“It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done”
― Kurt Vonnegut, “Breakfast of Champions”
Today is the birthday of comedian/actor Eddie Izzard. About twenty years ago, I sat directly across from him at a group dinner after one of his shows; he was a very nice and down-to-earth guy & I remember his sparkly blue fingernails. I had a contact with the theatre management & that’s how I got in. I wasn’t very familiar with his work at the time, so I wasn’t super starstruck. It was only in retrospect, years later, that I sort of marveled at the entire thing. Since then, I’ve seen him in several live performances.
I was going to write that Izzard has a very “complicated” relationship with gender expression, but I don’t think that is really accurate at all. Izzard lives his life dedicated to being who he is, in the moment. I suppose there is occasionally a lot of pressure all around him to narrow that all down to this or that. I think of David Bowie in the 1980s sort of changing his image and very self-consciously “separating” himself from his earlier androgyny. But in the end—Bowie could do that if he wanted. The same way Izzard lives his life and expresses himself the way he wants.
This is our life: what are we doing with it? Are we living it for ourselves or for everyone else?
A new book suggests that rather than being over-populated, the Earth is really in danger of not having enough people repopulate it. Empty Planet predicts that in three decades, the global population will be in decline—and never recover from it. The reason? I know it would sound very twee to boil it all down to “women got educated,” but that’s pretty much the conclusion the authors have come to.
Now, this is all very interesting, in that the prevailing attitude for the last 150 years or so has been that the Earth has too many damn people on it, and some of them gotta go. I mean…there’s an actual monument dedicated to this idea. But trends in birth rates and even levels of both male & female fertility seem to suggest otherwise.
Much of this “over-population” idea has its roots in esoteric thought. And by “esoteric,” I’ll throw in “religious” thought in general. The idea of the Rapture-type (Infinity War) event which cuts down the # of people; the idea of a “Golden Age” after the “wheat is sorted from the chaff” and only the True Believers are left. Then: the world will be an unending bounty and Heaven-On-Earth.
We can also chalk up this “population anxiety” to the myth of Atlantis—”explaining” the Great Flood by thinking it as the world not only being over-populated, but over-populated by mostly heathens and evil people. And so the Great Flood (or whatever that disaster was millennia ago) was not some rando event in a meaningless universe, but rather God punishing the wicked.
But these may all be “old” tropes at this point. The new trope may very well be: women are purposely refusing to “replenish” the Earth. Education and even technology will be blamed. You’ll have large Luddite movements “going back to basics” with the stated purpose of repopulating the planet; they’ll couple all this by refusing to vaccinate their children & use other forms of modern science and medicine. Then the population will dwindle even more.
And here’s another, parallel trope that I predict will have relevance to the Collective well within 20 years: parthenogenesis. I absolutely believe it. It’s going to be a wild future, folks.
A funny thing about me: I tend to sometimes only “experience” things after I write about them a long time afterwards.
I will write some bit about my life and go: “Oh, was I supposed to be UPSET because of that? Oh…yes, I could see how that would have been upsetting. Yes, that makes sense now.”
My creative writing professor in college said my work was too “extreme.” He suggested I write “slice of life” things instead. Then he found that stuff too extreme as well. I told him my literary idol was William Burroughs. He told me Burroughs was an untalented hack.
I got a C in that class, the only C I got (outside of a few “pass or fail” science & math courses) in my four-and-a-half years at the college. Which was a bit disconcerting, because I was hoping to major in Creative Writing. But I never took the next class in the sequence.
Instead, I took a concentration in Shakespearean Literature.
As I take care of some odds and ends at the moment, I might post less. I’m not sure. But I figured I’d just let you know.
Have a good Thursday & thank you for spending this time with me today.