FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Crisis? What Crisis?

by CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM

More good news in crisis from down the block here in Brooklyn: The realty office that I could almost spit on from my stoop has shut its doors, boarded up the classy windows, sent its half-breed parasites home, no more to feed on the entrails of rent control.  Praise be to the realtors out of a job – may they find real work suited to their minds, dealing heroin to children or pulling the wings off flies for re-sale.  Good times, I tell you, and the rents falling fast, the bubble-brain-time popping.   On the same stretch of street in Brooklyn, the boutiques with their sale signs like epitaph, spray-painted in the colors of the rainbow, desperate-looking, like the owners were fainting as they painted.  Jeans for $319 now at 50 percent – a bargain, I’m to understand.  Threadbare t-shirts “artistically printed,” just $40, cut to $20, I might pay 50 cents, if they’d get rid of the infantile print.  Alas, the inventories piling up across the blackened plain, burial-mounded and no one buying, and in the wind a hysterical lament, the marketeers, the opinionators screaming their heads off that “something must be done,” as if we hadn’t enough of enough to last this generation and the next, as if it is not a wonderful and beautiful thing to stop buying stuff we don’t need.

There’s the rub.   The deranged axiom of the modern consumption economy is that when people stick to what they need and save their money, it’s a god-awful disaster.  I see only the cleansing wind.  Down the street from the stinking corpse of the realty, three more of those little boutiques that can only and ever cater to the very rich – just this week, gone and gone from my beloved Brooklyn, their death like a sun-up.  Coffee shops where the latte is $7, the bars where the beer is $10, the things priced to profligacy and exclusionary wealth, going and gone, the rotten branches blown into the gutter.  I think of one of those mad-eyed April sandstorms in the windy season of the Utah desert, where the sand scours the face and arms, lays open the pores, seems to rip the fat from the muscles, blasts the red-rock to a sheen and even cleans the blue of the sky.  I say: more storms to lean into and be leaner for it.

The crap is getting swept from my nook in Brooklyn, but here’s what isn’t disappearing: the little hardware stores where you buy the nails to build, the paint to preserve; the little fish shops that increasingly vend a local catch; the little fruit stands where the apples from the autumn harvest have kept, where the owners have made a conscious decision to quit the out-of-season fruit, because it’s too expensive for straitened wallets and anyway it was unnatural to have it.  I hear from my hardware guy that sales of compact flourescents are up – people cutting down on their electric bills.  I even notice a new cobbler has opened up, meaning there is demand for old shoes to be made new.  I go on a rainy afternoon with my mother to the industrial flats, among low warehouses, to repair her old family heirloom chairs, and men on the shop floor are busy hand-weaving the wicker and staining the wood – producing something you can hold in your hands, with the added benefit that it holds you.  They charge her a good and just price, worth the work, and the hundred-year-old chairs will perhaps remain with the family a hundred more.  When we still find industry in Brooklyn, things of value made by American hands – industry in a city where it’s been driven like a leper to make way for the drama-queening and pursed lips of the rich – there is hope.

The bigger grocery stores, meanwhile, teem with food – what a crisis! – and most of it, if you avoid the poison of meat and the fraudulence of starch and sugar, is as cheap as ever in the history of man.  Perspective is in order: We have more than enough to eat, more than most of the world’s flea-bitten wretches lashed together.  We have electricity, clean water, sanitation, decent shelter, and if you cook food for yourself – be an adult, stay out of the silly restaurants – stanch the light sockets with those compact flourescents, burn candles to read by, put on a goddamn sweater and a pair of wool socks for bed, keep the thermostat low (hell, turn it off, the cold is good for you, keeps you lean), the bills stay low too.  (Dick Cheney was right: Conservation is a personal ethic.)

So where’s the crisis?  Answer: there is none.  There is only a slowing down, a getting off the drug of crapola consumption.  If we are the coke addict, the alcoholic, the meth fiend emerging from a long lunatic twilight binge, so hepped for so long that mania has become normalcy, then what is normal and healthy and balanced now feels like crisis.  So now the DTs, the withdrawal, and, perhaps at last, some measure of clarity.

CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM is working on a book about the dissolution of the United States and its replacement by bioregional republics.  He can be reached at cketcham99@mindspring.com

 

Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer.  You can write him at cketcham99@mindspring.com or see more of his work at christopherketcham.com.

More articles by:
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail