One of the commentors on the previous post about Verdun (thanks, Leon!) gave us this; a website showing views of the abandoned city of Pripyat, killed by the implosion of the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant.While it doesn't have quite yet the same time-haunted loneliness or the loom of the awful destruction visited on Fleury-devant-Douaumont there's still something of a similar, frightening stopped-clock desolation there.
I think one of the things that frighten us so badly about these places is the awful familarity about them. We can get angry or frustrated about the destruction visited on the wild places, the Deepwater Horizons, or the Exxon Valdezes, but somehow these places don't seize our hearts and minds like the scattered homework in the Pripyat elementary schoolor the empty field where the little village of Kopachi used to bebefore ionizing radiation made it too dangerous to live in, or near, and the Soviet engineers buried it and sowed the ruins with grass and poplars...These sorts of man-made wastelands always come to mind whenever I hear some fathead (and, sorry, Republicans, but most of the fatheads saying this stuff are your fellow Republicans) talking about how the real problem is "too much regulation" and how the job creators and the Magic of the Market needs to be unleashed to get us all to the Magical Happy Money Place, or when some idiot (see Santorum, Rick) flaps his gums about what a great fucking job humans have done "controlling" their world.
You'd think that "conservatives", who are supposed to be skeptical of human altruism and motives and grounded in a realistic assessment of human failings, would be the first to look at places like this and demand that there always be a second, disinterested, opinion about the gains and costs of human risktaking.
But, as humans always have, we will probably continue to fuck up and then blame everything but ourselves. Being optimists, we will believe ourselves to live in the best of all possible worlds.
Being a pessimist, I tend to agree.