The Dragon, the Shark and the Elephant

            ‘I want to recommend a book I’ve just read by Ben Rhodes, Obama’s former speech writer. After Trump’s election Ben travelled the world, visiting former politicians and friends he made in the eight years working at the centre of power. It’s very insightful and he is able to explain a lot of what is going on, how social media is able to shape peoples mind and what motivates politicians like Putin and Xi. I highly recommend it,’ Camp said, taking a sip from his pint.

            ‘When do you have time to read?’ Isn’t summer the busy season?’

            ‘There are always lulls between the onrush of crowds and I consider reading working, sampling the wares I sell.’

            ‘If you say so.’

‘Rhodes points out that while the XXth century was about ideology, the XXIst one is about identity,’ Camp said, ‘and this identity is constructed from inward looking nationalism, flag bearing and partisan patriotism and a revisionist history. More and more we’re pulled into a nationalistic and fascist maelstrom that is promoted by a slew of US- social media which is gobbling up all the advertising, away from print media and even TV. We know that and don’t seem to do anything about it. We always blame the Other for our societal failings. It’s the foreigner’s fault, the Jews, the brown and black migrants, or these days the liberals and socialists who is anybody not in the neo-con camp.  No matter if it’s inflation, skyrocketing Real estate prices or even climate change. It’s all the Other’s fault.’

‘I guess we’re part of these Other’s then. I’m a liberal social democrat, read established print media and do not subscribe to any social media platform.’

‘We’re now the minority,’ Camp said, ‘and it’s also generational. Millenials are all connected and that electronic connectivity is their religion. It tells them how to live, what to buy, read and believe.’

We finished our beers which go down easy in this heat. Unlike other parts of the world like Europe, Asia and the US Midwest we’re enjoying perfect summer weather. Not too hot or humid, just comfy mid-twenties sunny days. And yet, the unrelenting heat wave in places like England, Southern Europe or even Switzerland is worrying.’

‘That my friend, is the elephant in the room, worse than the dragon in Beijing or the shark in the Kremlin. This could be the coldest summer for the rest of our lives and the trend will continue, at least until 2060, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), despite all the half-hearted efforts to slow the persistent warming trends.’

            ‘According to a recent government study Canada is amongst the top ten countries, most at risk from climate change with a risk index just slightly higher than Rwanda and India. The worst affected is Japan.

            Dinosaurs lived for 175 million years before they died out about 55 mio years ago, Homo sapiens have barely made it past 50’000 years, a mere blip in cosmic terms but with a tremendous impact thanks to their success in subjugating and exploiting nature. We’re a very successful animal by all accounts,’ Camp pointed out with a whiff of sarcasm.

            ‘ To our detriment as it turns out,’ I said.

            ‘Ready for another one?’ Vicky asked while swapping our empties. 

            ‘Is the pope catholic?’ Camp offered as a lame joke.

            ‘Who is this pope anyway?’ Vicky said, shaking her blonde ponytail side to side and then answered her own rhetorical question. ‘An old celibate man with no clue how to raise a family or work for a living.’

            ‘Well, he made a full apology to the First Nations for the church’s involvement in the catastrophic Residential School policy,’ Camp said.

            ‘Yeah, I guess this means something to a lot of people but it’s the future I’m worried about, not so much the past which is never what they say it was.’

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