Amiga: is the image of Jeff Bezos’ rocket into space part of the unsolicited dickpic genre?
Bah, I know we could sit for hours talking about ridiculous masculinities in technology – we’ve experienced them – but, considering that exhibitionists get off on the disruption of your space, I refuse to give one more minute of attention and pleasure to that guy who, to go down in history, rode a propelled penis in a cowboy hat. Besides, we’ve talked about the climate crisis, space dreams, and billionaire males before in gatite.
Ya, but in honor of one of my favorite memes, you know what makes me angry?
Look the Bezos’ environmental plan for the world: “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry, and move it into space. And keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is. That’s going to take decades to achieve, but you have to start. And big things start with small steps.” Yeah, whatever, so what do I care if he’s a moron. But have you seen the lasts news? An undercover recording from inside an Amazon warehouse in Scotland revealed that the company DESTROYS millions of unsold items every year, products that are often new and unused, such as smart TVs, laptops, drones, thousands of sealed face masks, etc. Bah, what is the problem of produce more trash if we have the moon to put landfills?
All this reminded me of Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics, a book by Jennifer Gabrys that I read recently and reflects on the material history of information and communication. There she also critiques the zero-waste trend as a capitalist idea of sustainability that hides the material effects of economies and avoids new imaginaries of production. It is still an exercise of obscuring waste when, precisely, waste is one of the great problems of consumer society. Talking about e-waste is almost as difficult as talking about the workers who make it possible for the smart to be real. All in all, I must confess that I did not expect this zero-waste space from Bezos.
But what I really wanted to share with you, Danae, my dear, is the beautiful moment when a small paragraph fromThe Climate of History in a Planetary Age by Dipesh Chakrabarty hit me like a ton of bricks: “The climate crisis is about waking up to the rude shock of the planet’s otherness. The planet, to speak with Spivak again, “is in the species of alterity, belonging to another system.” And “yet,” as she puts it, “we inhabit it.” Not that I hadn’t thought of it before, but I think the grace of how it’s written (oh, again, the beauty of things as a source of the most sublime human understanding) blew me away. Chakrabarty’s point is long documentation of why he prefers to talk about Anthropocene instead of Capitalocene, about the Planet as an entity by itself in the long-range of space history and how, in a way, we humans have created a space capsule in it to inhabit it.
Reading the horrible news of the environmental effects we already live, the rains in Europe, the melting of the Arctic, or the drought of the Parana river, I guess what starts as comedy ends as a tragedy, so we should really take up our project of terraforming our part of the planet for the new conditions. For example, my friend Y bought a small land in the south. The reason? A river runs by, and there is water. WATER. How beautiful that word is, how simple that word sounds today.
When was it, D., that you got the rude shock of the planet’s otherness?
I love when in gatito we go all the way anti-corporate, to be honest it is surprising that in our “public interest technology” field the anti-corporate perspective is hardly adopted. Environmentalists have been way more outspoken about it and have signaled mega businesses as what they truly are: enemies. Meanwhile, in the tech circuit there’s abundance of “Google fellows”, “Amazon policy officers”, and everyone pretends that it is completely reasonable to sit at the table with that gentuza and discuss matters of social justice and human rights.
Really, it is difficult for me to understand this generalized benevolence towards tech corporations, of course it is also very frustrating to work within this circuit of sellouts in which nobody uses the right words to name our current problem: obscene capitalist accumulation drawn on the blood of the workers and the planet’s natural resources.
The rude shock of the planet’s otherness? Mine has been in the Pacific Ocean I have missed so much the untamable Chilean sea, of course the lakes in Europe are pretty cool, actually two weeks ago I was swimming at the Elba river in Hamburg and it was awesome, however not even the Mediterranean Sea wakes me up the way the Chilean beach does, the sea that bathes our motherland with crystal, as Nicanor Parra says in his most beautiful poem Se Canta al Mar. It is a scary sea, it hurts to enter, it is too cold, every summer we watch the news about people drowned. The ocean is such an indomitable force that next to it even the most outlandish technology looks tiny, pathetic.
Jeff Bezos’ rocket? A snot.
Recently I finished The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf, it is a very well written biography of Alexander von Humboldt that positions him as the first scientist in the west who proposed an understanding of nature as an interconnected system. It is very moving when the author describes Humboldt’s crucial rude shock of the planet’s otherness, that happened at the top of the Chimborazo, Ecuador’s tallest volcano and mountain, and the farthest point from the center of the Earth. The majestic height facilitated such a holistic revelation: the relation between the ocean and the fishermen, the alliance between the flocks of birds and the jungle. Still I felt a bit sad when I read how moved was Humboldt with the beauty of South America, his descriptions of flamingos, of fabulous vegetation. It was inevitable for me to think that a big part of that nature is now destroyed thanks to extractivism, to the United States’ imperialism, to the drug trafficking, etc.
More snots: German car manufacturers and their cartel activities to avoid cutting emissions, the failure of climate science to predict the recent floods and heatwaves, Apple firmly advocating against the right to repair even though their founder Steve Wozniak supports the movement. And this gem of comedy for the Chileans who read us: the US State Department congratulating Andrés Allamand (LOL) for Chile’s “impressive track record as a strong advocate of environmental justice and climate action”.
Want to see more comedy? Check this historic register of gringo ridiculousness:
I miss you amiga, cross the ocean soon so we can have a copets,
*And look, this is Nala, an adorable dog I befriended in Hamburg, she’s had enough of this nonsense economy just like us