ARGOSY Weekly — March 11, 1939 …item 4.. When Disaster Strikes — Will Recant, son of Holocaust survivors (June 21, 2012 / 1 Tammuz 5772) …

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ARGOSY Weekly — March 11, 1939 …item 4.. When Disaster Strikes — Will Recant, son of Holocaust survivors (June 21, 2012 / 1 Tammuz 5772) …
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Image by marsmet541
“I’m very fortunate that my parents survived. I often think about those who didn’t, because my father always liked to say that he was the ‘worst of his seven brothers and sisters.’ Everyone else perished in Treblinka.

He used to say they were all smarter than him and were better human beings than him. He had survivor guilt to the day of his death. He had the book Treblinka on his nightstand for 20 years. He read and reread it.

“Having seen part of our legacy taken from us, and thinking about those who didn’t make it, has perhaps been the motivation to do what I do.”

……..***** All images are copyrighted by their respective authors ……..
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…..item 1)…. The New York Times … Movie Review … A Face in the Crowd (1957) NYT Critics’ Pick

Screen: The Rise and Fall of a TV ‘Personality’; ‘A Face in the Crowd’ Opens at the Globe

By BOSLEY CROWTHER
Published: May 29, 1957

movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D04E2D7163BE53ABC415…

BUDD SCHULBERG and Elia Kazan, the writer-director team whose "On the Waterfront" manifested the rare congeniality of their skills, are doing a brisk encore in tracing the phenomenal rise (and fall) of a top television "personality" in their new film, "A Face in the Crowd." This sizzling and cynical exposure, which came to the Globe last night, also presents Andy Griffith as the key figure in his first screen role.

Like other debunking films before it that have gleefully discovered feet of clay on seemingly solid public idols, this one is more concerned with the nature and flamboyance of the idol than with the milieu and machine by which he is made. Lonesome Rhodes, the two-faced hero, is pretty much the whole show, and what he symbolizes in society is barely hinted—or discreetly overlooked.

From the outset, when he is picked up as a drunken guitar-playing tramp by a female television reporter in an Arkansas town, he progres-sively dominates the TV audience to which he is expandingly exposed, the advertising agency representatives and the big industrialist by whom he is employed. He even is coming close to dominating a political faction and a Presidential aspirant when the rug is suddenly pulled out from under him by his girl friend, who throws a studio switch.

Meanwhile, he is demonstrating his eccentric personality—his gusto, his candor, his shrewdness, his moral laxity and his treachery. And, from the way his eyes narrow and his lips tighten, we gather he is demonstrating a thirst for power, when his loving and loyal discoverer decides that we’ve all had enough.

In a way, it is not surprising that this flamboyant Lonesome Rhodes dominates the other characters in the story and consequently the show. For Mr. Schulberg has penned a powerful person of the raw, vulgar, roughneck, cornball breed, and Mr. Griffith plays him with thunderous vigor, under the guidance of Mr. Kazan.

You know you are in the vicinity of someone who has white-lightning for blood when Mr. Griffith first hits old "Mama Git-tar" and howls his "Free Man in the Morning" song. And you know you are up against a trickster when he starts spouting amiable lies. Mr. Schulberg and Mr. Kazan spawn a monster not unlike the one of Dr. Frankenstein.

But so hypnotized are they by his presence that he runs away not only with the show but with intellectual reason and with the potentiality of their theme. Lonesome Rhodes builds up so swiftly that it is never made properly clear that he is a creature of the television mechanism and the public’s own gullibility. He swings in an ever-widening orbit, as it were by his own energy and not by the recognized attraction and governance of a new magnetic field.

Everyone condescends to him—in the script of Mr. Schulberg, that is—instead of taking positive positions that would better represent reality. Patricia Neal as his doting discoverer, Paul McGrath as an advertising man, Percy Waram as a big manufacturer, Marshall Neilan as a scheming Senator and Anthony Franciosa as a wise guy—all play their roles capably, but they’re forced to behave as awed observers, not as flexible factors in the scheme of things.

