THE TRAILER FOR Matt Harlock’s and Paul Thomas’s 2009 documentary film “The Bill Hicks Story” begins with a quotation attributed by Charles Walker to George Orwell in a 2000 book called My Few Wise Words of Wisdom: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
As I write these words, British Dame and ethologist Jane Goodall is arrived to the oil capital of Canada to promote an environmental conservation agenda and to reflect upon fifty years of chimpanzee research in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania. With her work you are no doubt familiar: she has done all she can to make of that a certainty. An unrelenting traveler, if she is not on the road nor in the air, it is only because she is before an audience.
I also need not tell you that her research and advocacy have been occasions of disagreement and sometimes hostile opposition. On the subject of the environment’s rough handling by the human species I don’t share the hostile response to her message, but I think I understand why it exists. Her statement the other day that “we have really, really harmed Mother Nature and I don’t know how long she will retain this amazing ability to regenerate” makes me think, as all environmentalist-doomsday utterances do, of George Carlin’s brilliant commentary on “saving the planet.” If you’re not familiar, allow me to sum it up for you in his own words: “There is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are fucked.” Who can argue? It is indeed the case that we’ll be long gone soon enough, and the Earth will go on as it did for billions of years before we arrived, quite by accident. Continue reading Jane Goodall →