Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Make Room! Make Room! The world of Soylent Green isn’t all that far away

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Way, way back in the 1990s I was dating a woman who was fond of saying, “Not enough intelligent people are having babies.” And while it might be true that any trip through a local Wally World or listening to folks in an all-you-can-eat buffet line might make us nod our heads in agreement, it isn’t that far a move to:

“Not enough white people are having babies.”

We’ve probably all heard that one before, though I’m not sure what they mean by that.

“There aren’t enough Christians having babies.” God, the crap you have to read on the Internet! Though I am pleased to report that the Duggars _ the family whose males have their fingers perpetually on the “send” key in their bids for media attention - are highly praised on some websites for bringing both more Christians and more white babies into the world.

Go, team!

Basically, it always comes down to this:

They are having more babies than We are. If We want to safeguard our way of life - you know, overpopulation, poverty, the war on natural resources - we’d better get cracking!

I recently reread Harry Harrison’s novel Make Room! Make Room!, which was the basis for Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson. No real spoilers here - there is no Soylent Green in the book, though eating people might be preferable to some of the crap that folks eat in the world that Harrison has created.

It’s a story about folks who won’t take responsibility, who think that dropping babies at the drop of a hat bears no relation to the destruction of their own lives or the planet. It’s a far grimmer story than the film. Harrison saw it all coming - the homeless problem, people sleeping in cars, and battling for control of resources like water.

He saw the hopelessness that could control such a society.

One of the more important points the book touches upon is birth control, and the refusal of society to deal with it. When Congress considers opening birth control centers - not abortion centers, but merely places where birth control devices can be gotten - there are frenzied “Save our Babies!” rallies across the country.

The end of the novel; takes placeon New Year’s Eve, 1999. As 2000 begins, electronic screens declare:

Census says United States had biggest year ever end of century.


344 million citizens in these great United States.

Happy New Year!

Today’s actual numbers? In 2010, we stand at 308,367,109. Not that far to go, as the crow flies.

In fiction, as in reality, Congress is oblivious to the disaster facing the country. Water and food shortages, the housing crisis, no jobs, and idiot members of that August body still issue the same rancid cliches about how America is the greatest country in the world, and will soon solve all of our problems.

In the meantime . . .

******

Quote of the Day

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work it’s way through Congress. - Will Rogers

*****

Jean Luc Picard: The most disrespected captain in Starfleet?

A few months ago I picked up The Nitpicker’s Guide for next Generation Trekkers. It’s an old book, but still kind of fun.

The writer, Phil Farrand, makes a point I had never considered before. It’s awfully damned hard for Jean Luc Picard to get a straight answer from his crew. For example, when he asks a member of an Away Team what is happening on a planet’s surface, the answer is often, “I think you’d better get down here and see for yourself.”

The worst example is when Picard will ask Riker what is happening, and he replies with a terse, “Trouble.”

Say what?

I’m sorry, but do you think that James T. Kirk would have put up with that crap? Ben Sisko? Janeway? Archer? Okay, sure he’s kind issues - he’s a Frenchman who speaks with an English accent, for crying out loud - but you have to draw the line here, Picard.

Make it so.

rsdrake@cox.net

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