Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Killing to Pop Music

The United Nations has just released a report, “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: a Future Worth Choosing.” Authored by the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, it states that the planet is on the brink, devastated, thanks to unchecked exploitation. To avert environmental, economic, social and political disasters, we must adopt the sustainable development paradigm. Unprecedented universal cooperation is needed to save this earth and its people.

With 56 recommendations, the panel seeks to eradicate poverty; reduce inequalities; establish democracy and protect human rights worldwide; advance gender equality; ensure universal access to quality and affordable family-planning and other sexual and reproductive rights and health services; establish a global fund for education to achieve, at minimum, universal primary education by 2015, if not universal access to a college education no later than 2030; enable the full participation of women in the economy by putting in place economic policies that explicitly address the unique challenges that limit women; apply price incentives and disincentives, through taxation, to make sustainable choices more available; aim for an “ever-green revolution” to double productivity, at least, while drastically reducing resource use and avoiding further loss of biodiversity, topsoil loss, water depletion and contamination; coordinate between countries the management of water resource while bearing fully in mind that water plays multifaceted roles, including for drinking, sanitation, agriculture, industry and energy; coordinate marine and coastal planning between governments to protect ecosystems; ensure universal access to affordable sustainable energy; provide citizens, especially those in remote areas, with access to technologies, including universal telecommunications and broadband networks, by 2025; ensure that all citizens are provided with access to basic safety nets… On and on it goes, but I will stop here, though I’ve only glossed over half of this panel’s goals, all worthy, certainly, yet not achievable, none of them, on this earth, and especially under this system of world governance, dominated as it is by aggressive, militaristic countries with imperial ambitions. Simply put, the trend is not towards more universal justice, equality, peace, higher education or broadband access, but less and less of everything, often dramatically and abruptly less, as we move forward. Austerity will kick most of us in the face, as it already has many Greeks, Italians, Irishmen, etc., and, yes, Americans.

On a planet under stress, the big boys will not cooperate but go at each other’s throat while trampling many of us “excess eaters,” to borrow a phrase from Henry Kissinger. Take the standoff on Iran. It is instigated by Israel, the US, UK and France, and opposed by Russia and China. Of those, only Israel is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council. “Security Council” is truly a misnomer, for it has repeatedly unleashed insecurity and terror through wars, as in the invasions of Iraq and Libya.

The big boys didn’t acquire their obscene heft by taking care of the little guys, which is what the UN panel is recommending with its la-la land wish list. I’m surprised it didn’t add universal cheesecake and coffee or cognac after dinner, for I’d certainly like that. And why stop at sexual and reproductive rights? Why not guarantee free and endless access to high quality sexual gratification, and I don’t mean the virtual kind, since that’s already amply available in late Capitalism?

I happen to be born in a country that has experienced the paternalistic attention from four of the five imperial powers currently on the Security Council, and the only reason England never gave Vietnam a nasty spanking was because France was already there. Whenever a big boy announces he’s ready to help you, it’s best to load your weapons.

In short, don’t look for help from the leading nations, for they will become ever more ruthless as their economies sputter, stagnate and collapse. Thanks to fossil fuels, the world has enjoyed more than a century of unprecedented growth, yet even in the best of times, when oil was ridiculously cheap, at not even $20 a barrel, with seemingly enough for everyone, forever, the scramble for black gold generated millions of victims, so with peak oil already here, with demand outstripping supply, one can expect more violence, not less, and more disregard for human rights everywhere.

During the last Super Bowl, a self-congratulatory orgy of ritualistic violence, speed, machine worshipping and unchecked consumption, Madonna appeared as a hybrid Egyptian, Sumerian and Babylonian queen. Sitting on an enormous winged chariot, she was pulled by 50 Roman slaves/soldiers. It is more than curious, these megalomaniac and imperial signifiers, especially the allusions to Iraq, a country America has thoroughly destroyed. Gleeful in her role as this empire’s most famous cocktease, the aging and stumbling star spent 13 minutes celebrating herself, with her huge, projected face pulsating from the ground. After a religious-flavored finale, she suddenly disappeared downward with a puff of smoke and bang, leaving behind, inexplicably, “WORLD PEACE” hugely written and glowing in the dark.

Grafted onto a night dominated by car commercials, feel-good nonsense from war profiteering GE and hype for several war movies, the Material Girl’s final message was absurd, at best, if not cynically sinister. Live, from the partying heart of empire, one that is always fighting several wars, with more to come, we wish you “WORLD PEACE”! This joke is even sicker if one remembers that Madonna is infatuated with Israel, and that the last time she was there, in 2009, she made no mention of the Palestinians, but visited their butcher, Benjamin Netanyahu, at his home. Now, as Israel threatens to bomb Iran, Madonna is scheduled to sing in Tel Aviv. Mindful that retaliatory missiles may interfere with their enjoyment of pop music, Madonna’s Israeli fans are actually petitioning Netanyahu to postpone his attack on Iran until after the concert. Don’t call off carnage, just delay it. How nice of them.

As our leaders kill, we are fed pop music, until it’s our turn, too, to be slaughtered. They have all the guns and money, while we have next to nothing but inconsequential words. Under such an arrangement, I don’t see anything resembling a smooth and sane transition to justice, peace and sustainability. Oil inflated our number, so its scarcity will surely deflate it, and this decrease won’t be facilitated by family-planning, but through starvation and the universal hygiene that is war, to paraphrase Marinetti. If and when this earth approaches sustainability, it will be because most of us are no more.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a just released novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail