Friday, July 9, 2010

What's the word?

What is the word for the physical representative of a concept? Like an avatar, but unwittingly so? An item that embodies an attitude whether it likes it or not? You know, the way oil is a slippery stand-in for the idea of human greed.

Oil has been appealing to humans for 4000 years, appearing in small pits near ancient cities or on the banks of civilization-aiding rivers. Time passed, and in the middle of the 19th century, a man figured out how to distill kerosene from petroleum; from there, our oil, formed essentially from prehistoric algea, replaced the oil of harpooned whales. A well was drilled in Poland and then a well was drilled in Azerbaijan and then finally American struck oil, too. Our petroleum production peaked in the 1960's, and since then Saudi Arabia and Russia have made more. Since then we've bitterly hated and deviously funded the eastern barons.

Oil companies are the richest companies, and the assertion that major governments make major moves - inciting violence and assassinations and upholding unrest - with these companies in mind and spirit has a good deal of validity. Oil is the international monetary unit.

"Would you say money is the real language of love?"
"No finance, no romance. It's not about (emotional) reality, it's all about the salary."

Four million new gallons of oil have gushed uncontrollably into the Gulf of Mexico every day for the past 81 days; in its context of bloodshed and warfare it's laughable. It's King Midas. It's hubris in arrogance and in deed (humiliation and abuse for gratification). It's like the end of Wonder Boys where the lone copy of Michael Douglas' type-written life's work flies from the car window and swirls in the winter wind and Tobey Maguire dances around below it. I've recently been feeling like Tobey Maguire, and that we're all going to die.


austin samsel said...

um next time our blog catches fire please let me know!

Alaina Stamatis said...

our blog had an oil spill eek!

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