March 12, 2007
Pulp secrets from Victorian virgins!
(and other pressing issues I ignore)
Yesterday I took a break from blogging. Well not a break, really, because I had to do other things so I didn't have time for blogging but before I left I managed to put up some pictures of Coco, who doesn't think I do enough.
Coco is right, of course. From her point of view, I don't do enough. I'm sure that many people -- especially the single issue people -- think I don't do enough to address or assist with their Most Important Issue, whatever it may be. So from a Single Issue perspective, almost anything I write about is wrong, unless it's about the Single Issue, and I'd damn well better agree with them on it, lest some Single Issue commenter come and tell me that I'm wrong about a singular issue.
The worst part about taking a break from blogging is the feeling that you're "falling behind."
Falling behind from what? The constant manufacture of new morality? The stuff that's wrong in the world, which needs to be discussed here and now? Spare me. It will be discussed elsewhere and always -- and in far more detail than I could muster.
The worst thing about blogging is that my penchant for examining things logically leads me into a truly awful state of nothing making any sense. I find that if I take something and scrutinize it long enough and closely enough, eventually it becomes insane. (How do I keep my bearings without losing my marbles when bearings and marbles are both round?) Even deciding which issue is worthy of focus is an exercise in the insane, and more unsettling to me is that the very act of picking an issue to write about involves bias. Perhaps what I should do in order to be fair is use the dartboard method. Just take apart a newspaper, spread it out, and throw a dart aimlessly, then focus in on that.
Nah, that's no good. I mean, suppose the dart landed on the obituary of some nice old woman whose family was grieving? I'd have to write about her, and if I learned that she belonged to some benevolent organization of philosophical crackpots which I hated, then the whole blog post would become a needless and pointless exercise in gratuitous cruelty. What if, for example, the dart landed on an article about "violent racial slurs" directed against Vietnamese women riding the subway? I might want to know what racial slurs are "violent," as well as the race of the insult slingers. And that might be considered racist, although I'd only want to know the race of the slur-mongers because of the standardized meme that because of a thing known as a "power imbalance," only white people are capable of racism. What about the question of their free speech rights? I wouldn't want to appear to be gratuitously injecting Ann Coulter into the debate, so I'd have to scrupulously leave her out of it. You know, if you mention Ann Coulter in the context of race, angry Coulter fans will accuse you of making unfair comparisons. In fact, by even mentioning her here, I could be seen as injecting her into the debate even if I admitted that a racial slur is not the same as a sexual slur.
But I'd better not utter the words "slippery slope" anywhere in the same paragraph, and I don't think any explanation is necessary. Which means that if I discussed this story at all, I'd be safer to slant it against Bill Maher. (Maybe, but is "slant" really the right word?) Anyway, I've had enough of defending the free speech right to use vulgar or offensive speech for the time being, because people don't understand the distinction between the right to do something and the advisability of doing it. There might very well be a free speech right to say something, but there's just as much a right to not say it and to criticize someone for saying it. Who gets to be the victim?
A much safer topic would be Canadian diamonds:
In 2005, Canada's first two big diamond mines in the Northwest Territories unearthed 15 pounds of the gemstones, worth $4 million, each day. Today, three mines are open, and more are planned, bringing a flush of cash to northern Canada and making the country the third-largest producer of diamonds by value, surpassing even South Africa.No debate there, right? I mean, diamonds from nice, clean Canada (a place nearly as clean as Joe Biden) have to be morally superior to blood diamonds from Africa, right? A wonderful solution for the problem of finding a politically correct engagement ring.
Not so fast.
According to the official spokesman for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Canadian diamonds are morally no better than blood diamonds from Africa:
Alvin Fiddler, deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, said De Beers Canada in particular is causing environmental devastation and disrupting his community of 45,000 Cree and Ojibwa in northern Ontario.While Deputy Grand Chief Fiddler's paramount concern seems to involve Indian rights, paying off his tribe might not settle the moral question, because as he explains if you read his argument in the entirety, Canadian diamond mining threatens the environment:
Unfortunately, many Canadian diamonds are anything but conflict-free; ongoing aboriginal rights and environmental concerns should make consumers think twice before purchasing a Canadian diamond, too.But the real culprit is the United States -- where "annual sales of diamond jewelry represent almost half of the $55 billion sold world wide."
Halfway into this one issue, I realized that I have been neglecting the Boreal Forest Ecosystem. And the diamond mining is just the tip of the, well, um, I don't know if I should use the word "iceberg" because that might offend cultural sensitivities of the threatened iceberg people and the drowning polar bears.
OK, Canadian diamond mining isn't the tip of the iceberg. It's the tipping point of the ecological balance of the planet or something, because it threatens 1.4 billion acres of land -- the touching of which (so claim the usual thousands of top scientists) will ruin the planet.
The evil Americans to the south are the primary problem. Not only do they buy 55% of the diamonds, they are also wood gluttons -- consuming 70% of Canada's exported forest products:
According to a 1993 United Nations report by the Food and Agriculture Organization, world consumption of forest products will increase over 70% between 1990 - 2010. More than 60% of this increase will occur in northern Canada. (The Taiga Trade - a report on the consumption and trade of boreal wood products; Taiga Rescue Network, 1995 pg. 72)What do the gluttonous Americans do with these virgin Canadian trees?
Glad you asked. Americans are not only environmentally immoral people, they are sexually immoral! For "we" grind up the beautiful Canadian virgin trees into paper pulp -- which is them used to print up sexually titillating catalogues!
I kid you not.
American sexism is ruining the pristine Canadian environment.
Fortunately, the environmentalists boycotted one of the primary offenders, and chained themselves to the doors of Victoria's Secret, causing the company to give the activists whatever the hell they wanted.
So it's not diamonds. It's paper -- pulp! "We" pay for the former, and "we" throw away the latter. But either way, "we" are guilty!
And of course, not just guilty of consuming diamonds and junk mail, but of everything else. The world is a dartboard of offensive offenses -- mostly committed by Americans -- but any particular issue that might be a blog post of passing interest for me is someone's single issue to be defended, offended by, and defended against in endless, unresolvable, noisy, ad hominem debates.
Take a day off from such a guilty world, and the issues will beat you to a pulp.
Well, at least the pulp I generate here is digital, and I didn't destroy virgin trees in the Boreal Forest Ecosystem to generate it. (Of course, I'm sure I said nothing original here. Which means others have beaten me to my own pulp.)
MORE: I cannot overstress the importance of focus, and in this regard I am not entirely sure readers fully appreciate or understand the true scope of the pulp problem:
Forty-six percent of all newsprint consumed in the United States was once Canadian forest habitat-- principally originating from the Boreal. (Bringing Down the Boreal, Forest Ethics)What this means is that every time the morning newspaper hits my driveway, I should cringe at its very thwack! And not because of any media bias in the paper, but because the MSM is forcing me to aid and abet their conspiracy to destroy Canadian virgin trees. And I cannot win, because even though I throw the junk mail and catalogues directly into the trash without ever bringing them into my house, I am simply part of a vast conveyor belt system which violently cuts down the virgin trees, turns them into pulp, and finally transforms them into landfill down here. I have no say in the matter. And every time I blow my nose or wipe my ass, I destroy virgins and doom many more!
Any idea why the environmentalists would go after Victoria's Secret instead of the New York Times?
Let's look at the respective circulations. According to company president Bill Lepler,
... Victoria's Secret Catalogue mails 360 million catalogues each year. If a customer after a period of time does not respond, the company stops sending the catalogue.Yet the New York Times prints 1.1 million copies of its newspaper daily, and some 1.6 million on Sundays, which works out to well over 400 million. Not only, the Times has "stakes in two paper mills in the US and Canada."
So made Victoria's Secret so incredibly guilty?
Or was the company just a convenient scapegoat selected by activists (utilizing "mafioso" tactics) because sexy lingerie catalogues are seen as more "immoral" than the "straight news" of the New York Times?
posted by Eric on 03.12.07 at 10:05 AM
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