A New York Times article that tells the story of the Kulluk–a Shell drill rig poised to plunder the Arctic–reads like Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm. (See it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/magazine/the-wreck-of-the-kulluk.html?ref=earth)
It is a swashbuckling tale of exploration and adventure that tested the limits of Kulluk’s noble crew. Happily, fate or the gods intervened and destroyed the Kulluk.
Here is a taste:
“The captain called the Coast Guard, but no one wanted to go scout the landing conditions, Matthews said. It was too risky. The call came from Shell at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve: Cut it loose.
“Matthews didn’t want to do it. ‘I felt this attachment to succeeding,’ he said. He wondered about the emotion. ‘We’re trying to keep this chunk of metal off a beach, where a chunk of metal shouldn’t be. But otherwise it’s just a chunk of metal that belongs to a rich oil company. It’s bottom line to them. Why does it matter to me? Is this important?’ But somehow it was. ‘I felt tears welling up in my eyes when I had to let go of the Kulluk.'”
Yes, these men were strong and brave. But drilling for oil in the Arctic is the ultimate act of cowardice. How about a few lines about the insanity and the rapacious greed behind such a project? What about the real casualty of this disastrous mission? What is left of the melting, vanishing ice and the struggling ecosystem in this once pristine part of the world?
Instead of doing his job as a reporter, McKenzie Funk has produced a popcorn drama. I wonder if he has sold the movie rights yet.