Wildcat, who forgot to pack Fifty Shades of Grey for his Cote d’Azur holiday, devoured every last word of his extortionate International Herald Tribune last week. Fortunately, the newspaper’s Global Opinion pages provided ample excitement.
On page nine, Destroying Precious Land for Gas, a sober title for an anti-fracking polemic by Sean Lennon, the only son of John and Yoko.
It’s an amalgam of Milton, Proust and Twain. “On the northern tip of Delaware County, N.Y., where the Catskill Mountains curl up into little kitten hills, and Ouleout Creek slithers north into the Susquehanna River, there is a farm my parents bought before I was born.” (Sean was born in 1975, five years after Imagine, five years before [Just Like] Starting Over).
There’s some Tom Sawyer-style flourish. “My earliest memories there are of skipping stones with my father and drinking unpasteurised milk. There are bald eagles and majestic pines, honeybees and raspberries. My mother even planted a ring of white birch trees around the property for protection.”
Gas companies are threatening this upstate Arcadia, warns Lennon. “They gave us the feeling that whether we liked it or not, they were going to fracture our little town,” he writes, after a fractious-sounding town hall with the companies, who aren’t named.
Important environmental arguments aside, Lennon’s pastoral epic ups the artistry of fracking propaganda to standards that would make Leni Riefenstahl proud. It’s the latest exhibit in the battle for both brain hemispheres that has already been fought in the cinema auditorium with Gasland and FrackNation (see The art of fracking, 9 March 2012).
To herald fracking’s cultural apotheosis, Lennon plugs ‘Artists Against Fracking’ - the lobby he founded with Yoko Ono in July.
He’s a dreamer, but he’s not the only one. The lobby also pits Dicaprio, Rushdie and Gaga against Chevron, Chesapeake and Chief. Visitors to the lobby’s sky-blue website are asked to sign an open letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing concerns about the impact of fracking on Gotham’s water and air.
The city’s character is at stake, bristles Lennon. “My father could have chosen to live anywhere. I suspect he chose to live here because being a New Yorker is not about class, race or even nationality; it’s about loving New York.”
With the state poised to green-light the controversial practice, that love-affair could soon be on the rocks. CN