Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Remembering Charley & the Great Blue


One of the final, in fact necessary corruptions of power and suppression is the need to see the exploited as being happy with its lot -- that it is the "natural" order of things.

When I was a kid, I was often subjected a commercial for tuna fish in cans. These tins were called "Chicken-of-the-SEA" because only the lightest flesh of the dead fish were packaged there.

Anyway, for the advertising hype, the figure of "Charley" was created.

Charley is a tuna who wants to get into a can of tuna. He tries all kind of cute tricks. But he always gets caught. You might say, he gets "canned" before he can get canned.

The commercial always ended with an admonition to poor "Charley" intoned by a well modulated, slightly bemused, off camera voice:

"It's no use, Charley, you're not good enough for Chicken-of-the-SEA!"

The idea, that the fish of the sea should be begging to get into our cans -- the obscenity of it!

Speaking of obscenity, how about the Great Blue?

Soon, children may not remember, but there used to be an animal that weighed as much as fifty elephants. Tyrannosaurus and other denizens of Jurassic Park would look like mice beside the Great Blue, which was hunted to near extinction in the middle of the 20th. Century. They are so few now that, when the effects of global climate change really kick in, they have even less chance of survival than we, ourselves.

As I understand it -- most of the meat went to make canned pet-food...
As I read the story of what we've done, and do,
my heart breaks in sorrow,
my head bows for shame!
We have killed all our yesterdays and tomorrows
and today, and today,
is bustin' into flame!

Some times I get the notion to try and make my stand
with one foot on the ocean
and the other on dry land.
I'd raise my hands and cry by that-which-never-dies:
that the time, that the time
has come to love and fear the name.

But, I don't have no rainbow to crown my ugly head,
or know just what the angel
in seven-thunders said!
I am just a cowboy from a far and distant land,
won't you please, won't you please
lend me a helping hand?

Way across the river, wide and deep,
you can lay down anywhere
and you can go to sleep.
without the violent coincidence of thieves!
for there is nothing
there which is not clean.

Between the dawn and day there is a place where I would stay,
where rosy-granite rocks are slowly washed
away by salty-spray
But you won't find it on a map or in these words I say,
"Doodly-dum, doodly-dum, doodly-dum-dum
diddle-dum-dye-doh!"

2 comments:

JamesRaven said...

Well said.

We often talk about our grandchildren and the complete ignorance in which their parents live about the environment, which as I've said before, is already over the cliff.

My grandson, who is five, will spend his adult years in incredibly violent seasons, possibly retreating coastlines, and a growing resentment that his pampered childhood never prepared him for his adulthood.

Chuck Cliff said...

Thanks, I just learned a new word today -- Lorax. It's a character in a Dr. Zeuss book I'd never heard of until today.

Unbelievably, this book from 1970 was frigging banned in some school libraries because it was about the enviroment (the Lorax speaks for the trees!) and therefore "controversial"

Sheesh! Dr. Zeuss banned!