Thursday, 8 July 2010
Bang or Whimper? A Slick Coincidence
“This is the way the fucking world ends. Look at this fucking shit we're in man. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. And with a whimper, I'm fucking splitting, Jack.”
-Photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) Apocalypse Now
How ironic. In Coppola's seminal 'Nam movie, Dennis Hopper's crazed photojournalist paints a very downbeat image or the Earth- as you would, if you were in the middle of a war that you were losing.
Two things now make this line ironic, not just iconic. First, the legendary Dennis Hopper has split for good. He died of prostate cancer on 29th May. Second, as Mr. Hopper was no doubt aware, There was trouble in the Pacific. An oil pipe was spewing its contents into the ocean, killing giant amounts of flora and fauna. Given how this will affect ecosystems around the globe, I would say “Apocalypse Imminent” would be a more appropriate phrase.
However, like the ocean itself, this story gets deeper. Another aging Hollywood actor has come to the rescue. Kevin Costner has spent the last 15 years- and $20 million of his own money- developing oil spill clean-up solutions. Costner's company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, says that their “Liquid-Liquid Centrifugal Separators utilize patented technology to refine and expand a proven formula for widespread use: by spinning two fluids of different densities within a rotating container, the lighter fluid is forced toward the center of the rotor.” Child's play, really. Cough. It seems to have paid off for the millionaire, though- BP have just bought 32 of the devices for use in the gulf.
The most ironic thing about all this is that both Dennis Hopper and Kevin Costner co-starred in the 1995 action sci-fi movie, Waterworld. At $175 million, it was the most expensive film ever made at the time. Costner played The Mariner, some kind of slightly mutated eco-warrior who has never seen dry land in his life- like most of the film's characters. The Mariner faces up to a gang of villainous “smokers”- they use oil-ran machines and chain-smoke cigarettes, no matter how old or young they are. The gang, led by Hopper, are killed in an explosion at the end of the film. An explosion that would have contributed, minutely, to further global warming and the depravation of the precious dry land that everyone is spending the film searching for. Bravo, stereotypical Hollywood characters!
Now in reality, as the world struggles to keep it's head above water (so to speak) Costner's investment is paying off- for him, and for every other living thing on Earth, I suppose. Let's just hope that these machines work- otherwise we might all be hearing the world end, with a whimper, much sooner than any of us would believe.