Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Tale of Two Images

Images matter. If the Reagan regime taught us anything else, it cemented the "image" into the political DNA of the polis for all time. With that in mind, consider the following,which ran through Facebook today like bad fish.

Woody visibly cringes when he sees this kind of shit. Not because Oprah herself ever said such a thing, but because of the triumphalist pose it proposes.

Someone on Fbook suggested it was a joke. The Ol' Semiologer, Dr. Woody, sez: So what? There is NOTHING about it to suggest that it is in the least ironic. It is perfectly consonant with the triumphalist rhetoric that comouflages a notable lack of substance. Cuz it just ain't true! No how, no way.

If this is meant to allegorically suggest that, like the lucky guests at a particular Oprah shooting, we've just been endowed with the health and wellness equivalent of a new car, or something. it's just not true. We've struck it nothing like rich, nor even just lucky.

 And it's not true on the literal level. Everyone does NOT "get healthcare." Eventually, 90-95% of the population will be able to purchase probably expensive, probably limited, probably insufficient health care INSURANCE, someday.

In a couple of years, if everything goes well. Probably.

If yer lucky...

Now please examine this image:

Coal miners fire handmade rockets during a clash with the Spanish national riot police inside "Pozo Soton" coal mine in El Entrego, near Oviedo, northern Spain, July 4, 2012. The coal miners are protesting against the government's proposal to decrease funding for coal production. (foto:REUTERS/Eloy Alonso)
This image and the drama it illustrates encapsulates, perfectly, the universal dilemma of formulating a social policy to respond to climate change, in a fucking nutshell. Here it is, in baby steps:
"We" need ever-more energy. But irreplaceable carbon fuels exacerbate ecological and climatological crises
Burning coal is just about the worst way, from an environmentally responsible perspective, to make usable energy.
But these coal miners' jobs and livelihoods (and probably their macho egos, too), and their union's strength and influence, too, all depend on the continued use of this destructive substance in ways which continue to damage the entire ecosphere.
And yet the workers must fight to DEFEND the exploitation, the immediate and long-term consequences of which ultimately fall the hardest on them and their families.
This is another of those pesky "immanent contradictions of Capital" about which Marx and Engels were incessantly "on," about 150 years ago.

BTW: Didja know that the Communist Manifesto is the SECOND most reproduced book in the world? Yup, it is.

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