Gorillas In the Room

If you find yourself in a room with one of these dudes, ignoring him may not be the best option. (Photo by meldoraley46/pixabay)

It’s getting harder and harder to talk to you about how great the stock market is doing and how unemployment is a thing of the past (especially among black people), and how America is almost energy independent — because I can’t see you around all these damn gorillas in the room. Each one weighs 800 pounds, and every time I think of another way America is doing great, another gorilla comes in and sits down. And we don’t talk about them. We certainly don’t Tweet about them. You’d almost think they weren’t really there.

Here’s a recent arrival — from Iran. We’ve all been talking about Iran lately, since people there  started taking to the streets in protest last month. We’ve been talking about how they’re tired of their government and their religion and their leaders, and how they love democracy, and want to be more like us. Which is awkward, because our Twitterer-in-Chief seems to want to go to war with them.

But we’ve been talking around the gorilla in the room; the years-long, brutal drought — the worst in nearly a thousand years — that has driven millions of farm families off their parched fields and into the cities, to look for work, to try to survive, to lose hope, to swarm and festeer toward protest, violence and revolution when nothing else is left.

There’s another gorilla here from Syria, and others from Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia. Oh, and this just in: Vietnam is now being stalked by its own gorilla, a migration of a million people away from the increasingly dessicated agricultural hub of the nation, the Mekong Delta.  

It’s getting and harder and harder to discuss geopolitical checkers without looking any of these gorillas in the eye, harder to prattle on about hegemony over this and a sphere of influence over that, about how our enemy is religious extremism and the only hope for the world is our kind of democracy.

The world is being stalked by an enemy whose power and lethality exceeds that of any principality or empire that ever existed. It is turning our farms to deserts, our oceans to dead zones, our rivers to memories, it is smashing our cities with howling winds and submerging them in raging waters. And we created it.  Yet to our talking heads and political leaders (is that an oxymoron?) it’s just an 800-pound gorilla in the room, never to be mentioned.

Perhaps people can be forgiven for shallow thinking about foreign countries (although not really, when they are living large on the oil and other resources being torn from those countries’ grasp). But there are people standing up to their you-know-whats in rising sea water in Miami and Norfolk and Texas and Louisiana, who won’t look at the gorilla, or say its name. “Frequent flooding,” they call it, “unusual weather.”

The current president of the united states is an expert at distracting people from gorillas by shouting “MOUSE!” From a forthcoming compendium titled “The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J-for-Genius Trump,” here is a meditation on climate change he delivered just the other day:

“There is a cooling, and there’s a heating. I mean look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records. They’re at a record level.”

He didn’t go into his climate theories the other night in his State of the Union address. In fact he did not mention climate change (neither did Joe Kennedy in the Democratic response). He just prattled on about how great America is again, happily accepting the fawning applause of those who could move their arms, jostled as they were by the swarm of gorillas in the room.


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14 Responses to Gorillas In the Room

  1. Greg Knepp says:

    “The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records. They’re at a record level.” – Trump

    “My people choke on a gnat but swallow a camel.” – Jesus

  2. Brian says:

    Sigh…may I channel Leonard Cohen here a moment or two? The jig is up. There’s not a lot left to say.
    “Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied
    Everybody got this broken feeling
    Like their father or their dog just died
    Everybody talking to their pockets
    Everybody wants a box of chocolates
    And a long-stem rose
    Everybody knows”

  3. Richard Walker says:

    I am sure that you are aware that Cape Town, of South Africa, is
    terribly short of water. A city of 4,000,000 souls is slated to be
    without enough water by the middle of this April. They have
    tried rationing but only about half the population thinks there is
    anything to worry about. This is not the last time we will see this
    kind of crisis enveloping a really large city. The 800lb water gorrilla
    is on the prowl and could find a home in a city near you.

  4. SomeoneInAsia says:

    Maybe there’s simply not much that can be done anymore at this juncture and TPTB know this, so they’re just kicking the ol’ can down the road. In which case you can hardly blame them…

    Gorillas are supposed to be shy herbivores by the way, from what I read. The one in the image above frankly has a certain dignified air about him. (Or her?) Wouldn’t mind calling him ‘uncle’ (or ‘auntie’ if female). :P

  5. It is easy to hate on Trump, but let’s recall the last President that pointed out the gorilla in the room and lost the next election ( hint: he grew peanuts ) because of it.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      This isn’t about Trump, it’s about all of us. He’s not the cause, he’s a symptom. Just like the 50% of American voters who didn’t bother to make a choice in 2016.

  6. Brutus says:

    Isn’t the phrase usually “elephant in the room?” The metaphor isn’t as much about the threat a gorilla poses as the denial of something so large. No matter.

    One explanation for our taking to take notice of the gorillas in our midst is the very short-term outlook we share with most other animals. Sure, we possess brains that can conceptualize and understand both the long ago past and our far-term future. But like the animals we in fact are, we focus instead on a modest sliver of the present and disregard most of what falls outside that frame.

    That’s not all of us, of course. Some can see the awful future barreling at us like a runaway locomotive. I can’t guess the abilities or motivations of others, who either can’t see, don’t want to see, or refuse to see outright.

  7. Mike H says:

    Here is another Gorilla – grain seed yields. Big grain miller here is OZ had noticed decrease in the content quality of grain seed had data guy do the numbers on all their stuff, he went back 15 years. It is a straight line down for the past 15 years as conditions in growing areas are now hotter and drier plus droughts. Strangely, nobody admits this is the case cause of blending. Other research already knows increase the temps then the protein, starch and other goodies in our food go down. So the food quality is slowly deteriorating and with it viable seed quality.

  8. Mike H says:

    Here is another Gorilla – The Russia Delusion, so when the prove the concocted surreal fantasy that the world’s most wealthiest, powerful nation with the world’s most viable form of political expression was duped into electing somebody the populace did not want by a country two oceans and a continent away with a third of the population recovering from social collapse, then what? Everybody going to sit there and say that’s OK? OR they going to go and try and kill that imaginary Gorilla and the planet with it.

  9. Mike H says:

    I think the Russian delusion is a candidate for the Columbo treatment, one last question. What you going to do when your dear politico’s prove the delusion despite it being a delusion? Admit your all insane or go and get the imaginary Gorilla and find out too late it is a tiger?

  10. Leroy stoner says:

    Imagine only 1 billion instead of 9 billion people on this ball.
    ALL these gorillas would disappear.

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