Dream of the Dragon

Month: May, 2010

Gulf Spill Rollercoaster

by Justin

In the past few days as BP launched its ‘Top Kill’ plan to plug up the oil billowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the news has reversed from high hopes in the morning to despair again at sunset. Both BP engineers and officials on the scene get optimistic about the chances for success, issue reports to that effect, and then eat their words. I don’t have a sense of the science involved so these errors in judgment may be excusable, maybe all signs did point toward success early on. But seriously, why not hold out for some concrete news on the efficacy on your mud? I can’t imagine how frustrating those reversals are to the people along the Gulf coast whose livelihoods are immediately effected.

The latest accounts from the Times distilled the week’s desperate attempts pretty well:

The failure of the top kill procedure, which was thought to be the company’s best option for stopping the leak, was announced after about 30,000 barrels of mud was injected into the well and three attempts were made at what is termed the “junk shot,” a procedure that involves pumping odds and ends like plastic cubes, knotted rope, and golf balls into the blowout preventer, the five-story safety device atop the well.

That’s right, golf balls. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mourning Aftermath

by Justin

“A ritual is an opportunity to participate in a myth. You are in one way or another putting your consciousness, even the action of your body, into play in relation to a mythological theme, and, as I hope I’ve made clear, mythological themes are projections of the order of the psyche… by participating in a ritual occasion you are in a magical field, a field that is putting you in touch with your own great depth.”

Joseph Campbell from The Myths and Masks of God

In the thick of a more immediate and shocking wave of grief, I’ve started mourning the absence of ritual in my life. Ritual, mind you, not worship. America, or rather post-industrial culture in general, lacks a strong tradition of practicing ritual without specific and distracting religious baggage. Read the rest of this entry »

On Unrealistic Idealism

by Justin

It’s become more and more apparent to me that the extreme polarization of politics in this country isn’t only among the politicians, figureheads, lobbyists, talk-show hosts, whatever – it’s grassroots, too. Sure, the liberal extreme will never match the fevered fanaticism of the Tea Party. That sort of militant (as in gun toting) ignorance lends itself better to insane slogans and rallies than the so-called informed opinions of their liberal opponents. But both camps seem incapable of listening to one another. More importantly, neither side understands the way this country works.

Extremism has its place in politics. It’s useful to demand impossible degrees of excellence, because otherwise the eventual compromise would be laughably insufficient. Read the rest of this entry »