Monday, May 31, 2010

"Normal," Old and New


It's perfectly understandable for the BP's CEO to wish for his life to return to normal. Saying perfectly understandable things and still coming across as a callous, depraved, supercilious monster is the fate of people who run operations grand enough to turn 54 thousand square miles of former ocean fishery into a still-growing toxic soup.

"Normal" is an interesting word to use here. What's happening to the Gulf of Mexico is not "normal;" organizations with the concentrated resources and reach to transform an ecosystem in a month are not "normal;" running a billion-dollar operation and receiving the compensation for it is not "normal;" for thousands of species of fish, plankton, turtles, crustaceans, and birds, "normal" is sea water clouded with little worse than the natural waste of other creatures; a massive and growing swath of the gulf closed to fishing this time of year is not "normal" for those whose livelihoods depend on that work.

It's amazing what people can get used to. BP and its corporate partners have created a new normal in the Gulf of Mexico that won't be shocking for long. The executives of these companies will need to find a way to adjust to the new normal, and part of that new normal is an absence of public sympathy for their inconveniences.

5 comments:

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Wants his life back?

Sucks to be you, Tony. You poor oxygen thief. You waste of human skin.

To have your company's oopsie end life as we know it down in GulfMex and then have to take time away from being wealthy and successful in order to tirelessly come up with ways (including trying to get all those not-so-rich-and-successful serfs in the former Louisiana seafood harvesting industry to sign away thier rights to sue) of evading responsibility sure does get to one.

Sorry to put you out.

You might consider that if you don't stop whining and get to work, there won't be much of a world to sell your bloody petroleum products in, thanks to this.

Dale said...

SJKP, he wants what he wants. So sad.

If you run an organization large enough to do this much damage over this period of time, then *this is* your life. It's not the part he likes, but it's part -- in the same way that the life of a cop includes a lot of moments dealing with horrible people most of us would prefer to wish away; in the same way the life of a computer tech involves a lot of answering stupid questions and climbing underneath dusty, filthy desks. This *is* his life as a big-time CEO of a major oil company. If he doesn't like it, I can suggest others for him. He won't like those at all. ;-)

Shelley said...

Robert Reich was on MSNBC tonight saying that because of the emergency, there might be some way for the gov't to put BP in receivership. I don't see any other way to keep them from putting all the financial part of this mess into litigation for the next twenty years....My work is about a natural disaster that was in part man-made, but this new one is totally man-made: a corporate crime.

Dale said...

Shelley, that works for me. I have a sinking feeling that the urgency on this is going to sink and we're going to start hearing about how we should "look forward" with respect to BP's crimes, which are, after all, oily water under the bridge. I sincerely hope I am wrong to expect this to be the direction of things shortly after the Nov. election, possibly even sooner.

Shelley said...

Dale, yes. Already the intensity of coverage is diminishing on the MSM, although it's still at white-hot heat on blogs and MSNBC.

And few are making the connection for the future between this "incident" and Citizens United.