“We still have a chance to be cruel. But if we are not cruel today, all is lost.”
What exactly does he mean by being cruel?:
“End Third World aid and asylum for refugees, so millions die. Try mandatory abortions for those with two children. And then find some way to get rid of the extra billions of people. With 2.5 times more humans than earth can support, another world war, he says, would be ‘a happy occasion for the planet.’ Living alone in primitive style here without running water or car, the fisherman likes to compare humanity to a sinking ship with 100 passengers and a lifeboat that can only hold 10. ‘Those who hate life try to pull more people on board and drown everybody. Those who love and respect life use axes to chop off the extra hands hanging on the gunwale.'”
“In His Solitude” (1994)
Next to this there is “Humanflood”, a four-page text of his hand featured in Apocalypse Culture II (2000) which I have been unable to identify.
And then there is his book Can Life Prevail? (2011), a translation of Voisiko elämä voittaa (2004), is still in print.
The metaphor of the lifeboat [above] was probably taken from the 1974 essay “Living on a Lifeboat” by Garrett Hardin, an essay which was the basis for what has become known as lifeboat ethics.
Bill Withers was an American singer-songwriter known for songs such as “Lean on Me”, “Use Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
I give you “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?” (1972) because it’s one of the best adultery songs ever with the unforgettable opening lines:
A man we passed just tried to stare me down And when I looked at you You looked at the ground
While researching this death, I came across a rather smart piece of music criticism by the American author Robert Christgau (born 1942):
“Withers sang for a black nouveau middle class that didn’t yet understand how precarious its status was. Warm, raunchy, secular, common, he never strove for Ashford & Simpson-style sophistication, which hardly rendered him immune to the temptations of sudden wealth—cross-class attraction is what gives ‘Use Me’ its kick. He didn’t accept that there had to be winners and losers, that fellowship was a luxury the newly successful couldn’t afford.
This has happened seven years ago but even Wikipedia only noticed it in 2018.
Personally, I only noticed it today.
Ruth White (1925 – 2013) was an American composer noted for her work in early electronic music.
Of interest to me is her 1969 Baudelaire album, on which she reads 10 poems from The Flowers of Evil. This is really bizarre and reading her liner notes makes the experience only weirder. “The Litanies of Satan” is one of the poems that got him in to trouble.