200: The Long Defeat

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http://c-realmpodcast.podomatic.com/entry/2010-04-07T00_56_32-07_00

In this 200th episode of the C-Realm Podcast, KMO blends content from Corey Olsen (AKA the Tolkien Professor), James Howard Kunstler, and Doug Lain of the Diet Soap podcast to concoct a brew that mixes fantasy, politics, and personal narrative. What can the long defeat of the elves of Middle-Earth tell us about our societal psychology of previous investment? Is it noble to fight a battle that cannot be won, or does finding our direction begin with abandoning our long-held ambitions?

Music by Woodland 5-Track.

  • http://warnwood.livejournal.com/ warnwood

    I went to a meeting of our local neighborhood council Monday evening. Neighborhood councils are essentially politically powerless entities created in Los Angeles after the San Fernando Valley threatened to secede from the rest of the metropolis in 2002 and take its tax base with it. Neighborhood councils are populated by the same sorts of civic busybodies who like to run for seats and pound gavels on the tables of condo boards and homeowners associations, but they do occasionally get the ear of the local City Councilperson, who actually showed up this past Monday evening to deliver some good and bad news.

    This Councilperson had just that day participated in voting down a rate hike for the local Department of Water and Power, after the DWP threatened to withhold $73 million dollars it owes the city unless the Council acquiesced to its demands. The City Council, suitably incensed by what they correctly viewed as extortion, told them to shove it and hand over the 73 mil – that was the “good” news. The bad news was that the city is broke (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars), and the mayor has threatened to shut down non-revenue producing activities and services (like, for example, libraries and parks) for two days out of every week to make up for the shortfall. Otherwise, after May 5th, nobody in city government will be getting paid. The situation, as I write, is still at a stalemate.

    Someone asked, “Why don’t we just acknowledge the obvious, go bankrupt and wipe the slate clean? Recognize that this is the new normal and reorganize for a more appropriate scale of operation, instead of constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul and hoping things will be better next year?” The Councilman responded that this was all just a lot of political posturing on the part of the DWP (and, in the background, the mayor); that we’ve just hit a bit of a rough patch here, as has the rest of the world’s economy; and that if we all just band together, remain firm, and draw on the enormous voluntary creative energies of neighborhood councils – ordinary folks like ourselves – we can manage to squeak through this little bottleneck over the next couple of years and emerge stronger once the national economy recovers its former vitality.

    Elsewhere, I read where a local group of Hollywood businessmen is looking for federal funding to put a cement cover over a mile or so of the Hollywood Freeway (essentially converting it into a tunnel) and plant a park on top, though I suppose if present budgetary conditions persist, we’d only be able to keep it open a couple of days a week. Ah, witness the awesome power of the psychology of previous investment!

    In other news, on the same day, a report came out saying that the state of California is contractually on the hook for pension payments to the tune of $500 billion dollars. This is in addition to its current $20 billion dollar annual budget shortfall. That’s “billion”, not “million”. Looking forward to your next visit yet?

    Congratulations on producing the 200th edition of the C-Realm Podcast, KMO. I especially appreciated the Tolkein lore.

  • http://l33tminion.livejournal.com/ l33tminion

    (You missed a “http://” on that Diet Soap Podcast link.)

    An excellent episode. And congratulations!

    Coincidentally, I’d just started working my way through the Diet Soap Podcast archives, so the content of this episode was well timed.