Window of Opportunity Has Passed

Hurricane Irene is an entirely new–perhaps annoyingly postmodern–phenomenon. It is clearly the first of a super-breed of Eastern Seaboard mega-storms, caused by increasingly higher temperatures of the temperate area of the Middle Atlantic. It has a much wider swath than tropical hurricanes, and it brings with it the possibility of tornadoes, destructive torrential wind and rain. and severe ocean swelling that could cause potentially catastrophic coastal damage. If it doesn’t happen severely this time, it will in the future.
This hurricane followed me all the way from Puerto Rico. I left the island unknowing its imminent arrival, and only found out that it wasn’t going south of Ponce because of a by-chance viewing of the WAPA website. The power was already out in the campo and they were only vaguely aware that a directer-hit was possible. It left a CAT 1 and surprisingly ignored Florida only to begin a rapid ascent fueled by unusually warm Middle Atlantic waters. The campo lost power for five days.
Metaphorically, the storm is brining the dark energy of the economic recession, as well at the deterioration of regions like the Caribbean as the inevitable result of the neoliberal free trade policies imposed almost 20 years ago. It is bringing the tears and blood that flows in the streets of the repeating islands to the doormen-guarded gates of America’s Emerald City. Will New Yorkers finally feel Caribbean pain? Or will they smugly believe that they are New Yorkers and will survive anything?
Perhaps the material reality is being expressed in a strange immaterial poetry–wasn’t the last headline you may have remembered (besides the relentless Libya coverage) that Goldman-Sachs was close to being under federal investigation? Disaster capitalism is so far out of control that it doesn’t need to seed the clouds for its next catastrophic opportunity. What was once self-expanding value is now self-perpetuating crisis.
This storm is the confluence of the First World’s economic and environmental deterioration. All I know is that this is personal now.


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