Friday, 15 October 2010

Thursday 14th October: Bandwagon (or: Minecart!) Jumping!


The subject of the Chilean miners being freed has been used by every blogging idiot in the world for the last couple of days. I now add myself to this pathetic bunch by talking about it as well. I'm nothing if not desperate for more google searches.

I was talking to some people ('Aw, bless. Speak to other people, did you?' ..yeah? 'So you CAN speak to other people, and not just the nameless, faceless internet which doesn't shout at you and calls you a pathetic loser every other minute' No I can do that myself, thank you very much) and the subject quickly turned to the Chilean miners. But after the usual words of empathy with the miners and their families, people started talking about what it would be like if you yourself would be stuck in there. Everyone has a story about that. Everyone likes to think they'd behave nobly in such a predicament. I blame Daniel Defoe (next on the reading list btw). But people, being people, tend not to do that.

For seventeen days, the miners were cut off completely from the outside world. In these seventeen days they had to make due with a teaspoon of tuna a day for food, and eachother for company. Knowing nothing about their families, the mania which would make them arguably Chile's most successful export since Isabel Allende and the jokes about miners having sex underground made on twitter.

Meanwhile, we were more interested in ourselves, how we would cope with a teaspoon of tuna a day. What would we do? Would we catch bugs and blind amphibians (if they're around, which, it being the Atacama desert and the driest place on earth; they probably wouldn't)? Would we start licking the rocks for minerals like a camel does? Would we eat one of our number? Would we hide his remains in the back of the mine, use the old feather boa we bought for our Better Midler-theme party to dress him up as a budgie and say: Oh, it was that old carbon monoxide again, never mind. But could hunger actually drive you to that horrible state? What would be the threshold between civilisation and cannibalism? And after how many days? Two, probably. I don't really like fish.

That's the main thing I believe. Hunger is something so alien to most people nowadays that they wonder if, after a days' deprivation of it, people would go feral. This state of starvation-induced ferocity is frankly unrealistic, because if it were true that hunger would drive people mental in that way, Jonathan Swift would have been right and the world's overpopulation would be far less taxing on the environment. (see, I could have had a cheap shot at anorexia-sufferers, but I went for a literary reference. I am brilliant, I know. Bow before me, you cattle. No, you can't, I forgot, cows lack specific joints most animals use for kneeling, such as knees*).

In the meantime, the media has tried to convince the world, through the near death of more than 30 people; that life isn't as bad as it sometimes looks. Yes there may be famine, racism, abuse, violence, war, terrorism, a broken economy and a dying planet but hey, the world can be a wonderful place. LOOK AT THOSE PEOPLE HUGGING THEIR FAMILIES! CRY FOR YOUR OWN DEATHS! BUY OUR STUFF NOW!!!

That was pretty satirical, wasn't it (in that bad 1970s way that it has. I am ashamed of myself. Happy now?)? Ah well. Best of luck to the Chilean (and one Bolivian) miners anyway (although I think if you're reading this crap, you're wasting your time. See you tomorrow for something less angry, I imagine.

* not true. I saw a wildebeest bow for baby Simba in the Lion King®, so a cow must be able to, surely. That film was right about everything.

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