As a consequence, the dominance of the hero and his monstrous momentum, driven home by a vast accumulation of TV detail and Mr. Kazan’s staccato style, eventually become a bit monotonous when they are not truly opposed. Reality is proved by inadvertence. We finally get bored with Lonesome Rhodes. Thus the dubious device of having his girl friend switch him on the air when he thinks he is finished with his program (and is scorning his public) is inane. This type would either have become a harmless habit or the public would have been finished with him!

Withal, he is highly entertaining and well worth pondering when he is on the rise.

A FACE IN THE CROWD, story and screen play by Budd Schulberg; directed and produced by Elia Kazan for Newtown Productions; a Warner Brothers presentation. At the Globe.

Lonesome Rhodes . . . . . Andy Griffith
Marcia Jeffries . . . . . Patricia Neal
Joey Kiely . . . . . Anthony Franciosa
Mel Miller . . . . . Walter Matthau
Betty Lou Fleckum . . . . . Lee Remick
Colonel Hollister . . . . . Percy Waram
Beanie . . . . . Rod Brasfield
Mr. Luffier . . . . . Charles Irving
J. B. Jeffries . . . . . Howard Smith
Macey . . . . . Paul McGrath
First Mrs. Rhodes . . . . . Kay Medford
Jim Collier . . . . . Alexander Kirkland
Senator Fuller . . . . . Marshall Nielan
Sheriff Hosmer . . . . . Big Jeff Bess
Abe Steiner . . . . . Henry Sharp
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…..item 2)…. youtube video … MOVIE TRAILER — "A FACE IN THE CROWD" (1957)
… 2:18 minutes

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx2_TqpPH4w

Classic–Movies.blogspot.com/2011/07/face-in-crowd.html

Category:
Film & Animation

Tags:
A-Face-In-The-Crowd Trailer

License:
Standard YouTube License
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…..item 3)…. youtube video … Vitajex … 2:30 minutes…

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK3UnUIPs54

Category:
Entertainment

Tags:
vitajex

License:
Standard YouTube License
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…..item 4)…. aish.com … www.aish.com/jw/s … HOME ISRAEL JEWISH WORLD

When Disaster Strikes

Will Recant, son of Holocaust survivors, is one of the world’s top experts in emergency relief and disaster assistance programs.
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img code photo … When Disaster Strikes

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June 21, 2012 / 1 Tammuz 5772
by Binyamin Rose

www.aish.com/jw/s/When_Disaster_Strikes.html

It was one of the most devastating days in the history of mankind. The final death toll will never be precisely known, but more people perished in the massive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami than in the combined atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Will Recant was on holiday with his family when the devastation struck.

Recant, the senior executive in the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC, or Joint) responsible for nonsectarian programming, raced back to his New York desk and labored through field representatives and other local partners to set up a relief system and distribute food to survivors.

He traveled to the hardest-hit area in Indonesia, slammed by 30-foot-high waves.

After three weeks, he traveled to perhaps the hardest-hit area, Banda Aceh, in northwest Indonesia, which had been slammed by 30-foot-high seismic sea waves.

“It was uncanny,” Recant envisions the scene. “You turn to the left and you see total destruction. You see boats sitting five miles inland mixed with cars, rubble, and seashells. Then you turn to the right and you see roads and banks and businesses and life as usual. It was surreal to have this view of how far the ocean came and receded, and how life on one side of it was just fine and life on the other side of it was totally destroyed.”
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img code photo … Will Recant

media.aish.com/images/disaster-1.jpg

Credit: Mishpacha Magazine/Adam Hunger

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The details of widespread devastation, along with many others from Will Recant’s 30-year career in disaster relief, are well-etched into his memory bank. He has spent more than half of every one of those 30 years on road trips, organizing relief efforts on behalf of victims of natural disasters, wars, and poverty.

Recant is chiefly responsible for helping to assess the overall picture, determine the most pressing needs, coordinate rescue and relief efforts with local partners and international relief agencies, and ensure that reconstruction and redevelopment aid is utilized as intended.

