The Imperial Cookbook

Now comes Ashley Dawson, with an excerpt from his recently published book Extinction: A Radical History. Notable for its critique of the concept of the anthropocene (more on that below), the book also includes a discussion of how empires exhaust their most vital rhythm, between extraction abroad and distraction at home.

Imperial deployment of bread and circuses to keep the core population obedient and passive is well known; yet it is important to remember that such a rhythm ultimately ends in decay, and with the empire in ruins. Appetites may be infinite, but the material world is inescapably finite.

In the below three paragraphs, Dawson beautifully summarizes how the imperial rhythm plays itself out, first into debauchery and then into oblivion. The italics at the close of the final passage are added by DP.

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cicero-bread-and-circuses

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revolution

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Regarding the critique of the concept of the anthropocene, Dawson recently stated in a recent interview:

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