Tuesday, October 11, 2005

pumpkin soup

I remember, many years ago, city boy, my first encounter with a rural vegetable garden. Large ears of corn, plump tomatoes, but most notably the big naked squash as if positioned for effect by some prop dept. prankster. The implausible information that anything of the kind can and should occur without zoning board review. A stirring sense of proprieties violated, reasonable expectations upended. Not obscene, but country cousins.

That's part of the oddness of plant obesity. One sees, yes, it's a fruit that grows by 30 lb. a day, ok, or a fungus that extends for miles, and something in us immediately begins to wish to ascribe will (Nietzschean, most likely) -- an ideology -- to the thing. How could it not be thinking whatever it is thinking, we think.

It's unclear why we never tire of some kinds of bigness, easily tire of others:
It is as if our imagination is programmed to respond only to one terrible thing at a time; as if, after nine months in which we have seen two of the most dreadful natural tragedies in a lifetime – the Asian tsunami and the New Orleans flood – we have begun to treat disasters like pop records. Guatemala just hasn't charted. Melanie Reid, The Herald.
Is it possible to think humanity without invoking the television model? As AKMA notes, the 'Media We' tends to be selective in our spontaneous outpourings of sympathy. (A new grammar might be necessary to limn this sort of agency.)

Relative size is one powerful element, another is less easy to define. Pumpkin #23 on this list (via wood s lot) may soon be a frightful withered head, if the concatenated logic of networked bankruptcies has anything to do with it. That list (and its report) most definitely needs updating, but the garden it presents is surely more grotesque than the carnival of obese orange fruit we admire.

Are markets conversations? If nothing else, it's pretty clear that the private sector, which has no FEMA, now uses evolving bankruptcy mechanisms as its emergency management tool of early and often resort. The condottieri called in to subjugate these pumpkins when the fruits of their labor fail to support their labor have options that diminish the need for "conversations" with workers and unions.
The average union worker's wage-and-benefit package at Delphi is about $65 an hour, according to Delphi. Last week, just days before Delphi filed, the UAW rejected demands to cut workers' pay package to between $16 and $18 an hour. Reuters
The large, monstrous, strangely obscene is covered up. In Guatemala by mud, propitious for vegetable growth.

In New Orleans by blackwater.
"Well, you know this is all about bankruptcy," he says. "That levee? They letting it fail." Willie Walker


Truth in advertising link
, in case.


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