CLIFF CREGO: View Through Barbed-wire, Oregon landscape

DON'T FENCE ME IN—view through barbed-wire, Oregon landscape [click photo for next . . . ]
updated I.8.2016) . . .
On the road in the American Northwest.

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Tragedy of the West?
Barb on wire,
Barb on plant.

I hate barbed-wire. Everything about it.

Perhaps more than any other innovation, I think barbed-wire—an invention
patented in the 1870s by Joseph F. Glidden of Dekalb, Illinois,
and first called “devil’s rope” by those who opposed its use—has made
the current style of confined grazing possible. When animals are confined
and not carefully shepherded from place to place in a rhythmic
way—as in many regions to this day is still done in the Alps—overgrazing
will most certainly be the result. This culminates in a Cheatgrass-
Sage-Dry-Dirt landscape that now covers vast tracts of the West
as far as the eye can see. In this way, the door of habitat destruction is
left wide open to extremely tough and determined alien species like
Spotted Knapweed and Yellow Star-thistle, which in turn sets up a
vicious and ugly cycle of more habitat fragmentation and loss.

I would not place the responsibility for overgrazing on the ranchers.
Ranchers, especially those of small, family owned operations with
deep roots in community and place, are just trying to make a go of it
under very difficult conditions. I think the problem has its source in yet
another kind of fragmentation, this time between the in North America
relatively small agricultural community and the wider culture. Let’s
face it, meat in the store bears for the buyer little or no relationship to
the rancher or cow in the field. This is fragmentation of the most insidious
kind, because it forces us to the point that the rancher has no other
alternative than to keep more and more animals on a given parcel of
land. To say that this is just the way markets work is, in my opinion, as
short-sighted as it is irrational. For the health of the land, and the health
of the culture, are most certainly inextricably interlinked. And yet the
destruction of both passes me by as I bike across the Northwest, mile
after mile after mile.

Who, we may ask, wants this? The ranchers I speak to don’t. Consumers,
generally, have no awareness of the problem. So, the question, it
seems to me, is what is the source of this kind of all-pervasive

BARBED-WIRE IN THE WEST: Obviously, no one really knows how much
barbed wire runs across the great and open lands of the North American West.
Some rough estimates reach in round numbers about 1,600,000 kilometers
(1,000,000 miles). That’s about two times to the Moon and back, or about 125
times around the Earth at its equatorial diameter. Over kill? And how much
of this is on public land? As I see it, barbed-wire is the very essence of

At the same time, I see the necessity of fences in many situations.
As always, appropriateness is a question of scale. I’ve worked with old-time
ranchers building fences, and I can tell you there is truly something like an Art
of Devil’s Rope. There’s a great deal of skill and experience required to build
a good fence. But I’ve also noticed that when building fences there is a good
amount of swearing that takes place, because barbed wire is hard to work with;
it tears and rips at everything it touches. As the Western poet, C.L. Rawlings
put it, “Like many other elements of our culture, it is hated as widely as it is
[source of quote, and raw data: WASTE OF THE WEST: Public Lands
Ranching, by Lynn Jacobs 1992)]

Two tweets from @cliffcrego

WATCHING: In Security New film by Kelly Saxberg
w/ Mark Solomon: Follows the story of barbed-wire wherever it leads.

LISTENING: "Don't Fence Me In" THE classic Devil's Rope song w/1951
Gene Autry recording mp3 text

"Don't Fence Me In" THE classic Devil's Rope song w/1951
Gene Autry recording

Another tweet saying-in-prose poster, this time
bringing together barbed-wire, Pronghorns,
and the profound denial of an essential and
necessary feature of the Internet & the Web—open, universal URI's {
Uniform Resource Identifier)—which is the "gaited community"
called, facebook (Click on this facebook URI—
my own facebook page—and you will hit a '"fence"
or "wall." You are forced to join in order to
see what I'm doing there, and thereby surrender megabytes
of personal data that have become a kind of high-tech goldmine. And,
remarkably, once there, users generally don't want to leave.

Don't get me wrong. Facebook is fun. Changing the world, in
a way. A great tool even, at times. (If you DO get through their
"wire," please, by all means, friend me!)

But this one contradiction
—and it is a deep and major one—
will sooner or later, I fear,
be facebook's downfall.

Something to ponder as a kind of meditation, indeed!

| download as pdf |


We shape the world and the world shapes us.

"Clean coal" is like the idea of a healthy, 'low-tar' cigarette;
"Safe nuclear" is like a time-bomb with but a slightly
longer fuse.

O vested interest, clouding the future with the smoke of
deliberately deceptive false promises. I say to you, when
the dust settles on the present dim era of fire and hydro-
carbons and it is dug out by future archeologists, the central
ethical question asked will be not why the EXXON's of the
world lied with such dogged tenacity—that is, after all, only
human—but rather why the rest of us, privileged as we are
to live under the hard-won protections of freedom of thought
and speech, believed their cheap propaganda, and as servile
citizens of the congregation of the faithful followed their lead
straight to the inner circles of Hell.



The second surest sign of the self-corrupting, decadent,
one-sided power of Empire, is when children grow up
learning no other culture, no other language, than their
own. The first, is when teachers of the young know this
to be true, and couldn't give a damn.


With the perversion of the sheer brilliance and great
promise of the new information technology into the dark
and sinister world of systems of surveillance, at a stroke,
the meaning of the word, web, flips from "connected"
into "gotcha!"

Broken Bridge Camp,
Eagle Cap Wilderness,
Oregon, X.29.2008

THE LITTLE CLAVIER please preview 150 of 631 pages
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Each lasts 30 seconds; They play in random order;
The music is my BOREA Mix,
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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1998 -2016
(created: IV.13.2011)