Monday, April 11, 2011

Earth Day, Captain Planet, and Getting a Grip

Earth Day is coming: April 22, a week from this coming Friday. It's a pretty big deal in contemporary American culture, for good reasons.

I remember the first Earth Day, back in 1970: big green theta and all. I also remember seeing house-size islands of suds floating down the Mississippi River. And a year when my eyes stung - except sometimes on Sundays, when the city's air cleared up.

No Rant? There's a Reason

Since I haven't started a rant, yet, about those [expletive] tree-hugging liberal [expletives], I must be one of those bleeding-heart liberals.

Or, since I haven't started a rant, yet, about those [expletive] Earth-destroying conservative [expletives], I must be one of those nature-hating conservatives.

I've discussed contemporary philosophies, assumptions, and cognitive myopia before. (October 1, 2009; July 7, 2009; November 3, 2008)

Bottom line, I'm a practicing Catholic. Which means that I'm 'obviousy' liberal in some ways, 'obviously' conservative in others - and 'obviously' confused from the point of view of anyone who assumes that today's dominant culture in America is the only one that could possibly matter.

For about two thousand years now, anybody who's been serious about following Catholic teachings has been out-of-step with whatever culture they live in. And I've discussed that before too, fairly often. (April 23, 2010, May 24, 2010, January 12, 2010, for starters)

Back to 'saving the planet,' and getting a grip.

Captain Planet and Playing Politics

I haven't found Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990–1996) on cable lately: but something called The Adventures of Captain Planet is alive and well and living in televisionland. Probably the same series, with a new(er) title.

The Captain Planet series seem(s) to be quite popular - or has a fan base as dedicated as die-hard Trekkies. Maybe both.

I don't have a problem with folks enjoying a series that I don't: Since I take Catholic teachings seriously, I have to accept the idea that we're not supposed to all be alike. (August 26, 2010) As it is, my embracing of multiculturalism led me to become a Catholic. And that's another topic. (July 14, 2010)

What does bother me is folks who seem to have learned their science, economics, and sociology by watching Captain Planet.1

Basing environmental policy on the lore and wisdom imparted by Captain Planet may not, in my opinion, be entirely prudent. It's not that I hate the environment, or want to destroy Earth's fragile(?) web of life: I simply don't think Captain Planet is a good resource for ecological concerns. I have the same opinion of the Fantastic Four in reference to research in physics and biology; and Wack Races when it comes to vehicular traffic management.

I've gotten the impression that politicos - some of them - use the emotional responses engendered by Captain Planet and decades of 'and we're all gonna die' books and articles to whip up support for their own goals. Not that I think that everybody who really believes that we're all gonna die because of [crisis du jure] wants to strike a blow for the oppressed Masses.

I think that drinking sewage is a bad idea, myself. (April 7, 2011) Environmental concerns are not a monopoly of political hacks and flakey leftists. Any more than a desire for justice, for individuals, is the exclusive property of off-the-wall right-wingers.

Enviro-Activism Trumps Global Village?

A few days ago, "damn Japan" was a trending topic on Twitter. That wasn't an isolated event. For example, about a year ago some folks were expressing hatred for Japan. (April 14, 2010) I think the point at issue was the Japanese whaling industry.

I spend a fair amount of time on Twitter, where I'm Aluwir2, so the 'cultural climate' there matters to me. Happily, most of the folks I chat with are more level-headed than that. Even so, a strong dislike, at best, of 'those Japanese over there' is hard to miss in the wider online community.

'Experts' in old-school publications notwithstanding: I don't think the folks who hate Japan and all things Japanese are all ultra-conservative Frank Burns clones. In the case I cited last year, I have every reason to believe that the person who contributed "[redacted] Japan" to the conversation was - if anything - left-of-center, by contemporary American standards. I realize that "Japan" does not mean quite the same as "Japanese people," by the way.

I think a case could be made that 'save the planet' is more important to a great many folks, than 'our global village.'

Me? I think there are good, practical reasons for being careful about the planet we live on: as well as moral issues. (See "Background," below)

But I can't hate folks living in another country: or in this one. I'm not allowed to. It's in the rules. (December 9, 2010) Like I've said before, I'm in an organization that's truly universal. (April 19, 2010)

Environmental morality, real and imagined; neo-paganism; and all that? Those topics are for another day.

Somewhat-related posts:
1 What do I have against Captain Planet?

It's not the series' production values. The Captain Planet episodes I've seen had moderately adequate animation, by old-school Saturday morning standards. It's the anvilicious moralizing. Not that I object, in principle, to a story having some sort of significance beyond filling a half-hour time slot.

I do, though, prefer that the
not be dropped on me like an anvil. That's particularly true if I agree to some extent with the message that the writers are proclaiming. (Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (April 15, 2010))
2 I use my Twitter screen name, Aluwir, fairly often when I'm online.

Some folks use pseudonyms / screen names to hide their identities. I use "Aluwir" to establish mine. On Twitter, for example, it's fairly obvious that my real name is Brian Gill, and that I live in Sauk Centre, a small town in Central Minnesota.

Here in Sauk Centre, there's only one Brian Gill. But both Brian and Gill are fairly common names - and there are quite a number of Brian Gills with fairly active online presences. For a while, one of the other "Brian Gills" was even in roughly the same line of work as I was.

"Aluwir" is, I think, fairly easy to read, to pronounce, and to remember - and it's quite distinctive.

I made the name by combining two elements from a reconstruction of the root Indo-European language - and that's yet another topic.


Brigid said...

Bit? "bit green theta and all."

What's missing? "(Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (April 15, 2010)"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Found 'em, fixed 'em: thanks!

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.