A Review of AS THE WORLD BURNS: 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Stay in Denial, a graphic novel by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan
Published on bestCyrano.org, by Adam Engel, 27. Febr 2008.
… So what’s the solution? What are Kranti and Bannanabelle, going to do to stop the machines – alien, societal and corporate – from devouring the planet?
A little bird tells them. A little bird, and other earthlings – animal, vegetable and mineral. The solution is something wild, far wilder than most of us domesticated human machines, ensconced in our machine-like social orders, can comprehend. Most of us, but not all. Nevertheless, it is not until a substantial number of us – animal, vegetable and mineral – unite to destroy ALL machines – mechanical, societal and corporate – that the Living Earth can continue to live. Otherwise, sooner rather than later, she’ll become just another blank planet, a cold, dead rock, or a very, very hot one.
All plots end in death, Don Dellilo wrote. Not necessarily so, according to the authors of AS THE WORLD BURNS. The plot of Jensen and McMillan’s graphic novel is open; the end (or the new beginning) is ours to decide.
The proverbial writing on the wall has long since become illegible, scrawled over by layers of agit-prop graffiti screams. We are among children, terrified children longing to be dead. Unix/Network programmers and systems administrators – keepers and maintainers of yet another machine — have a term for broken bits of code, cut loose by a faulty killing of a particular program: orphans. Orphans, these fragments of once living applications, wander the System, until they become zombies, dead code cluttering the System. They must be located and neutralized lest they jam the System, cause it to crash and become inoperable. We are such zombies. The question posed by Jensen and McMillan is whether we submit to neutralization, allowing the System to continue, or can we somehow patch ourselves together into a new program (not a machine, a living system) one that will destroy the Machine in order to save its victims – the living.
True, we’re in a terrifying situation, despite the soothing words of the nice, pretty people on the TeeVee news, but Jensen and McMillan’s message is simple enough for even WE MODERN CITIZENS to understand: we’re being suckered, had, taken, fooled, bamboozled. Yeah, yeah, we shrug. Everything is a crock. But there’s the rub. We don’t know everything. We don’t know anything. We don’t even know what “is” is.
The problem is not that animals, trees, mountains can’t speak, but that we can’t or won’t hear. The problem is, we’re in a world of six billion head-trips and most of us keep tripping over the same fat heads. The problem is our much vaunted way of life. For who or what in the world is more dangerous (within the Greater Machine itself) than the productive citizen? Even the destructive consumer converts some of the junk to energy before it becomes waste. We productive citizens produce and produce and produce only waste. Too much junk to be consumed. Too much junk for the planet – even to the depths of her polluted oceans – to absorb … (full text).