Let's get ugly!

  Thank heaven for Lydia Millet (HCN, 4/12/04: Die, baby harp seal!). Her challenge to us all — especially to proponents of sentimental, cutesy environmental promotion — is to find "the guts to assault us with the ugly impacts of our own appetites," rather than the romanticism of the animal and scenic porn of environmental calendars and magazines. "Get ugly," she says, and rightfully so, because that is what an undisciplined society is and does to its space home.

It is a sharp and meaningful challenge to an ignorant nation. Too few take the impact seriously, because "it’s too far away, not on TV, not in my backyard and I don’t care to care about communities of people in places, because I’m so busy filling my own individualistic, overstimulated needs."

Why not make a case for footage of such ugly impacts with Bill Moyers and NOW and promote the show nationwide? The segment title should be "American Narcissism." Everybody join in.

James C. Whiteside
Danbury, Connecticut