November 23, 2008

Hairshirt Green

Bruce Sterling says goodbye to all that:

"Hairshirt-green is the simple-minded inverse of 20th-century consumerism. Like the New Age mystic echo of Judaeo-Christianity, hairshirt-green simply changes the polarity of the dominant culture, without truly challenging it in any effective way. It doesn't do or say anything conceptually novel – nor is it practical, or a working path to a better life." -The Last Viridian Note by Bruce Sterling

Posted by Vanderleun at November 23, 2008 12:32 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

As someone who recently lugged hundreds of books across several states, I wonder how Sterling would view them as possessions. The more text is available on the Web, the more ludicrous the extensive and incredibly cumbersome personal book library seems. Yet they are beautiful to me, and all have their subtle emotional connotations.

Posted by: Novalis at November 23, 2008 3:42 PM

My dad taught me this as a child:

"Have you seen it or used it in 6 months? Will you need it in the next 6 months? No? Throw it out!"

When he died, I kept his books, his guns and his ammo reloading equipment. Everything else got thrown out.

When I die, I hope my kids only keep the stuff I use--my books, my bagpipe, my guns and my ammo reloading equipment.

I notice he didn't mention 'guns'. That's an unforgivable oversight. Nothing is more "Viridian" and sustainable than a good gun. You should have:

a scoped rifle for hunting,
a shotgun for hunting and two-legged critters,
a good military firearm of current use and caliber of the country you live in,
a large caliber handgun for defense
and a small caliber handgun for when you don't wanna carry the big one.

The army is really good at teaching this spirit--with deployments and moving your family every year to 3 years.... No one is more "Glocal" that an American GI.

Y'know, just never mind--this whole "Viridian" thing was just about teaching metrosexuals and sci-fi geeks common redneck wisdom. Fuck 'em.

Posted by: Gray at November 23, 2008 6:14 PM

"They cling to guns and bagpipes because they're angry!" ;-)

Posted by: Stephen B at November 23, 2008 8:35 PM

Jeez, what a pile... and no pony.

Posted by: chuck at November 23, 2008 9:22 PM

Neo-socialist claptrap. Ignore people who complain about ecological sustainability/ global warming, because they are looking for problems and not for solutions. Funny how the West is living in the most prosperous times ever, and everyone thinks things are bad and getting worse. At least my collegues from India seem to think live is good and getting better (although the financial crisis may impact that).

That being said: tools. Mixed in my dads toolbox are some of my grandfathers tools. Certainly not the nicest, as they are worn down with use, but using a hammer that has seen use for 50 years certainly has emotional value.

Posted by: Daran at November 24, 2008 2:57 AM

While there is some scant utility in Sterling's essay, (yes it doesn't take much to live well these days), the essay really doesn't make sense for those of us who do not live Sterling's lifestyle.

And of course he didn't mention guns. He's moving around waaaaaay too much. Guns are for those who actually live somewhere.

Posted by: Eric Blair at November 24, 2008 4:08 PM

"Jeez, what a pile... and no pony"


Bruce Sterling has a long history of techno-socialist-crackpot assertions. I suspect that he is lacking in certain common human feelings and cannot believe that the rest of us would prefer to live our own lives, not his.

Posted by: pst314 at November 24, 2008 6:08 PM