The JDC’s main mission, which sometimes dovetails with Recant’s work, is to help Israel and Jews in need around the globe. The nonsectarian programs Recant pilots are funded by special, external campaigns.

—– ,000 per Jew

Where is Recant headed to next? The answer to that question may well be dictated by the next 8.0 earth tremor on the Richter scale, but this particular morning is a placid one at JDC headquarters on Third Avenue in Manhattan.

Will is making his final preparations for a trip to Ethiopia to review humanitarian programs that have run the gamut from building schools, digging wells, helping children in need of spinal surgery, and de-worming rural villages. After that, he will head to Rwanda for a dedication ceremony at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, built with JDC assistance five years ago for orphan teenagers of the Rwandan genocide — the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis over a bloody, 100-day period in 1994.

Recant’s self-assured manner befits the major accomplishments under his belt, yet he refuses to accept credit. It’s a lesson he says he learned at his previous position as executive director of the American Association for Ethiopian Jews. The AAEJ was a major player in Operation Solomon — the dramatic 1991 emergency airlift of nearly all of Ethiopia’s 14,500 Jews in less than 36 hours.

“I learned very quickly from the president of that organization, Nate Shapiro, that there was no Will Recant and there was no Nate Shapiro. There’s only the American Association for Ethiopian Jews and the mission at hand,” says Recant, who began his humanitarian career while working on his doctoral dissertation at George Washington University. “The Ethiopian famine was the great famine of the 20th century,” Recant explains. “It was difficult to see the images while knowing that we’re living at a time where there’s an ability to provide assistance, tomorrow, anywhere in the world.”

Recant’s role in Operation Solomon included advocacy in Washington, DC’s, halls of power to increase attention to the plight of Ethiopian Jews, and helping raise the estimated ,000 required to transport each Jew to safety.

It’s a privilege, as the child of Holocaust survivors, to help bring Jews to Israel.

Some of that money was used to produce false documentation inviting Jews to come and work or visit the US under family reunification plans, or even to smuggle them physically out of Ethiopia, via Sudan or Kenya, to Israel. Sometimes the smuggling was done by car, at other times by means that Recant still does not feel at liberty to discuss. “There were myriad ways of rescuing Jews. For me, it was really a privilege, as the child of Holocaust survivors, to help bring these Jews to Eretz Yisrael, to the land of their dreams,” says Recant.

Recant’s father hailed from Vengrov, a small shtetl in Poland, east of Warsaw. He fled eastward during World War II, but the Russians arrested him as a German spy and sent him packing to frigid Siberia. As the war dragged on, the Russians decided Mr. Recant would be of greater value to them as a soldier, so they released him to the Polish army under Russian command.

Will’s mother was also a Polish native. She hid for more than three years during World War II in the neck of Belarusian woods made famous by the movie Defiance, which celebrated the Bielsky brothers’ partisan operation.

After World War II, the Recants ended up in America, met, and married.

“I’m very fortunate that my parents survived. I often think about those who didn’t, because my father always liked to say that he was the ‘worst of his seven brothers and sisters.’ Everyone else perished in Treblinka. He used to say they were all smarter than him and were better human beings than him. He had survivor guilt to the day of his death. He had the book Treblinka on his nightstand for 20 years. He read and reread it.

“Having seen part of our legacy taken from us, and thinking about those who didn’t make it, has perhaps been the motivation to do what I do.”

—– Happy to Be Wrong

Will Recant grew up in peacetime in midtown Manhattan, eons away from his parents’ tumultuous wartime experiences. During his yeshivah years at Ramaz, his principal, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, would comment that he didn’t have much zitzfleisch. Or, as Recant puts it, “I was one of the more adventurous kids.”

His parents owned a mom-and-pop grocery store and Will would see all walks of life walk through the door. “You learn to see past the façade of the people,” he says. “It was wonderful for me.”

He was the first yeshivah graduate to receive a Division I athletic scholarship.

Baseball was also a big draw for Will. He was the first yeshivah graduate to receive a Division I athletic scholarship and played third base at the University of Louisville. Although Kentucky’s southern gentility clashed with his New York sophistication, Will says he appreciated those years as an opportunity to be up front about his Judaism.

