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WHY THE ENVIRONMENT

DOESN'T MATTER

Toxic Waste, Radiation Lead to Darwinian Ideal
by Al Uthman



For a long time, I have been one of those confused but well-meaning souls, the kind who worry about the future of the global ecosystem. It was clear to me: uncaring industrial tycoons were spreading toxic filth throughout the planet, seriously endangering the life and longevity of all species, including my own. Yet the powers that be refused to make any real substantive moves to halt the process, or even reduce the rate at which it increases every day. Nowadays, things are "worse" than ever, with our great nation'NHs leadership apparently abandoning already weakened environmental safeguards. To the untrained eye, I can see that it would certainly seem our nation is being run by corrupt politicians, friends of garbage-spewing fossil fuel industries, and that they are wantonly ruining the planet in the greedy pursuit of immediate profits.

I now realize, however, that nothing could be further from the truth. My old assumptions were wrong, as I have deduced by way of my rigorous TV-watching schedule. One program, in particular, about the rising incidence of birth defects in humans, piqued my interest for a few minutes, but the visuals were a bit off-putting, so I flipped on over to CNN. They happened, coincidentally, to be airing a story on the rising incidence of oddly mutated frogs and fish, some with two heads, five legs, etc, in regions of the United States. These images were more interesting to me, but the blame for both trends was put squarely on the same shoulders: industrial pollution, and the escalating levels of toxins in the environment.

Again I pondered the question: were ourleaders insane? What possible reason could they have to continue to allow such madness? Certainly the idea of stricter emissions regulations might scare some coal industry CEOs, but how could that be enough to offset imperiling the future of the entire planet and everyone on it? I just didn't make any sense; there had to be more to it.

As I watched, it occurred to me that "birth defects" and "mutations" are really two sides of the same coin. Both phrases connote that somehow, an organism's DNA has changed, forever altering the organism's structure, usually to its detriment, or even death. But without such random, and often cruel, mutations, the adaptive process we call evolution would not be possible-that's just how it works. For every million mutated frogs with superfluous parts, there would be one with a newly useful trait-maybe wings, or a longer tongue, or a larger brain. Whatever it was, it would be a trait which strengthened the specimen's ability to survive, as in the famous case of the proliferation of anomalous black moths in the sooty town of Liverpool. The new trait would flourish, and soon would grow to be a new, better-adapted variation of the species, ready to face the challenges of a new world. It works the same way with all species, including our own.

Suddenly, an epiphany: pollution and radiation increase the rate of mutation, thereby actually speeding up the process of evolution. More mutations equal more diversity, which equals more new species!

Think about it for a second. Go ahead.

I knew that Bush was a religious man, and held his faith close to his heart. Despite any creationist misgivings he may have, the truth is that many Christians believe in evolution, with the condition that God himself made the rules, and set the system turning in the first place. Bush was also a believer in getting things done, in as efficient a manner as possible, with a minimum of deliberation. If he believed in evolution, he might just want to smooth the process along any way he could-for the greater good of America, of course.

Slowly it began to dawn on me that Bush and his cabinet may not be the corporate prostitutes I imagined them to be. If that's what they've been up to (and it is the most reasonable explanation I have heard), the Bush administration would have to be the most forward-thinking and benevolent group of luminaries ever assembled. Think about it all: Relaxed emissions regulations, depleted uranium, SUVs, WMDs-they all make sense in this context. Now I can see it. The White House, formerly an object of my scorn and hatred, is actually a steering committee for God's plan, hastening a new day of better, more perfect beings than ourselves, who will be able to survive and reproduce long after the increasingly caustic environment destroys vulnerable prototypes such as you and I. It would appear that Dick Cheney is the driving force behind this bold endeavor, and it only makes sense, considering his charmingly roach-like demeanor.

The overzealous secrecy? Explained. You can't trust a bunch of underdeveloped primates to understand the mission, let alone think objectively enough to approve of it. Diebold's tricky touch-screen voting machines make sense to me now for the same reason: our under-challenged species mustn't be allowed to "abort" the unborn superior races of the future, denying their basic right to life.

Total disregard for global warming? Explained. The melting icecaps will raise water levels and temperatures around the globe, bringing us closer to the primodial ooze form which all life originates.

Honestly, I don't know whether to be amazed at the ingenious vision that Bush seems hell bent on realizing, or to be amazed that I and so many others have been unable to comprehend it. All of these seemingly idiotic policies, all catalyzing the adaptive process, and making all forms of life fit, fitter, and eventually fittest. Even as I write this, I fear for the safety of our nation's noble mission, but I am somewhat reassured by the relative obscurity of this publication. In fact, it seems more likely that most readers of this paper will imagine this article to be an elaborate joke, than that they would take it seriously and truly consider the paradigm-shifting ramifications of my argument. But they should be considered, if only to ease the troubled minds of environmental activists and those who support them, among whose ranks I was so recently a member. I must tell you, life has been much better for me since my conversion to the pro-pollution view. No more wincing at yet another story of a burning river, a toxic dump site, or a tumor-inducing cell phone. All of that is good news now, another blow in the battle for ideal biology. The pro-pollution view turns the world on its head, and, from that perspective, every move the Bush administration makes seems forthright, reasoned, even wise. It's quite reassuring, really. Plus, I never give recycling a second thought, and pouring paint thinner into a sewer grate has never felt so good. Every time I burn my garbage, I know I'm doing my part for the environment-the right environment, hard but fair, testing the competence of all God's creatures.

So relax, all you eco-terrorists; your children may not survive, but they'll be replaced by something better and stronger. Your descendants will most likely remember you fondly for the executive policies of today, despite your lack of exoskeletons. Chill out, tree-huggers, and go start a tire fire. Or maybe just leave your car idling outside your house overnight. Whatever it is, do your part for the advancement of biology. It's your duty as a Darwinian.



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