Rod Dreher

Lisa Margonelli delivers the discomfiting truth that there are probably no easy villains in the Gulf oil spill disaster — and what that means for our reliance on “easy” oil. Excerpt:

Where did that oil spill go? We’ve got millions of barrels of oil sloshing around off the most sensitive coastline on the continent, and for lack of oiled birds, the Deepwater Horizon Spill disappeared from the front pages today. The iconography of ecodisasters (oiled birds) has a match in the narrative motifs of technological failure — normally we find a “bad part” (as with the faulty O-rings on the Challenger disaster), or a villain (as in the supposedly drunk Captain Hazelwood of the Exxon Valdez Spill, who took it on the nose for a series of other unfortunate decisions made elsewhere). These familiar motifs reassure us moderns that there are practical solutions to technological disasters — what’s wrong is the part (or the person) and not the whole damn undertaking.
Such a reassuring motif is failing to materialize in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

What if there’s no one thing or one person to blame? Margonelli explores what that means.

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