Eventually, he earned a PhD in political science at George Washington University, which fueled his interest in international affairs.

The contacts he built in Washington during his Operation Solomon years came in handy in the early 1990s after the fall of Communism, when Cuba began its shift from an official policy of atheism to allow a measure of religious tolerance. Will made his first trip to Cuba in 1992, shortly after joining the JDC.
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img code photo … Will Recant

media.aish.com/images/disaster-2.jpg

Credit: Mishpacha Magazine/Adam Hunger

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Before Cuba formally amended its constitution, if a Jew attended synagogue services, he was precluded from becoming a communist party member. After the constitutional change allowing practicing Jews to participate in the political process, Dr. Jose Miller z”l, president of Cuba’s Jewish community, called the JDC for help.

The community was in shambles. It had had no functioning rabbi since the 1960s, when Fidel Castro seized the reins of power.

“We want your assistance in being a community again,” Dr. Miller told Recant.

Recant heeded the cry for help, and traveled to Cuba. There, he and leaders of the local Jewish community literally knocked on the doors of all the Jewish families listed in the 1950s censuses. They explained the new law and invited the people to Shabbos services, which were to be held in the basement of the Patronato (Havana’s JCC), which had fallen into neglect.

When Shabbos arrived, Recant sat in the basement with a small group of other men, including Dr. Miller, waiting for a minyan. At age 72, Dr. Miller was the youngest member of the Cuban contingent.

“None of the light bulbs worked,” said Recant. “Every window was broken. Birds were nesting over the aron kodesh and they would fly around during davening. The walls hadn’t been painted in 40 years. People were coming for Kabbalat Shabbat and there was a sign on the wall that said ‘Am Yisrael b’Cuba chai.’ I leaned over to Dr. Miller and I pointed to the sign and said, ‘Emes (Truth)!’ And he said, ‘No, we are dying and there will not be another generation of Jews in Cuba.’”

Fifteen years later, Recant found himself in the newly renovated Patronato, face-to-face with Dr. Miller — as it turns out — two months before the elderly activist passed away.

“That sign wasn’t there anymore. I asked, Dr. Miller, ‘Do you remember when we first met?’

“And he said, ‘Absolutely and thank God, thanks to my community, and thanks to the Joint, I was wrong.

We are thriving and we are doing better than ever.’”

Recant’s daughter Jennifer accompanied Will on one of his trips to Cuba shortly before her bas mitzvah. Since she knows some Spanish, she was able to converse with the Cuban youth. During the course of the conversation, she learned that six of them were also her age, none had undergone a bar or bas mitzvah, and in fact there hadn’t been a bar or bas mitzvah in Cuba since the 1960s.

It costs about 0 per youth to provide them with bar or bas mitzvah training, as well as pairs of tefillin, talleisim, a Tanach, and candlesticks. Jennifer herself donated the money for the first six bar and bas mitzvahs, which were held at a gala gathering for more than 600 Cuban Jews.

The sign “Am Yisrael b’Cuba chai” may not have been hanging anymore, but it was no longer needed. The results were speaking for themselves.

—– War Duty

Until 1991, the south European nation of Yugoslavia was comprised of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Serbia was further divided into two autonomous regions: Kosovo and Vojvodina.

By 1991, the Yugoslav republics began clamoring for independence. A Serbian minority in Croatia declared their own state and embarked on an ethnic-cleansing campaign, killing more than 10,000 civilians. Serb units even emptied a hospital of Croatian patients and executed them in a nearby field.
After a negotiated cease-fire, Serb forces partially pulled out of Croatia, taking up new positions in neighboring Bosnia, home to a sizable Serb minority.

In 1992, Bosnian Serbs launched their own ethnic cleansing campaign, killing more than 200,000 civilians. Half of Bosnia’s four million people fled the country. As they fled, Will Recant entered.

The JDC had already been working with the Jewish community in Sarajevo, Bosnia, through La Benevolencija, a Jewish humanitarian association formed 100 years ago to promote the general welfare of the population irrespective of religion or nationality. Now, as the region deteriorated into a genocidal bloodbath, aid programs were increased.

