Etcetera as a catastrophe

–I suppose many think that an idea—like “catastrophe”—isn’t responsible for those who believe in it, but that misses the point when professing ideas—as when “catastrophizing”—embody intentions and intentions are part of the act.

Let’s then say one piece of good news is when catastrophizing trips over into kitsch, i.e., presenting itself as so-immediately-awful you can’t keep your eyes off it. There are religious ceremonies and then there is the Nazi kitsch of the Nuremberg rallies. There are parades and then there is the communist kitsch of May Day. There is Greek tragedy, and then there is French farce. There’s Venus de Milo and then there are Venus de Milo salt and pepper shakers.

–So too there is crisis kitsch, as in: “Policymakers need to worry about those other factors—societal, political, economic, historical, cultural, geographical, governmental, psychological, technological, ethical, religious, etc etc—that are so undeniably central to our lives.” As in: The very same people who question the use of GDP as a measure of human health and the environment end up being among the first to urge “Increase government budgets by x% of GDP for health and the environment and social protection and this and that, and more, etcetera. . .”

That is say, things are critical enough to note but need no further mention because, well, it appears all the other stuff should have seized our attention by this time. This is about as helpful as planting liberty trees was to spreading the French Revolution.

–But even here someone can say kitsch is its own kind of catastrophe. Or if you prefer, the only way crisis kitsch comes across as serious is when the grudges behind all those etcetera’s are kept under wraps. Grudges? Those contingencies, which have no specialisms, must end–or so we are told–where the catastrophists stand: There is no alternative. reallyReally. WeCanDoNoOther. How better to insult our intelligence?

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