seedling; others planted from seed are peeking out and stretching now that the air is crisp. For my part, it’s nice not to have to water twice a day (or more), and having my morning coffee outside is now a viable option. I’m still putting the spent grounds in the garden (you can see the darker patches near the plant above), and hopefully after a winter of decomposing leaves and coffee, the soil will be softer and more diverse for next Spring.


“In our age, anyone resuscitating critical theory needs to have a sense of irony. Among capitalism’s losers are millions of overworked, underpaid workers ostensibly liberated by the largest socialist revolution in history (China’s) who have been driven to the brink of suicide to keep those in the west playing with their iPads. The proletariat, far from burying capitalism, are keeping it on life support.”  – Stuart Jeffries, from Grand Hotel Abyss

Still an Oligarchy—a Worse One, Actually

I’ve read a lot of things this week claiming that the election of Trump demonstrates that we don’t, in fact, live in an oligarchy. The question goes something like: “How could the entrenched, monied elites allow such an unknown to happen, if they are so entrenched, and so elite?”.

Time will tell just how much of a “shake up” this really is. Since Trump has vowed to dismantle environmental and workplace regulations, it seems like business as usual—if not business just made easier—for major corporations, who I think everyone knows are the real power-brokers in our system. They, along with the military, will most likely benefit the most—even if it’s slightly less benefit than they would’ve gotten under Clinton, who once sat on the Board of Walmart. Sounds like an oligarchy to me.

To be clear, I’m not ashamed in the slightest to say that I voted for Clinton, since the Trump coalition is categorically worse. Neither candidate would have a chance to fix our real problems, but Trump will make most problems more destructive and complex while creating a million new ones in the process. Nothing will fundamentally improve, and in the meantime people have been given a huge nod that it’s socially acceptable—nay, patriotic—to be willfully ignorant, to be gleefully mean, and to hate people whose lives they know little to nothing about. As Norman Mailer once wrote, “If one wants a better world, one does well to hold one’s breath, for a worse world is bound to come first.”

The thing is, a middle finger this large directed at the establishment sounds great, until our rivers are rendered undrinkable and we’re arrested for pointing that out (it’s “un-American”, after all, to value anything, even life, over a job). About a quarter of the population will be jubilant for a while, but the problem with unleashing a tempest at your enemies is that once it’s whirling, nobody can get it back under control, and it usually flies right back in your direction. Nature bats last, as the saying goes.