I bought the new Stars album the other day. It’s okay. It sounds like they learned, somewhere on the wide road between their home in Toronto and their fans in the States, that they need to take themselves seriously. I’ve met one of their managers but I’m sure it’s not her fault.
In the August 30, 2007, New Yorker, David Owen writes about humanity’s lack of contact with the heavens that have been with us since forever, before it all. “And civilization’s assuault on the stars has consequences far beyond its impact on astronomers. Excessive, poorly designed outdoor lighting wastes electricity, imperils human health and safety, disturbs natural habitats, and, increasingly, deprives many of us of a direct relationship with the nighttime sky, which throughout human history has been a powerful source of reflection, inspiration, discovery, and plain old jaw-dropping, wonder.”
Adam Gopnik, another of my favorite writers, in the same issue speaks of Philip K. Dick’s new relevance today, despite his death in the early 1980s. Gopnik writes about the central metaphor of Dick’s work: “The social arrangement of power is always that of a brute oligarchic minority forcing its will on a numbed population, with amusements the daily meal and brutality the implicity threat; for all that has changed technologically, that fatal pattern has never really altered.” And this: “The vision of an unending struggle between a humanity longing for a fuller love it always senses but can’t quite see, and a deranged cult of violence eternally presenting itself as necessary and real–this thought today does not seem exactly crazy.”
Today, Google <a href="announced that users of Google Earth could now see the stars above their location with the application’s latest version. This is perhaps the last way humans will see the heavens above.