Interim Report

Well, Vallis Veg has hit the big time. If you watch the latest episode of the BBC’s Countryfile programme you’ll see none other than Mrs Spudman herself carrying our cabbages in for sale at the Frome Food Assembly. Come to think of it, my moniker of ‘Mrs Spudman’ is perhaps a little bit sexist. I mean, I might be lumbered with that name but there’s no reason for her to have to bear it too simply by virtue of her foolhardy association with me. So I think perhaps I’ll call her La Brassicata from now on instead. What d’you think?

Anyways, thing is now that we’ve been featured (albeit fleetingly and silently) on national TV, orders for our humble wares have gone through the roof. So I’ve been too busy sorting out vegetables to finish off my next proper blog post. My thoughts on the BBC’s analysis of local food issues are probably best left unsaid. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

I’ve got a blog post in the offing about pigs, peasants and pastoralists that I hope will entertain my readers, so this post is just a promissory note to bring you some meatier stuff soon (though not that meaty, as you’ll see if you read the post) – hopefully in a couple of days when I get the chance to finish it off. Meanwhile, having got into trouble on Twitter for criticising somebody’s newspaper article without having read their book – a heinous crime, I know – I’ve obtained a copy of said book by the author in question, one Leigh Phillips. So far I’m finding Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn Addicts every bit as bad as you’d expect from the title. But I haven’t finished it yet, so you never know – there may be a credible argument or perhaps even a nuance stuffed in there somewhere towards the end. God, this guy makes Mike Shellenberger seem like a paragon of academic gravitas, and that’s not intended as a compliment to Mike. On the up side, it’s helping me clarify some thoughts on ecological modernization which I’ve just started shaping up into an article involving a rather daunting amount of crunching with a World Bank data set. Veg-wrangling by day, and data-wrangling by night – what a lucky man I am! But having been warned off more ecomodernist-baiting by my long-suffering readers, I promise to publish the results elsewhere. So next up – pigs and peasants…er, soon-ish.

8 thoughts on “Interim Report

  1. I came for the anti-ecomodernism, and stayed for the veg. But I often say I am striving for a peasant life, so I am very interested to hear where you are going.

    But let your long suffering readers click through if they don’t like the fight, they don’t have to swoon over every bloody word.

    • Thanks for those comments, Ruben – good to hear your voice on here. Yes, perhaps you’re right – I’ve serially failed to avoid talking about eco-modernism on this blog and the issues are quite interesting anyway so chances are I’ll keep plugging away at it. But maybe I should try to avoid arguing with its individual practitioners, as it rarely proves illuminating. Thanks for the tip to John Michael Greer – I’ve read a bit of his stuff, but need to read some more.

      • I think the Technoutopian Ecomodern Accelerationists are just the zenith (or the nadir) of our cultural narrative—which just helps accentuate the contrasts for examination.

        In my conversations I have found them to be slippery fish who don’t seem worried about the amount of magical thinking required to achieve their future. Ingenuity!

        Not to get too Freudian, but I suspect many of them are terrified of dying—really, really terrified, in a way that normal people are not scared of dying. And so they have to cling to a wild-eyed futurism that may allow them escape.

        This just makes it impossible to talk about the joy, salted with tears, of a meal of meat you have raised and killed, and vegetables you have seeded and harvested. Because Freedom from Toil! Soylent!

        It makes it impossible to talk about meaning, because the things that make meaning terrify them.

        All of which to say, I think you are wasting your time on the Ecomodernists, but I really enjoy watching you waste it, and I hope you continue to waste it.

        And please do read John Michael Greer. He does the rough draft of his books on his blog, so that is a cheap way to read them. His book the Long Descent is a great introduction, and Mystery Teachings of the Living Earth is wonderful. He did a long series on the Civil Religion of Progress which I have not yet read in book form.

        • Oh, I forgot to say—

          I do think the Accelerationist et al are one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Once leftist progressivism is wedded to seeing the earth finally as nothing but inputs for our factories, I think civilization will truly be lost.

          • Thanks Ruben – I agree that a fear of death lurks beneath many a dream of progress. I suggested as much once to Graham Strouts. Didn’t go down well.

            And thanks for enjoying watching me waste my time on ecomodernism. It’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me all day.

  2. Have to agree with Mr Ruben… let your long suffering readers click through. Those poor varmints whose suffering knows no bounds will likely benefit your erudite and well intentioned offerings (I know I do).

    Congrats to the Mrs on being televised nationally. I’m sure her visage was a welcome relief from news of terrorists in France, refugees from all over the planet, and what passes for politicians in London. Unfortunately this suggestion doesn’t work for much of a compliment (as it’s intended) given the rather morose news offered as comparison. Sorry about that.

    But here’s a thought – given her new found celebrity – should we start a campaign to have the BBC start a new program (or several episodes of Countryfile) which they might christen Peasant’s Purse. And I’m not leaning toward a fashion program here, more a meat and potatoes look at peasant life from the perspective of the financial needs and non-needs. The non-needs may well deserve more attention than the former. If she’s agreeable and the BBC picks it up, I want an autographed copy of a tape or other media… [her’s… but you could sign it too 🙂 ]

    • Great idea, Clem. Not sure if the Beeb would go for it – TV companies generally prefer the ‘lifestyle’ focus of hapless urban downsizers running around after their sheep – but worth a try…

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