Not Interested in Global Warming

Michael Beard, aging Nobel laureate and wholesale curmudgeon, was initially not very interested in the issue of global warming. Before he realized there was opportunity at hand, here’s what he thought of it:

There was an Old Testament ring to the forewarnings, an air of plague-of-boils and deluge-0f-frogs, that suggested a deep and constant inclination, enacted over the centuries, to believe that one was always living at the end of days, that one’s own demise was urgently bound up with the end of the world and therefore made more sense, or was just a little less irrelevant. The end of the world was never pitched in the present, where it could be seen for the fantasy it was, but just around the corner, and when it did not happen, a new issue, a new date, would soon emerge. The old world purified by incendiary violence, washed clean by the blood of the unsaved–that was how it had been for Christian millennial sects: death to the unbelievers! And for Soviet Communitist: death to the kulaks! And for Nazis and their thousand-year fantasy: death to the Jews! And then the truly democratic contemporary equivalent, an all-out nuclear war: death to everyone! When that did not happen, and after the Soviet empire had been devoured by its internal contradictions, and in the absence of any other overwhelming concern beyond boring, intransigent global poverty, the apocalyptic tendency had conjured yet another beast.

From Solar, by Ian McEwan (published 2010).

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Published in: on November 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I love this blog and this whole idea. Have read several pages of your snippets – all terrific. Going now to bookmark the feed.


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