The stunning thing is how many of my aging classmates, no matter what they’ve accomplished and how credentialed they are, have their brains riddled with progressive cant, Trump-Derangement, and climate-change fanatacism. They usually save their rants for the end, after leading the reader on by impressive accounts of career triumphs, arcane literary references, and skilled writing.
A report I read last night by a retired physician was sailing along, rational as could be, and then unravels like the rebel leader in Woody Allen’s “Bananas,” who once he overturns a South American dictatorship gives a speech announcing that the national language will henceforth be Swedish. The doctor warned of madness to come by listing, among the activities he and his still practicing physician wife are passionate about, “seeing Marlon every chance we get.” Surely he doesn’t mean Marlon Wayans or Marlon Jackson; it must be a reference to Marlon Brando.
Okaaay, that’s a little strange: Brando was a great actor and all, but he made maybe ten really good movies (I just checked that: ten is a stretch) and was a self-indulgent, pompous jerk. A non-actor being obsessed with “Marlon” is an ominous sign. Quickly after that admission we get “The Republican push to delegitimize any election they don’t win screams 1938.” Ah, a “Republicans are Nazis” shot…and Republicans push to delegitimize elections they don’t win? A bit of selective history there, Doctor.
Then comes the obligatory climate change hysteria: “The existential threat of climate change has me thinking about Marlon in a haze of worry and terror…Greta Thunberg has it absolutely right.”
Marlon again! Wait: now I remember: one of the ways Brando wasted his money while sneering at society was creating the world’s first “post-carbon” resort, The Brando, at Tetiaroa, the tiny Pacific island he bought to hide away from the rest of us mere mortals.It is featured in the Netflix series “Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby” and is run by the Brando Estate with eight of his children involved.
It has not, and will not, have any effect on climate change whatsoever, but apparently makes Marlon a hero to people like my college classmate. I bet he and his wife have made a pilgrimage to that resort. (Another thing I’ve learned from reading these screeds is that the only member of my graduating class who isn’t rich is me.)
As for Greta, she came out in her latest book as a full blown Marxist, blaming the existential threat of climate change on a capitalist system that is “defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression and genocide by the so-called global North to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order” and that has “roots in racist, oppressive extractivism…to maximize short-term profits for a few.” And, naturally, anyone who opposes Greta’s world view is a fascist. Absolutely right on, kid!
The report ends with an endorsement of this carbon-free pie-in-the-sky nonsense, penned by acclaimed depressive, doom-obsessed fiction writer Joy Williams, who has no training in science of any kind but is certain what to do about the environment:
The ecological crisis cannot be resolved by politics. It cannot be resolved by science or technology. It is a crisis caused by culture and character, and a deep change in personal consciousness is needed. Your fundamental attitudes toward the earth have become twisted. You have made only brutal contact with Nature; you cannot comprehend its grace. You must change. Have few desires and simple pleasures. Honor nonhuman life. Control yourself, become more authentic. Live lightly upon the earth and treat it with respect. Redefine the word progress and dismiss the managers and masters. Grow inwardly and with knowledge become truly wiser. Think differently, behave differently. For this is essentially a moral issue we face, and moral decisions must be made.
This, in turn, made me think again about a tweet Sean Lennon—the conservative Lennon!—issued this week: