While Rome Burns…

          More often than not a photo or work of art captures a moment in history far better than any words can.  I think this one does just that.  It is of a golf course in Oregon during the recent fires that have plunged much of the west into one of the worst disasters in its history.  The players may be oblivious or the fire may not be near enough to them to pose any immediate danger, but it is a striking metaphor for our times nonetheless.
          For years many Americans have been sleepwalking into a climate changed world. It has become common in the culture for scientists to be ridiculed and even persecuted, shattered record after shattered record to be normalized and then forgotten, and the looming catastrophes to be minimized or obscured by political jargon and corporate legalese. It is a bizarre concoction of indifference, privilege and cognitive dissonance.
          Now with the west in flames, the Gulf coast submerged and the east preparing to be pummeled by a monster of a storm it seems that the entrenched obstinance that has been allowed to fester is becoming even more intransigent. And it makes images like this one all the more surreal.
          It is almost like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Only there are millions of Neros. And this time the whole world is on fire.
~ Kenn Orphan  2017
(Photo credit: Golf Digest via Oregon Live)

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