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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tom Joad: Thunderdome

The latest from Australia, where things are going Mad Max very quickly, is a dust storm in Sydney. The winds have picked up tons and tons - or tonnes and tonnes - of topsoil and dumped it over the city. So now we have our pictures of the Dust Bowl we were waiting for, hesitant to call the present state of affairs a Great Depression, because we did not have enough of the iconography of what we mean by a "Great Depression". A Great Depression is the malaise we find ourselves in: at war with the environment and with each other. I tell people that the true canary in the coal mine - the indicator of methane gas, hence a disaster - is Palestine. If the societies which derive their understanding of the Holy from the three Abrahamic religions cannot solve Palestine's puzzle, they not only will show the rest of the world that they are empty shells, but they will also become aware of it themselves. Mankind cannot live with the burden of unforgiven failure. Unforgiven it will be, because it is a failure of their religions, and they will not be able to see that God is even above their understanding of God. It is the perfect storm coming: the Great Depression of the spirit, coupled with the revolt of the world against our depredations. * * note: Tom Joad was the lead character in The Grapes of Wrath, a story set in the Dust Bowl years.


Unknown said...

Now Tom Joad I know. It's things such as en vrac and Funes the Memorious that are out beyond my orbit.

Montag said...

"En vrac" is probably unintelligble to any except French readers, and of those, only the stevedores, dock workers and draymen will get it.
It actually is a way of saying "in bulk" that my first French girlfriend taught me...she whispered endearments that dealt with transport, shipping, and letters of credit.

Funes was Borges' character with the ultimate photographic memory, using convoluted expressions like "the steamship 'General Rodriguez'" for concepts more simple to us, like "201"...the number 300 might be "the rose of Picardy" and so on.

Needles in haystacks.....