Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Another man's poison

The content below may not load properly on the mobile devices which are increasingly used to access this blog, but remember Centerpointethemovie, which I published about a year and a half ago?  My husband put it together by image-processing low-altitude aerial photographs, and it shows the progressive build-out of the eastern section of our subdivision over a ten-year period (linked through to this Youtube):
I had to refer back to that in order to launch off a Houston Chronicle piece which, in turn, references an entry by The Atlantic in which some guy imagines that maybe he has done something original and meaningful by creating the same type of image progression, only his version encompasses greater Houston in its entirety:
Oh ye of little technical skill: I can't seem to embed the thing in a frame, so this is the GIF image courtesy of The Atlantic.  The little smudge represented by Centerpointethemovie is somewhere in the lower right hand corner. 
What's striking about this effort is not the content but the judgments rendered in conjunction with it.  The author deems this visible build-out to be "devastating" and likens the resulting image impression to the growth of "slime mold".

Devastating in what specific ways?  Devastating to what, exactly?  Where is the substantiation?  Most importantly, where is the alternate proposal as to how this development should have progressed, in the author's view?  Greater Houston added one million people between 1990 and 2000  - where ought our newcomers have decided to live if not where those newly-developed areas are visible in the photo? 

Decrying a situation without proposing a viable alternative is not an existentially valid process.  Not only does that kind of practice not further the debate, it's actually worse than not saying anything at all, because in producing nothing new while consuming attention, it simply wastes everyone's time and energy which would be far better spent contemplating possible solutions. 

I'm the first one to admit that population growth poses balance challenges - I did that originally with Centerpointethemovie and I did it again just yesterday.  But to liken families with children and hard-working suburbanites to "slime mold" only makes people feel bad and sets our collective social evolution back a small but meaningful step.  When you make people feel bad, they tend to just retreat mentally and emotionally, and as a result of this, less gets accomplished overall, which is a fine result to be cultivated by an author of national visibility (linkback me please, as microscopic as I am) who presumably believes that he cares about "the planet".

From a local perspective, this particular rant couldn't be more timely, because today is the fundraising deadline for the Deer Park Prairie...
...and the organizers have apparently not raised the $4 million needed to save it from a suburban developer's bulldozer and concrete. 

Screengrabbed from this Bayou Land Conservancy site
Perhaps if environmentalists didn't have a long-standing inclination to disparage "slime mold" suburbanites to the point of prompting people to tune out, there might have been more public interest in this initiative, which is an important one.  Basically what happened is that amateur naturalists recently discovered a 53-acre remnant of virgin prairie in the City of Deer ParkBayou Land Conservancy has been trying to raise the money to preserve it and turn it into an educational center.  You would think that in a wealthy metro area of almost six million slime-molders, a sum like that could be raised, especially given the resulting media blitz (e.g., here, here, here, here, and here).  But if you're a slime-molder, you're already damned, right?  So why bother even thinking about developmental balance? 

Rant concluded for this morning.  Have a slime-free suburban day. 
I did a post on this particular suburban slime mold in February 2012, but its morphological resemblance to Harris County, Texas was purely coincidental.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm forced to moderate comments because the spammers have become too much for me to keep up with. If you have a legitimate comment, I will post it promptly. Sorry for the inconvenience.