Last Days in Ocean Beach is an effort to capture the mood of deep unease and uncertainty that permeates our era and informs the thinking of many writers, artists, and intellectuals, even if they are not quite saying it out loud. It was written before the election of Donald Trump, but it is clear that his election only underlines the chasm between the cartoon reality driving much of our social, cultural, and political discourse and the unrelentingly grim truth that we are killing the world whether many of us want to admit it or not.
As Bill McKibben put it, “physics doesn’t care about political realities,” like who won the election. There may be a hegemonic political reality that refuses to recognize where we are, but the reality of physics and scientifically documented mass extinction proceed nonetheless. Someday soon, we will be unable to deny it. At present, however, many of us, particularly in a place like San Diego where, as the banal tourist slogan puts it, “Happy Happens,” are satisfied to keep having a beach party at the end of the world. Thus, the strange disconnect between the perpetual marketing of our local “paradise” and the looming threats that may eventually destroy it could not be greater than they are here in San Diego. [Read more…]