In 1999, after years of dithering, NATO forces finally launched an aerial bombardment against Serb military targets. Serbia responded with an all-out genocide campaign to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its Albanian population, driving hundreds of thousands across the border into refugee camps in Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro.

Skopje, Macedonia’s small but well-organized 180-member Jewish community was among the first responders when Kosovo refugees streamed into Macedonia, but soon it was time to flee again. “When the refugees saw the NATO bombing and the Serbs leaving, they just started to flock back in themselves in a disorganized, unplanned manner, just as they had come out,” says Recant.

Even in chaotic situations such as these, Recant has learned to make coolheaded evaluations.

Experienced international relief organizations and their field partners prepare situation reports. The United Nations, through its Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), assists governments in mobilizing international assistance when the scale of the disaster exceeds the national capacity.

“The UN has what’s called the cluster system, which is broken down into different sectors, such as sanitation, health, education, food distribution, and shelter,” says Recant. “I will go to the UN cluster meeting where you get assessments from the government of the affected nation, members of the international community, the military, as well as from other NGOs and field representatives. There’s a constant open communication between the field and headquarters as to what the needs and costs are and to try to match them with legitimate partners.”

—–Underground Survivors

At times, finding open lines of communication is itself the issue.

Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was a natural disaster of a scale equivalent to the 2004 tsunami, in terms of loss of life and destruction.

Rescue efforts were hampered because telephone service on the island nation was knocked out, although some cellular phone systems were operating.

Recant’s first order of business was to secure the names and addresses of the ten known Jewish families in Haiti.

“We were able to connect with one of the leading families in Haiti who connected us with everyone else,” says Recant. “Within an hour, literally, we had everyone’s names and were able to contact or call them.”

Once again, local Jewish help was indispensable. “A Jewish family who owned the soccer stadium donated it for use when the IDF set up its initial field hospital,” says Recant.

Recant says that from his experience, survivors can normally be found for the first four or five days after natural disaster strikes, especially if there are eyewitnesses who can convey accurate information as to people’s whereabouts.

“Sometimes, people know that others were in a certain apartment, or in a certain location of a building. On the basis of that information, you can bring in listening devices and see if you can hear anything,” he said. “In Haiti, we found that several people were rescued because students told us that there was another group of students in another classroom and rescuers were able to train their equipment at a specific area.”

“A gift of the Jewish community of Morocco” was embroidered in Arabic on the back of every wheelchair.

One of the students, named Oscar, was one of three survivors from his 12th-grade class. His right leg had to be amputated after a building collapsed on him, killing 54 of his classmates. The Israeli medical team from the IDF, JDC field partner Magen David Adom, and Tel HaShomer Hospital fit Oscar for a state-of-the-art prosthesis. Oscar has since learned to walk again, without assistance.

Several years ago, Recant spearheaded an effort with a partner association in Morocco to deliver a container of wheelchairs to Morocco. The words “a gift of the Jewish community of Morocco” were embroidered in Arabic on the back of every wheelchair.

“Morocco’s king went on national television to say thanks to the fact that we have 4,500 loyal Jewish citizens who care not only about themselves but about others; our kingdom is enriched and we all benefit,” said Recant.

While his position clearly affords him the opportunity for humanitarian accomplishments on a daily basis, Recant says a couple of enduring goals keeps him motivated.

“First, no Jew should be going to bed hungry, anywhere in the world.

“And you know, it’s a big world. There are a lot of needs out there. I get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good is great and the bad can be horrendous, especially what man does to man.

“There are so many challenges. We just have to turn a new page each day and see what comes next.”

This article originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.
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The LONG EMERGENCY (Kunstler wrote the book in 2004, with publication early in 2005) .. 2011 – Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century — It resembled the efficiency of cancer (page 222) …
prepare for collapse
Image by marsmet511
He states that as energy becomes scarce, transportation will become difficult or impossible, causing food and other necessary commodities to become unavailable in many communities. It will be necessary for local communities to become self-sufficient for food production, but many communities will be unable to do so, particularly large cities. The result will be mass starvation, disease, and civil unrest. Kunstler suggests that governments will be incapable of managing these problems. This period of scarcity and collapse will possibly last for hundreds of years, hence the "long" emergency of the book’s title.

