Blog Post

Tidbit: Copenhagen as Theatre of the Absurd

In preparing to lecture on Waiting for Godot this week, I came across this somewhat lackluster Huffington Post OpEd about the recent Climate Talks in Copenhagen. As the article title suggests, the author evokes Beckett's play as a rhetorical shorthand for what happened (or rather, what did not happen) at Copenhagen last month. The stream of tidbits that Black interweaves as proof of the Climate Talk's absurdity no doubt suggest that hundreds of heads of state, diplomats, scientists and environmental leaders gathered at Copenhagen not to take action but rather to talk around the dangers (existential perhaps) that Climate Change presents. That said, I wonder whether this analogy to theater—and to absurdism in particular—has the effect of domesticating today's virulent environmental and social justice protests of climate policy.

Allison Carruth's picture
Allison Carruth is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at UCLA, where she is also an affiliated faculty member in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the Institute for Society and Genetics, and the Center for the Study of Women.