Hi everybody, we’ve been having a little trouble with our server, which was hacked. With great difficulty and the help of some brilliant techies in Bangalore, we managed to retrieve the Site and the original 2001-2010 version, which was redesigned by Justine Harare. But the server won’t allow me to attach a pdf to a Dispatch, so Dispatches #91 and #92 have links to dropbox postings of the pdf, and #91, The Great Ethiopian Cataract Intervention, doesn’t work. So we’re looking at getting a new server, and Noor Rahman, a Montrealer from Bangladesh, is helping Andre get DVW back to basic functionality. I’m currently writing about the amazing interspecies breakthroughs the fam and I had a few weeks ago with a family of mountain gorillas and nine Masai giraffes in Rwanda. By the time I finish and am ready to post, DVW should be back on track. So hang in there amigos, amigas, soldiers of love, tidebuckas, lovers of the planet. Noor thinks, and he’s right, that the Dispatches shouldn’t be put up as one long page where you can’t put up any tags like you can with this blog, so we’re gonna change things a bit. Plus a lot was lost or cut off or misfiled in the 201o redesign. And I’m wondering about the title. As Ian Dengler, an old Stanford classmate of my brother’s who puts out a series of drole wacky cognitive-dissonant postage stamps, see his Facebook page, private messaged me not long ago : “Yes, there is a ‘vanishing world,” but that only defines yesterday, or memory, or academic history.” In fact everything is in the process of vanishing. Nothing is stable in nature or human society. The idea that there was this pristine state when everything was in harmony or equilibrium which if we could only return to it, everything would be great, which was one of the assumptions of ecologists and environmentalists and culture preservationists, simply isn’t true. Everything is in flux. Which is not to say that a lot of great stuff, species, ecosystems, sustainable local cultures, isn’t being lost. This is also the problem with the notion of the Apocalypse, which there is plenty of evidence we are bringing down on ourselves and everybody else, economically, politically, morally, environmentally, spiritually. As my wise buddy Nathan Farb points out, 98% of the species that ever lived are extinct, and the one thing that all living things on our planet have in common is that they’re going to die. So maybe Dispatches From the Vanishing World needs a new title. Something maybe a little more upbeat and optimistic? After fourteen years of existence and getting readers from 90 countries a month last time I looked, maybe it needs to be retired and consigned to the dustbin of history. What do y’all think? I’m looking for a new title.
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