In 1920, Erich Scheurmann translated into German the speeches of Samoan Chief’ Tuiavii from the village of Tiavea, a work called The Papalagi (The White People) that describes his impressions of European culture formed during a tour as part of a traveling show. Tuiavii’s depictions of the greed and hypocrisy of the civilized Europeans has become a post-hippie inspiration for a counterculture movement to break out of the rigid confines of corporate capitalism.
The Michael Moore-produced, Jeff Gibbs video, Planet of the Humans, uses the capitalism onslaught that has caused disaster across the planet as an Earth Day opportunity to lob spitballs at environmental movements and prominent advocates. While it can’t even manage any more cogent solutions than vague assertions about curbing population and over-consumption, it also fails to see the monster who stands before it: the system, which needs to be overcome, immediately.
An attempted coup is underway in Venezuela, call it what you like. While the Bolivarian Revolution has had its problems, U.S. sanctions have devastated its economy and people. Negotiations led by Mexico, Uruguay, and the Vatican are the only sane way forward.
Welcome to the Anthropocene age, where humans have transmogrified the planet, its oceans and atmosphere, caused mass extinctions and wholesale contamination that will remain for millennia. Beyond the politicians and scientists, the way forward remains in the hands of writers, artists, and designers taking inspiration from wild earth in a movement called Geo-Fauvism.
B. Traven, German underground author, anarchist and writer of the Treasure of Sierra Madre, purposely obscured his origins to evade consequences from his revolutionary past in Germany and to stoke his literary mystery that hinged upon his words: “An author should have no other biography than his books.”
The Kogi People of Colombia, through two separate documentaries, delivered a message of a sustainable interconnection with nature and community as a way to avert climate and ecological destruction.
Guy Zimmerman, in reviewing the new Wall Street film The Big Short, muses on the desperate conformity required in today’s entertainment in this new Gilded Age of oligarchy and disempowerment that has overtaken culture in the U.S.