……..***** All images are copyrighted by their respective authors ……
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…..item 1A)…. The Long Emergency … From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Emergency

The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century is a book by James Howard Kunstler (Grove/Atlantic, 2005) exploring the consequences of a world oil production peak, coinciding with the forces of climate change, resurgent diseases, water scarcity, global economic instability and warfare to cause chaos for future generations.

The book’s principal theme explores the effects of a peak in oil production, predicted by many geologists, on American society as well as the rest of the world. In both this book and in his other writings, Kunstler argues that the economic upheavals caused by peak oil will force Americans to live in more localized, self-sufficient communities.

Kunstler’s premise is that "cheap, plentiful" oil is the foundation of industrial society and the pervasiveness of its effects is not widely appreciated. Through the 21st century, oil and natural gas will become increasingly difficult to obtain, becoming increasingly expensive and ultimately unavailable. Scarcity of petroleum will cause significant problems for transportation and generation of electrical power.

In addition, shipping of food and manufactured items will become increasingly expensive, ultimately prohibitively so. Also, natural gas is vitally important to food production as it is the raw material for much of commercial crop fertilizers. In the industrialized West, most food production and manufacturing is performed far from, and generally abstracted away from, the end consumer.

The author further argues that alternative sources of energy will be insufficient. As petroleum sources become scarce, environmentally harmful or risky technologies such as coal and nuclear will become necessary but not sufficient for our energy needs. Hydroelectric, solar, and wind power, even in combination with coal and nuclear, will also be far from sufficient. Kunstler does not consider hydrogen to be a true energy source since one cannot drill into the earth and obtain hydrogen. Hydrogen must be extracted from other energy sources, such as natural gas or using electricity at a total net loss of energy.

He states that as energy becomes scarce, transportation will become difficult or impossible, causing food and other necessary commodities to become unavailable in many communities. It will be necessary for local communities to become self-sufficient for food production, but many communities will be unable to do so, particularly large cities. The result will be mass starvation, disease, and civil unrest. Kunstler suggests that governments will be incapable of managing these problems. This period of scarcity and collapse will possibly last for hundreds of years, hence the "long" emergency of the book’s title.

Kunstler, a long-time critic of suburban design, advises communities to change to accommodate walking and bicycling as the primary modes of transport. Populations should be moved out of big cities into smaller communities that have nearby arable land with adequate water and favourable climate for agriculture. People should begin learning to grow food.
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…..item 1B)… George Kelley … THE LONG EMERGENCY By James Howard Kunstler

georgekelley.org/?p=5964

Last week I scared some of you with the prospect that the plastics in your kitchen and bathroom were leeching carcinogens into your food and body with Slow Death By Rubber Duck. This week’s entry into the prospect of “gloom and doom” is James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. I read The Long Emergency because Kunstler has written a series of novels based on his conception of a post-oil society. You’ll be seeing those reviews in the weeks ahead. As for The Long Emergency, it could have been titled: Worst Case Scenario. If all of Kunstler’s predictions about the end of oil and the effects of climate change and food shortages come true, we’re looking at the end of civilization as we know it. Yes, this is indeed scary stuff. GRADE: B+

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14 Responses to “THE LONG EMERGENCY By James Howard Kunstler”
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…..item 1C)…. Daughter Number Three Blogspot … TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2011

daughternumberthree.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html

Kunstler’s premise, as is pretty widely known, is that we’ve just passed peak oil, worldwide. He spends his time spinning scenarios of what will happen to daily life and the economy once we no longer have access to cheap, portable fuel. He (somewhat gleefully, it seems to me) shoots down the "cornucopian" arguments of those who think technology will save us (hydrogen fuel cells, as well solar, wind and nuclear power). The upshot: small cities and large towns are the places to be, especially in parts of the country that have access to fresh water and the possibility of hydro power. Hence, his home in upstate New York north of Albany. Do everything you can to be prepared for your new career as a subsistence farmer, or maybe a carpenter or shoemaker.

