Kid A(ntarctica): Radiohead and our melting polar ice caps

Antarctic_ice_melting

I heard a story on NPR while I was in the car last week that featured exactly the kind of interview I find bittersweet and funny – when interviewed regarding his research on methods of modeling the melting Antarctic glacier, the scientist they were talking to essentially said, “Duh, we’ve known this would happen for years.” By the time Radiohead released Kid A in October 2000, scientists had spent decades predicting the eventual dwindling of Earth’s glaciers.

Browsing in a used record shop a few years ago, I stumbled across a special edition of Kid A featuring 12 thick cardboard pages of additional artwork chronicling the melting of polar ice caps. The book isn’t worth much cash (it goes for about $5 on eBay), but it’s a cool little collectible if you’re a fan of the band or of unusual books in general (I happen to be a fan of both). Here are the pages in chronological order. I chose not to present these in a slideshow because the art is so layered and the text is so cryptic, in keeping with Radiohead’s style.

Text: Kid A, Book and Compact Disc. Compact Disc by Radiohead. Book by Stanley and Tchock.

Text: Kid A, Book and Compact Disc. Compact Disc by Radiohead. Book by Stanley and Tchock.

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(L) Nobody likes nothing. I certainly wish with all my heart that it did not exist. (R) But wishing is not enough. We live in the real world where nothing does exist. We cannot just disinvent it.

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(L) Nothing is not comprehensible. Neither you nor I have any hope of understanding just what it is and what it does. (R) It is hard to know if nothing is actually nothing and thus difficult to know if a policy of doing nothing is successful.

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(L) Nothing, however effective it may have proved up to the present, can hardly continue to do so indefinitely. (R) If I had to choose between the continued possibility of nothing happening and of doing nothing I would unquestionably choose the latter.

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(L) Or the former.

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(Hammer added to prop pages open.)

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We will not hesitate to carry out what has been threatened. This is not over until absolute unconditional surrender and complete meeting of all demands. There will be no further warning whatsoever. Airstrikes are imminent.

Short post today because my full time job as a News Intern at Charlottesville Tomorrow kicked off this past Tuesday, totally knocking my reading schedule off kilter. The eternal struggle between personal creative projects, work-related writing and research, and my thesis research has officially caught up to me after a refreshing few weeks of focus on some personal projects. I’ve sadly abandoned the Joads in a government camp in Weedpatch, California, as I diverge into some craft books on writing that my boss assigned the interns, but I’m hoping to evaluate my schedule this weekend and come up with a new plan.

Recently, I came to the realization that this constant juggle is never going to end – I like diving into big projects and I’m interested in almost everything, so as long as I’m me, I will probably keep taking on too much. Rather than denying my information addiction, I think it’s time to just start managing the cracks in my daily life when they inevitably appear.

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