Ring Around the Tub–Gulf Oil Spill

It is neither new nor unusual for Man’s industry to despoil the Earth. We have seen it for centuries. Some ecologists assert that the Sahara Desert exists due to overgrazing of the once lush savannah of Northern Africa. The deforestation of Europe is blamed for worldwide climate change. Entire river systems have been choked, clogged and poisoned in the name of commerce. Our smokestacks and tailpipes have fouled the atmosphere to the point where the polar ice-caps are melting because they are cooking under a blanket of carbon dioxide. Whole species have been slaughtered, starved or hunted to extinction. It’s all part of the cost of doing business on Terra Firma. We should be used to it by now.

All excesses can be excused on the cosmic plane. Depending on how far we step back on the temporal scale, it doesn’t really matter what we do. Empires rise and fall, civilizations flourish and fade, ice ages freeze and defrost, continents float around, asteroids play billiards with the planets, solar systems blink on and off, galaxies collapse or explode all without apparent concern for human endeavor. But we live in our own vapor-thin slice of history and thus are worried with our own temporary and petty affairs, births and deaths, prosperity and famine, fashions, fads and local weather, marriages and divorces, traffic tickets and lawsuits. And when someone pisses in our swimming pool or lets their dog crap on our carefully tended lawn, we take it personally. It matters.

If you’ve ever lived in an urban commune or even in a nuclear family you know how irritating it can be to find a disgusting ring in the bathtub. It’s a symbol of lack of community awareness. It screams that someone has no respect for the general welfare or hygiene. Well, we are about to see the biggest bathtub ring of our lifetimes. The Gulf oil spill will ultimately soil the beaches and foul the estuaries of our entire hemisphere and god only knows what damage will be done to coral reefs and fisheries. The maddening and insulting part of this petro-debacle is that our entire world ecology will suffer because of the botched enterprise of a few greedy and careless people seeking to enrich themselves by tapping our earth’s common resources.

Prepare yourselves to witness the most elaborate dance of mea non-culpa in the history of mankind. Nobody wants to own this one. It could possibly be the biggest mess ever made by human agency and nobody is likely to rush forward to accept the liability of cleaning it up. Already the creators of the disaster are pointing fingers at each other and the government, and soon they will be trying to transfer blame to Mother Nature or to God Himself. The legendary levels of legal legerdemain that we witnessed in the Exxon Valdez incident which ultimately allowed the most profitable corporation in the world to walk the check on that cleanup are about to be compounded a hundredfold. The fix is already in because oil industry lobbyists have arranged for a 75 million dollar cap on liability in anticipation of an event such as this. We will likely allow them to get away with it too, because corporations are amazing creatures. They are ‘people’ when they want to realize profits or make campaign contributions but when it comes time to pay the piper for their rapacious practices or foul fuck-ups they conveniently disappear or morph into pristine new financial entities. It’s magic.

So, when you are eating synthetic shrimp or trying to water-ski on an oil slick or surf around the tarballs in Tampa Bay, you should ask the question, Who is going to pay to clean up this mess? The answer is probably the usual one. You are. Unless our government has the oysters to take the obvious precaution of freezing the assets of BP, Halliburton and Transocean, the corporate street gangs who pissed in the pool, and unless it is done Right Now, before they either disappear into a void of litigation or move their money further offshore than their oil rigs, you will get the bill.

The Earth doesn’t care. It’s had a dirty face before. All washes off. On a geological scale it hardly matters. The planet is hemorrhaging now but it will certainly recover. But on a human scale, our environment has already been raped by greed and carelessness and now we are about to be robbed as well. The only way to prevent this is to Freeze The Assets of the corporations responsible. Don’t let them leave a ring around the tub.

“We don’t swim in your toilet, Please don’t pee in our pool.”

I peed in the pool and I liked it
It saved me a trip to the toilet
I peed in the pool ‘stead of waiting
I hope they’ve been chlorinating
It felt so warm
It felt so right
It helped resolve my stage fright
I peed in the pool and I liked it
I liked it

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