Some revelations I found in the book:

—– The success of Thatcherism had a lot more to do with the North Sea oil boom (now over) than it did with the correctness of conservative policies.

—– The U.S. energy crises of 1973 and 1979, which I experienced as a teenager, were all about the passing of the U.S. oil peak, and the transition to control of supply by other nations (OPEC). The fact that prices and supplies then eased for such a long time is also explained (see the bit about North Sea oil, above). All of which Americans took as an excuse to forget about energy conservation, building farther out from city centers, flying more and more, moving up to SUVs, and killing what was left of our railroads.

—– The U.S. will never give up its swollen military budget as long as there’s a drop of oil to be controlled worldwide. I don’t mean to say I didn’t realize we’ve been fighting wars for oil. I just hadn’t quite internalized how deep-seated our nation’s attachment to its military budget is.

—– Despite the fact that Kunstler wrote the book in 2004, with publication early in 2005, he completely nailed the Wall Street stock casino, the housing bubble and the subsequent implosion. It was eerie reading his description.

When Kunstler tries to explain everything about geopolitics, he can start to sound a bit light on facts. But he sure can turn a phrase:

….. Our ability to resist the environmental corrective of disease will probably prove to have been another temporary boon of the cheap-oil age, like air conditioning and lobsters flown daily from Maine to the buffets of Las Vegas. So much of what we construe to be among our entitlements to perpetual progress may prove to have been a strange, marvelous, and anomalous moment in the planet’s history (page 12).

….. When media commentators cast about struggling to explain what has happened in our country economically, they uniformly overlook the colossal misinvestment that suburbia represents — a prodigious, unparalleled misallocation of resources (page 17).

….. I do not believe that the general ignorance about the coming catastrophic end of the cheap-oil era is the product of a conspiracy, either on the part of business or government or news media. Mostly it’s a matter of cultural inertia, aggravated by collective delusion, nursed in the growth medium of comfort and complacency (page 26).

….. Fossil fuels provided for each person in an industrialized country the equivalent of having hundreds of slaves constantly at his or her disposal (page 31).

….. Globalism was primarily a way of privatizing the profits of business activities while socializing the costs (page 186).

….. The dirty secret of the American economy in the 1990s was that it was no longer about anything except the creation of suburban sprawl and the furnishing, accessorizing, and financing of it. It resembled the efficiency of cancer (page 222).

With Michele Bachmann promising a gallon gas if she’s elected, and now saying she would drill in the Everglades (while also eliminating the EPA so no environmental checks could be done), Kunstler is more timely than ever. Reading The Long Emergency, I have to say I became convinced that — barring a cornucopian invention of free flowing energy — we’re about to experience a crashing oil hangover. The best we can hope is that it happens gradually and not suddenly. But given our political climate, I don’t think gradual is in the cards.

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Categories: Afflicting the Comfortable, Books, Life in the Age of the Interweb, Reading YA
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The Ecotechnic Future
prepare for collapse
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Freed from the task of his first book, The Long Descent, in which he laid out all the arguments describing why technology is not going to save us, John Michael Greer, aka The Archdruid, is now able to flesh out how the coming deindustrialization might play out. I found his description of said future to be so helpful in both pragmatic and philosophical ways that I wanted to give every college bound senior a copy so that they might rethink their education and prepare themselves to both save the esoteric knowledge of our culture and learn the practical skills that would enable them to live through it.

Greer describes three stages following the end of this age of affluence. We can first expect an age of scarcity industrialization in which all our technology shifts towards making the most of diminishing resources. Then a salvage economy i.e.: obsolete high rises cannibalized for their steel and other highly refined products of the industrial age. Finally, after several generations, we arrive at the ecotechnic future in which humans have learned to use appropriate technology to live within the limits of natural resources and life reaches the nirvana of sustainability. (Ecotechnic being derived from words meaning the craft of the home. Ecology being the way of speaking of that home and ecosophy, the wisdom of the home.)

