By Daniel Isler
In his mesmerizing book “Freedom”, Jonathan Franzen delicately handles a sensitive but critical issue. He takes his protagonist to a journey into a large sustainability activists group, calling mainly for immediate actions to decrease the world’s population. Although being recognized as a genuine issue by sustainability scientists and social scientists – the subject of decreasing population is still a taboo in most parts of the world. Just think for a second about China’s one-child policy, forbidding more than one biological child for each couple of parents – and feel the repulse and intimidation we experience in light of such intervention to our personal decisions.
But this is by no means a new issue: warning signs were raised already over 200 years ago, namely by British scholar, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. In a nutshell, he showed and argued that while population growth is exponential by nature (2-4-8-16…), food and other resources grow arithmetically (1-2-3-4…). This observation means that if untouched, the population will outgrow its own fuel needed to live, and will unavoidably extinct. Although debated intensively over the last 200 years and often dismissed by other scholars – Malthusianism remains a central notion in the debate about global over population.
By Daniel Isler
Grotesque: adjective. “comically or repulsively ugly or distorted. incongruous or inappropriate to a shocking degree.” (Oxford Dictionaries).
A cute guy with a perfect nose comes out of a rain of confetti. He is accompanied by a robot-like figure, covered all in white and wearing a robot-mask. The cute guy is wearing a leopard print scarf and a red jacket. The crowd is ecstatic, just as it has been for the last two hours. What will the cute guy do next? This evening is full of surprises, and the crowd is hungry for another one. Surprisingly, the guy and the robot do not start dancing, twerking, or lighting a joint on stage. The cameras do not fly around them, no music is being heard. the guy addresses the audience, ask them for their attention: “um… I’d like to invite you to join me in a moment of silence for the people in the Philippines that are suffering because of this horrible typhoon that’s affected this country”. The audience is obviously baffled. This whole evening they are encouraged to party like there is no tomorrow. Now this pretty-boy wants them to be silent? The “moment” lasts 10 seconds, as it is clear that a lot of people in the crowd did not understand what he asked for, or worse – they did understand, but genuinely do not give a rat’s arse.
We salute you.
by Laura Vilaça
We all played make-believe when we were kids. Either playing ‘doctor’ or ‘house’, we spent our time enjoying a little role-play. Nowadays, this common childish activity has taken a turn and is now made into a business.
KidZania is a theme park built to scale for children, where kids are trained to be small entrepreneurs, little business people, ‘mommy’s capitalist’. In this play city, kids from four to twelve can choose whatever trade they prefer, having to perform that role during the time they’re playing make believe. There is a city flag, its own currency, a registry for nationality and a passport is given, celebrating “the day kids became independent as adults”. They celebrate bank holidays and hold a congress, where kids gather to make decisions concerning the city. The management describes their activities as based on the concept of ‘edutainment’, seeking to teach children values and rules of citizenship and helping them live a healthier societal life.
Hey, kids? He already looks pretty dead.
by Laura Vilaça
Capitalism is a subject that stirs feelings. As much as it moves money, it moves emotions: thousands of people gather in the streets to criticize it, while not-so-many-thousands (figuratively) pray in appreciation of the profit they make out of this system. However – and more than hate or an acute thankful sensation -, capitalism brings out beautiful romances.
Over thirty years ago, one of the most emblematic romances of our time was born: Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were protagonists of an ideological union based on politics and economy that changed the world. Sharing distrust on communism and highly possibly a plate of pasta (much like the scene in The Lady and The Tramp), they led in the direction of privatization and a firm affirmation of the West. While some of us were left to mild foreplay like whips and kisses, Thatcher and Reagan were playing world domination.
Instead of meatballs imagine them eating your publicly funded health care