Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Living in interesting times

World leaders have proclaimed a "shared vision" on climate change, but failed to bridge differences between rich and emerging nations on curbing emissions. BBC
David Seaton's News Links
I guess it is because we are nearing the long Spanish vacation time, which I hope to spend under a pine tree reading William James's "The Varieties of Religious Experience", but these days writing about current affairs is getting to be like pushing a long dead, ripened pig through a swimming pool filled with treacle.

Today's "story" is the G8

The G8 meeting in Japan is a huge non-event. Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times has this delicious parody of a G8 communique by Alan Beattie on his blog:
An ineffectual international organisation yesterday issued a stark warning about a situation it has absolutely no power to change, the latest in a series of self-serving interventions by toothless intergovernmental bodies.

“We are seriously concerned about this most serious outbreak of seriousness,” said the head of the institution, either a former minister from a developing country or a mid-level European or American bureaucrat. “This is a wake-up call to the world. They must take on board the vital message that my organisation exists.”

The director of the body, based in one of New York, Washington or an agreeable Western European city, was speaking at its annual conference, at which ministers from around the world gather to wring their hands impotently about the most fashionable issue of the day. The organisation has sought to justify its almost completely fruitless existence by joining its many fellow talking-shops in highlighting whatever crisis has recently gained most coverage in the global media."
It is nice to know that I am not alone in my spleenfulness.

Most of the photo-ops
I see these days of world leaders meeting, performing stunts, eating together, shaking hands and generally bonding, remind me of the banality of the picture of Archduke and his lady getting into their limousine to be driven around Sarajevo way back in June 1914, moments before one of history's most earth shaking events. I keep wondering who will be the Gavrilo Princip that finally sets our gooey mess alight.

Certainly things don't look auspicious this summer. Soothsayers and the like are rather grim.

Being a multi-Celt, gifted most unwillingly with the second sight, and wary of things that go bump in the night, I admit that I am much weighed down with dark forebodings.

Having trained as an artist, I see no contradiction between being a historical materialist and keeping hats off of beds.

May the roof above us never fall in. And may the friends gathered below it never fall out. DS


RC said...

The reason I don't blog, Dave, is that I am afraid that comments like that Gavrilo one would occasion a government visit to my shop. I am still under the US flag even though in a mere lost colony.
I made similar observations about the flaccid G8 to a friend earlier today in an email. You forgot to mention their 21 course dinner where they discussed the world food crises. Novel.
Why are India, China and Brazil not part of a G9. What the hell? Are we supposed to take these events as some kind of tasty fodder for satirical TV programs and nothing else? Oh, never mind.

RC said...

Meant to say G11.