Street poets and beignets in Nola (E8)
GONZO heads into the home of fracking, Denton, Texas, to chat to Dr. Adam Briggle, author of ‘A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking’. The idea of field philosophy is to take ideas about ethics and justice and bring it to the real world. Fracking is a justice issue and both the politics and the economics of the alleged bonanza turned out to be a big dud and a land use planning nightmare. They talk about the philosophy of hubris and narcissism and find that fracking is about the lesson of Frankenstein – we create something without considering the wider ramifications and without plans to deal with the out-of-control nature of our inventions. Denton voted to ban fracking but the state government then intervened with legislation to prevent citizens from having the democratic right of local self-determination on such matters related to Big Oil. We are waiting for a tech fix, but fracking was a tech fix to declining oil reserves. Max and Dr. Briggle ride their bike off into the distance with plans to go form the church of no-fracking.
Max and Stacy leave Texas on the way to New Orleans while discussing the frackers-versus-ranchers battle brewing in Texas as each vie for limited water resources. In Nola, they discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which Obama’s education secretary considered the best thing to ever happen to public education in America, as it opened up an entire city to the charter school movement which, in turn, opened the city up to privatization and gentrification. They also discuss the legacy of Huey Long and how we now dismantle public infrastructure rather than build it. Blumenthal mentions ‘Cancer Alley’ in one of the first towns of freed persons where cancer rates now are so high due to industrial pollution. They also ask, “How did we end up with Trump?” And the role of John Hagee and the evangelical Christians in putting him in power in order to get them the Supreme Court, which they now effectively own. Finally, Stacy and the two Maxes eat beignets, talk about the swamp expanding, the legacy of Bourdain, and then talk to some street poets who compose a poem for GONZO.