As Planet Comes to a Boil, Priorities Remain Screwed

New York Magazine’s cover story, “The Doomed Earth Catalog,” by David Wallace-Wells, may be the single most frightening magazine article I’ve ever read.

Check out the opening: “In the jungles of Costa Rica where humidity routinely tops 90 percent, simply moving around outside when it’s over 105 degrees Fahrenheit would be lethal. And the effect would be fast: Within a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out.” Lovely.

According to Wallace-Wells, fears of rising sea levels and drowning coastal cities are just the proverbial tip of the melting iceberg.


“Parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.”

In other words, should my grandnephew, Micah, who was born six months ago, live into his 80s, his world will be a living hell.

“Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving,” Wallace-Wells writes, “most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade.”

As far as Miami is concerned, there’s always Boca. But what will happen to the 161 million people who live in Bangladesh? The political crises that will accompany these many millions as they — you should pardon the expression — flood neighboring countries to escape the rising water will necessarily lead to unimaginable turmoil.

The subheads of the article pretty much tell the story in capsule form: Doomsday, Heat Death, The End of Food, Climate Plagues, Unbreathable Air, Permanent Economic Collapse, Poisoned Oceans…. It turns out that the Arctic ice contains, trapped within it, diseases that the homo sapiens species isn’t old enough to have experienced, “which means our immune systems would have no idea how to fight back when those prehistoric plagues emerge from the ice.”

In the section called Perpetual War, Wallace-Wells notes that “as nearly every climate scientist I spoke to pointed out, the US military is obsessed with climate change: the drowning of all American Navy bases by sea level rise is trouble enough, but being the world’s policeman is quite a bit harder when the crime rate doubles.” The never-ending wars in the Middle East, he writes, may in part be caused by climate change, “a hypothesis all the more cruel considering that warming began accelerating when the industrialized world extracted and then burned the region’s oil.”

To say this article is sobering is to understate its effect beyond recognition. It’s terrifying. Sickening. And it is purely enraging to read even without your imaginary friend, the one who shares your political philosophy to the letter, shouting in your ear that President Rump “thinks” it’s all a hoax perpetrated by the diabolical Chinese. (I put “thinks” in quotes because Rump’s primitive brain seems incapable of producing coherent thoughts, let alone sustaining them in the way suggested by that particular verb. Sad!) He’s gone so far as to renege on the extraordinary treaty known as the Paris Agreement, which basically the entire planet agreed was the best, most practical way forward. As many commentators have pointed out, the only two nations not to sign on to the agreement are Syria, which is in the midst of civil war, and Nicaragua, which didn’t think the treaty went far enough.

Rump, of course, knows better.

“A man who walks with the animals, fucks with the animals…” Okay, I slightly altered the lyrics from one of Rex Harrison’s songs in the justifiably maligned 1967 film “Doctor Doolittle.” But really, people. What is with the straight world’s obsession with bestiality? I go for literally years without the thought of fucking a goat crossing my mind, only to have some sick heterosexual bring it back into my awareness. The cycle continues.

From AfricaNews: “Ghana’s third most-powerful man, its speaker of parliament, says Africans are increasingly becoming fed up with external forces trying to force alien cultures on them. Prof Mike Ocquaye, a seasoned lawyer and law lecturer, said it was unacceptable that foreign governments and groups were using the issue of human rights to champion acts such as homosexuality, bestiality etc.”

I’m particularly fond of the “etc.”

“He made the comments during a meeting with members of international rights group, Amnesty International (AI), who called on him on Tuesday,” AfricaNews explained.

And then comes this from Professor Ocquaye: “It is becoming a human right in some countries. The right to do homosexuality. The right for a human being to sleep with an animal. We are tired of some of these things and we must be frank about it. I think all these matters need to be seriously interrogated.”

You asked for an interrogation? Well, I have one question, Professor: In exactly which nations is bestiality considered a human right? Could we have some examples, please?

Adam Liptak of the New York Times snared a terrifically pithy quote (italicized below) for his recent article about Justice Anthony Kennedy and his potential retirement. Just shy of 81, Kennedy, who was the swing vote on the court’s history-making marriage equality case, will obviously not be on the court forever.

The same-sex marriage decision left gay men and lesbians in a strange position, said David S. Cohen, a law professor at Drexel University. “You can get married, put a picture on your desk from the wedding, and then be fired because the boss sees the picture,” he said.

“Marriage was certainly an important step, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is no federal law protecting against sexual-orientation discrimination in employment or housing or education or public accommodations,” Cohen said. “Only about 20 states offer protection under their own state laws.”

Quote without comment: From the Washington Post: “Ramzan Kadyrov says there are no gay men in Chechnya — and if there are any, they should move to Canada.”

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