warming ocean

Jim heartfield jim at heartfield.demon.co.uk
Wed Mar 29 03:11:30 PST 2000

>Scott Martens wrote:
>> The collapse of the Gulf Stream would give Britain the same climate as
>Manitoba (the two are equally close to the north pole roughly.) London weather
>is miserable already, but a few Winnipeg winters would make it intolerable.

Climate scares have come full circle, then.

As a boy in the 1970s I remember the dire warnings of the coming ice age that preoccupied various gloom-ridden right-wingers. Then in the eighties there was a spate of dire warnings to the opposite effect that we would all bake as the Ozone layer was depleted. Now we are back to the 'ice age' theory.

The only common element in all these theories is the psychological predisposition of their proponents. They are the outlook of the petit- bourgeois, for whom historical events are always external, dominating forces, that cannot be understood. The myth of impending doom is interwoven into the imaginative life of the middle classes. It is indicative of their absence of an inner life, and ultimate dependency upon events outside of their control.

Over the ages the middle classes have preoccupied themselves with the imagined dangers of 'race suicide' (circa 1900-45), the 'yellow peril', sexually transmitted disease (the social hygiene movement 1890s), nuclear winter, fluoride in the water, the dangers of decimal currency, the 'yellow press', etc. etc..

Sometimes these angst-fests have an element of truth in them. But mostly they are massive overstatements of the danger of human extinction which imaginatively re-present the actual precariousness of middle class existence.

Most pointedly, the source of the anxiety is entirely interchangeable - mongol hoards or global warming all express the same emotional state.

-- Jim heartfield

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