The article itself – very accessible, especially for an academic piece – gives a great description of an underlying problem in an otherwise sweet little book. (And I specifically set up storytime with this book to encourage the kids to take care of the earth). The short version (read the whole thing!) is that Seuss’ fable presents the solution to environmental crises as occurring through the aggregate of individual action. In other words, if committed people can motivate themselves to plant trees, take care of them, and make the right purchases, the world will get better. Noticeably absent from Seuss’ tale, however, are things like polluter pays laws, and regulations that would have stopped the Once-ler from destroying the Truffula forest in the first place – or at least held him legally and financially responsible after he did.
Not picking on Seuss, though. It’s a nice book. But we should be aware that individual action, especially in a market economy, will only have very limited effect on systematic environmental and political problems. In the meantime, enjoy the video:
However, short of a slew of angry songs that came out directly in response to Hurricane Katrina (Public Enemy!), environmental music tends to be fairly tepid. Don’t get me wrong – I like Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi as much as the next guy, but I wish the environmental movement had songs that sounded less like polite missives and genteel observations, and more like anger about the current state of affairs. (And Lord, do not get me started on the horror that is the Counting Crows version). Indeed, given the link between environmental mismanagement and other sociopolitical areas that inspire fury – racism, classism, inequality – the lack of vehemence is even more surprising. I’d love to be proven wrong, but so far, driven music is the exception, not the norm.
So, here are two of the exceptions: “DDT” by Suicide Machines (corporate greed and the promulgation of toxins) and “Countdown to Extinction” by Megadeth (rampant biodiversity loss). Enjoy.
If you’re like me, you remember 2010 as a year of unheralded promise. That was the year that The Greatest Action Stars on Earth (Lundgren! Stallone! Rourke! Statham! Even their names sound like punching) promised us the most steroid-driven movie ever. The Expendables! Boom! Killing! However, instead of wall-to-wall, brightly lit explosions and snappy one-liners (like “Stick around”), we got a dull, turgid, impenetrable affair.
Inevitably, the movie made its money back, and then some, so the Hollywood Machine has decided (sigh) to crank out a sequel. Why not? Industry bloat and guaranteed rates of return. Well, it turns out that, in addition to lowering my expectations to Judge Dredd levels, Expendables 2 (Van Damme! Norris!),
As of right now, the producers have already paid fines for cutting shrubbery near the cave, and have promised to “…refrain from explosions, car chases and fires near the cave.” Fair enough. Hopefully they can also refrain from making a terrible movie.