Let’s revisit cow poop.
In an earlier post (“Soil vs. Sadness” http://storiesofsoil.blogspot.com/2014/08/soil-vs-sadness.html ) I mused on Mycrobaccterium vaccae—bacterium found in soil, originating in cow dung and that may be helpful in fighting depression. That was back in the beginnings of Ferguson. After the latest non-indictment, I want some Mycrobaccterium vaccae more than ever.
On the other hand, I want to make sure that cow crap doesn’t steal the spotlight. Dung of all kinds has had an important historical presence in American life. It would be myopic to tip a hat to only the bullshit in America.
Particularly in politics and policies, poop has had an important role. There’s lots of crap for us to consider. I shit you not. For serious. Hear me out.
Take, for example, the Guano Islands Act of 1856. In the 1850’s America was all about the magic of bird and bat crap. ‘Merica passed an Act allowing us to take any guano from any unpopulated (unaffiliated with a government) island.
This happened on over 100 islands. We could also kinda sorta take the island along with the guano. Kevin Underhill argues that this particular piece of history is important in that it helped set precedents for appropriation or seizure of “unincorporated areas” or “insular areas.”
This is still on the books. It affects Haiti. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/48/chapter-8
That’s not all. This history of “bring on the poop! We need more poop!” led to our chemical fertilizer mindset. Years later we call chemical farming “conventional farming,” and nonchemical farming “organic.” These words don’t make sense. That’s a smaller, yet significant, ripple from the Guano Islands Act.
Furthermore, the science behind Interstellar that scares me is about the desertification of soil. Whether or not the 5th dimension is a load of crap isn’t really the point. WHY DOESN’T SOME BLOGGER WRITE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF COLONIALISM, POOP, RACISM and CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS IN THAT MOVIE? IS THAT NOT A RELATIVE DIMENSION TO THE FILM?
So why not pay attention to the shape of the dung shaped laws. The dung shaped stuff shapes other things, too. Let’s think about their histories, and where we’ve spread them. Sometimes the things at the heart of it are a load of crap. Literally.
More on the Guano Islands Act:
My puppy with bird guano on his head. Unstaged, untouched, and uncensored: