Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Snow Drought of 2011, And Other Matters

Riffing off of my most recent post, I wanted to point out something that is being covered only tangentally by the American mainstream media, namely, the snow drought that has gripped large portions of the Northern Hemisphere over the last few months. I am now in Southern California, after driving down from Portland yesterday. From Portland through the Siskiyous, and on down through the San Gabriels into Southern California, I saw snow only once – a pathetic scattering of a few light patches maybe an inch thick in shadowed places near Ashland and Medford. (Of course, there was also a bit of snow - but not much - on some mountain peaks higher than 4000 feet.)

CBS News reports that much of the United States is experiencing a lack of snow and unusually warm temperatures. And the snow drought has affected Europe, according to stories from Finland and Austria. Meanwhile, the Global South is suffering from record rainfall and heat waves. Climate change is in the air. That's anthropogenicman-made – climate change. Let's stop kidding ourselves. Yet climate change is not yet part of the adult conversation of many Americans and other inhabitants of the Global North, addicted as they are to their consumerist lifestyles.

Speaking of consumerism, it seems that the Nike Corporation, in concert with marketing experts, have created a very potent combination of basketball shoes and advertising capable of turning millions of Americans into raving idiots. The psychopharmacology of this shoe/advertising combination hasn't been fully documented, but Nike has been able to induce rioting in several American cities over the release of their doofus shoes. Nike officials issued nuanced statements of public regret concerning the riots, yet privately, they were probably quite pleased – as the executives of Wal-Mart must have been pleased by the effectiveness of advertising powerful enough to induce crowds to trample one of their employees to death a couple of years ago.

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