He spends a few practical chapters on the appropriate technology for growing food, housing ourselves, finding work and building community. Most of these best practices I am familiar with from my own reading. He then suggests that we will want to find a way to embed into our culture the scientific knowledge we have arrived at thus far possibly in a religious context. We tend to take our science based culture for granted so it is interesting to have him talk about how discoveries from ancient Greece survived i.e.: mathmatics and how some did not i.e: music. His observation that our popular culture is all about what’s new without bothering to carry forth traditions of the past, allows him to show how our culture continually claims to have discovered something new when it’s really just a rehash of something explored 20 years ago.

He spends some time talking about how home economics is a now defunct college degree that we would do well to resurrect as quite a lot of things we buy out of convenience were once made in the home; this cottage industry sector being an integral part of the economy and well being of families. He recognizes how making things at home is not yet economically viable, thanks to cheap oil, but as transportation costs turn the tables, it will make more sense.

Even more illuminating was his perspective on how our financial system is an instrument that has become so complex, its chief result is to rob the population of any real wealth by sucking every investor into gross forms of speculation. I found this to be an affirming observation given that this is what’s been happening and good reason to avoid investing therein.

The perk of the book is his section on philosophy. Had I had his introduction to philosophy I wouldn’t have had to drop the course in college out of disgust at what was implied. Here he explains how Hegelian thinking was all about describing progress—you mesh two things together and voila you get a new solution thus suggesting that civilization, especially Western civilization, is progressive and leads to some kind of perfection or the end of history. Greer counters this historicism with the work of Oswald Spengler who basically said it ain’t necessarily so. It’s just that the culture we live in thinks so. Thus Spengler studied the rise and fall of particular ways of thinking as a culture and declared that ours had explored all its possibilities of thought by the 19th century. Love those mind benders. Greer uses this discussion to illustrate how our assumptions about progress are getting in the way of thinking about stability . And that our destructive high tech life is not the be and end all of civilization. Compared to the Egyptians we pale when it comes to their 3,000 years of cultural stability.

While being a handy summation of best practices, Greer is at his most stimulating when he offers ways of rethinking our ideology and shifting towards more adaptive thinking. I particularly liked his insight on the tragic hero vs. the comedic hero. One dies for ideology while the other manages to come through somehow largely through adaptive survival. As in his first book, he emphasizes the slow unfolding of this future rather than an emergency scenario that other peak oil authors describe. He also encourages a diversity of solutions and "dissensus". Since no one can actually know what will be the scenario of the future, this decentralized diversity makes sense while empowering the individual.

This PDF review copy, courtesy of the Energy Bulletin.

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5 Responses to “ARGOSY Weekly — March 11, 1939 …item 4.. When Disaster Strikes — Will Recant, son of Holocaust survivors (June 21, 2012 / 1 Tammuz 5772) …”

  1. matt kk

    this is nice to know and go isreal

  2. mikescottnz
  3. inilegnAwen

    Very nice. I’m looking forward to reading this. The Long Descent is probably the best peak oil text I’ve read. Seems that he’s putting his practice in magic to very good use!

  4. Ange Halle

    the age of desindulstrilaization. But it has started already. Look at all the people living in wooden huts on hillsides, people sleeping on sidewalks. Take a look around Flickr and you can discover this reality. This book sounds very interesting.

  5. Ange Halle

    Oh, I was looking all over the place for this book. Must find it. The library does not have it yet (english is a foreign language here). Libraries would be such a good invention, if only they had the right books… Having only read the description, I still can imagine what Greer is talking about, as I have discussed this with many people, and we have to start planning now. Greers view that everything will collapse, in whichever way, might be averted, I think. (One little solution is the Cradle to Cradle system). But people have to be aware of the danger, and they do not seem to be, except for disenfranchised people, caught in a mudslide on a hill in Brazil. Their world came tumbling down and they lost everything, the same for earthquake victims, flood victims. But that is so unprobable, it is better not to think about, most people say. Some people try to save for a rainy day, but you know what happens then.