FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Crisis? What Crisis?

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

 

More articles by:

Christopher Ketcham is the author of the forthcoming “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption are Ruining the American West,” out next year from Viking-Penguin.  He can be reached at cketcham99@mindspring.com.

December 19, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russophobia and the Specter of War
Jonathan Cook
American Public’s Backing for One-State Solution Falls on Deaf Ears
Daniel Warner
1968: The Year That Will Not Go Away
Arshad Khan
Developing Country Issues at COP24 … and a Bit of Good News for Solar Power and Carbon Capture
Kenneth Surin
Trump’s African Pivot: Another Swipe at China
Patrick Bond
South Africa Searches for a Financial Parachute, Now That a $170 Billion Foreign Debt Cliff Looms
Tom Clifford
Trade for Hostages? Trump’s New Approach to China
Binoy Kampmark
May Days in Britain
John Feffer
Globalists Really Are Ruining Your Life
John O'Kane
Drops and the Dropped: Diversity and the Midterm Elections
December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail