Re: "Raping the planets" and other PR disasters

Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 00:36:06 MDT

Damien writes:
> I find this thread mind-boggling. People like Corey and Anders are simply
> pointing out that couching our aspirations as *rape*, however
> metaphorically, is distasteful at best and wildly self-destructive at worst.

While I don't think it is very productive to attempt to rehash what
someone else meant, there is a larger issue here than just using words
like "rape". (I agree that it is a poor word to use; in fact I think
it is wrong to refer to the "rape of the land" in any context, as true
rape is far more damaging than such figurative analogies.)

Corey originally wrote:

: "Why live in a gravity well when you can disassemble the planets and
: distribute their mass..."
: "You can't own real estate on Mars, but you can rape it for resources..."
: "Pave the Universe"
: Even though these statements might be intended flippantly, sarcastically, or
: simply in poor taste, these are prime examples of the problems that the
: populace at large has with the radical futurist movements (of which
: transhumanism and extropianism are a part, fortunately or no) - the total
: affront to what are accepted as aestheticaly pleasing to many people.
: Consider the movement to ban forestry and strip mining. "Great claws and
: gouges ripped into the earth"... "Poisoned rivers running crimson like blood
: from the mine openings"... "denuded hills, blasted into a seemingly post-
: apocalyptic wasteland"... And people are talking about disassembling entire
: PLANETS? During the 70s and 80s there was ahuge industry involved in painting
: beautiful and alien vistas based on data collected from astronauts on the
: moon and the various Voyager and Mariner probes.

My understanding is that he is objecting to discussions of (for example)
disassembling planets, no matter how we word it. Certainly the first
of the quotes that he offers is objective enough. People are going to
find this idea inherently objectionable. I think Corey meant to suggest
that we should avoid talking about our aspirations in these terms.

Perhaps I have misinterpreted Corey, and everyone agrees that there
is no problem in what we talk about, as long as we avoid a few loaded
words like "rape" and "pave". What exactly is the politically correct
way to refer to turning Mars into a pile of rubble? Should we claim to
be liberating the oppressed (or at least pressurized) mass of the core?

> We're going to have enough foes. Let's not gratuitously and foolishly
> provide them with the stick to beat us.

But let's have the courage to follow our ideas wherever they lead.


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