Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BioShock in BP

Disgusting, isn’t it?

More than three weeks ago, British Petroleum, the oil company, had an accident at an oil rig they were leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. Gas built up in a well 5,000 feet deep in the ocean and exploded. The oil went to the surface of the water, where it erupted and sank an oil rig, killing 11 workers on it in the process. The broken well has since not been fixed, and there is an amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico the size of Jamaica and growing from the 5,000 barrels a day that continues to leak out without stopping. Every day that passes, there is a news report on how close the oil is beginning to come to various shorelines in the most Southern states of America. What did Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, have to say about this (actually about deep-water drilling)?
"Apollo 13 [the unsuccessful third mission to the moon in 1970] did not stop the space race," he said. "Neither did the Air France plane last year coming out of Brazil [which mysteriously crashed] stop the world airline industry flying people around the world. It's the same for the oil industry."

Hmph. You know what this reminds me of? “BioShock”. Have you ever played the game? It’s very well written and designed. In this first-person shooter fantasy action title, you play the role of a plane crash survivor in 1960, who ventures to an underwater city called Rapture to find out about its origins and consequent destruction. A main character in the game is a man named Andrew Ryan, the creator of Rapture. He built it as a place of the greedy capitalist’s total paradise: people were allowed to “pursue greatness” and flourish successfully without morality or regard for other people’s lives antagonizing that greatness. That’s what Hayward’s comments bring to mind.

It doesn’t matter that the fishermen who work in the Gulf of Mexico’s waters to bring in food, sell it on the market, and make a living for their homes and families are now out of work. Even when they offered to work for BP by helping to clean up BP’s mess, there was debate on whether they should be paid for it or not. It does not matter that the oil being vomited out this broken well is sinking deep into the ocean, killing off the ecosystems and endangered marine life that have been living there for God-knows-how-long. It does not matter that the deaths of the 11 workers is a single incident in a line of accidents BP has a record for. All that matters is the refining process of the oil industry to rake in those crude oil bucks.

As to why Obama let offshore drilling continue a while back, I have no idea (it has a clean record? Oh please.....), but as long as Mr. Hayward and BP (as well as other oil companies) continue with the delusion that they can compare “the offshore-drilling technique”, a practice that in itself is immoral, with the Apollo 13 mission or public transportation, they will continue to “destroy, baby, destroy”. And this delusion is held up by the money they make from us putting their product in our gas tanks. I can only hope an official nationwide switch to alternative fuels rides the fervor of this oil spill.