Boys will play with toys. And as the boys get older the toys get bigger. The boys at BP have the biggest and the newest toys in the world. Sometimes boys will get into trouble playing with their toys.
The Poet’s Eye squints into the past. One of my high-school buddies was Don Purdy. Don always had the best toys in the neighborhood. His daddy had long bucks and it’s a good thing too because when Don just couldn’t resist pulling pre-dawn wheelies on the sixteenth green of the local golf course with his brand new motorcycle, the delicate and manicured links ecology was horrendously damaged and putting such a pedigreed landscape back to its pristine condition was not a cheap affair. It was a classic case of boys getting into trouble with their toys.
BP has some big toys. No, they are HUGE stadium-sized toys. And the boys have gotten themselves into Big Trouble playing carelessly with them. The world watches helplessly as the planet hemorrhages and the cruel realization is starting to set in that the same vandals who caused the injury are the only ones equipped to stop the bleeding. The frustration builds because the entire world of governments and industry and citizens and media feels utterly helpless and they ARE helpless because no matter how much we want Barak Obama to grow an S on his chest and fly down to the bottom of the ocean holding one mighty breath that he uses to blow the oil back into the mantle, the fact is that BP has the only toys that can function a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico where the pressure will crush a Mercedes Benz into a roller skate.
It is already apparent that there has been failure on the triage level. No preparations had been made to deal with a catastrophe this vast. The patient is bleeding to death and the emergency room staff is running amok trying to decide who is on duty. No wonder everyone feels helpless. If someone’s femoral artery is severed, it takes them about three minutes to bleed out. This presents a certain sense of urgency. Before the victim can be saved, the bleeding must first be stopped. It’s not the time to quibble with insurance papers and future liability. Let’s get the clamps on this squirter! How do we do this? A good start would be to treat it like our shores were being attacked because, well, our shores Are being attacked by a monster blob of oil. Obama should immediately nationalize all of BP’s toys and put a stern but reasonable general like Colin Powell at the head of a military task-force charged with the mission of capping that well.
I know, I know, what we want to see is Barak Obama wading up out of the surf onto the beach in the Plaquemine looking like Denzel Washington in a war movie dripping wet with an oil slick running down his glistening pectorals. We want to see a knife between his teeth for the corporations. We want to see him acting more like Rambo and less like Rimbaud.
The oil leak is potentially the most potent political meme since the iconic image of the towers falling on 9-11. Those jerky images from the mile-deep webcam showing the continuous plume of nasty oil belching into the virgin deep will be the most powerful symbol of this generation. A symbol for what? Besides the obvious things like how it’s not nice to fuck with Mutha Naychah and how unbridled greed can damage the world that we hold in common, the spill is a symbol of the high cost of our oil culture and a symbol of how poorly large organizations like governments and corporations respond to emergencies. This is the meme that will emerge shining from the sludge. If Obama wants to be a superhero, he will seize this once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Don’t waste this crisis! This is the perfect chance to mobilize our society to a complete conversion to renewable clean energy. Oh sure, a few pelicans will have to die miserable greasy suffocating deaths on reality TV before we see change but maybe some of their relatives will still be around to enjoy the estuaries once they reform about the bases of coastal wind turbines.
The Poet’s eye sees a vision of Quixote tilting at an horizon of windmills, huge windmills bigger than oil rigs, so huge that they look like toy pinwheels on the edge of the sea. All poets are little boys. Could the answer be Bigger Toys?