Shedding Light on a Dark Mountain

Dark Mountain is an anthology, a collection of art, poetry, essays and short stories. It was an annual publication, since last year published twice a year.

The early volumes had writings by George Monbiot, Naomi Klein and other writers worth reading, volumes that sold out. Later volumes have gone steadily downhill. Dark Mountain 6 was dire, much of the writing unreadable, turgid, pretentious drivel. That is not to say all, there were some gems, a delight to read, but exceptions not the norm.

The art leaves much much to be desired, not helped by being badly printed.

The art in Dark Mountains 7, badly printed, little more than dark smudges.

wood cut in Monasterio de San Martín Pinario

woodcut in Monasterio de San Martín Pinario

Woodcut prints on old printing presses are of far better quality.

Why so bad? Bad editorial judgement, not sufficient submissions, too many submissions to make a sensible choice?

Dark Mountain has with some justification been accused of being nihilist, defeatist, failing to face up to, to fight the problems engulfing the world.

Ironically this is acknowledged in the opening paragraph of the editorial in Dark Mountain 7.

In Aeon’s review of Dark Mountain’s 2012 Uncivilisation festival, the author sounded a warning about the ‘sinister undercurrents’ of the movement: ‘The anti-technology polemics, the witchy nature mysticism and huntsman imagery,’ for this first-time attendee, ‘brought to mind nothing so much as English “neo-folk” acts such as Sol Invictus and Death In June, mainstays of Britain’s far-right bohemia, with its reveries about masks and antlers and the Brownshirts.’

Yes, we can sit back and do nothing, welcome in a world that will be uninhabitable, fiddle whilst the planet burns.

Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything, highlights the problem, that beyond 2C rise we do not know, the models break down. But she does not give up, wrap herself in a nihilist blanket, she proposes solutions, deep carbon cuts of at least 10% a year since yesterday, no longer business as usual, recognises that is is the capitalist system with its reliance on unlimited growth that is destroying the planet, not sit back and do nothing, but see as the opportunity for radical change, to create a fairer more equatable society.

Russell Brand does not stick his head up his arse, he is prepared to stand up and be counted, to enthuse others to stand up and be counted.

I would rather die fighting on my feet as a Warrior of Light, than give in on my knees.

Dark Mountain collection on Medium, is a collection of writings on the many problems we face, of the many solutions that are being put forward.

It is not part of Dark Mountain, has never claimed to be, has never passed off as acting for or representing Dark Mountain.

It came a surprise therefore to receive a complaint last year from Dougald Hine one of the co-founders with Paul Kingsnorth of Dark Mountain. A complaint that quickly descended into an unpleasant exchange of e-mails.

The nub of the complaint was that it led to confusion. Difficult to see how, and when pressed for evidence of this, the best Dougald Hine could come up with was the quote cited from the Dark Mountain Manifesto.

The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.

This was ludicrous, so ludicrous, I could not stop laughing. How many pieces start with a quote? Does that lead the reader to confuse what they are reading with the source of the quote? Of course not.

The only reason it was used, was it quite eloquently summed up the state of the world. We think we are controlling Nature, but as many disasters have shown, we are not in control, and it is arrogant of us to think we are.

Had anyone been confused, they would have quickly been put straight.

Having got nowhere, events took a turn for the worse. There was then a crude attempt to persuade Medium to delete the account. A crude attempt that happily failed.

All went quiet, until today.

A rather unpleasant e-mail from Dougald Hine demanding once again theDark Mountain collection be deleted.

What triggered this latest tantrum, and it is like dealing with a petulant child throwing a tantrum, was a twitter exchange around ten days ago, with a person unknown to me.

To which elicit a response from Dougald Hine.

Deep ecological thinking is our only hope, something you will not find from Dark Mountain, instead, a nihilist, stick head in sands, dance around a bonfire dressed as animals, which is as about as effective as Nero fiddling whilst Rome burned.

Someone likes what they read, has come across a couple of times Dark Mountain Project, but this is immediately inferred to mean, must be a connection, that it is somehow passing off one as the other.

Had any connection been assumed, the misconception would have been addressed.

But in light of the tweet from Dougald Hine implying something that was not, a tweet was sent to ensure absolutely no misunderstanding.

At no time has it been claimed, masqueraded, passed off as part of or in any way acting as a representative of Dark Mountain Project.

But as I found, not only a tweet, also an e-mail:

Since you made no attempt to correct his misunderstanding that you were a representative of Dark Mountain, it is clear that you are making use of the Dark Mountain collection on Medium to pass yourself off as representing our journal and the non-profit company, The Dark Mountain Project Ltd, that publishes the journal.

As before, wild accusation, if not smears, but no evidence provided to support. At no time claimed to be a representative of Dark Mountain, the Dark Mountain collection is not being passed off to represent anything or anyone. Nor can any such nonsense be inferred from or implied by above tweets. Thus difficult to correct a misunderstanding that does not appear to be there.

Dark Mountain is a collection, an anthology of essays, poetry, art and short stories. Contributors do not get paid. They get a free copy. Copyright remains with contributors.

But having got nowhere with previous false allegations, now implying trademark infringement. Which puts in a whole new ball park.

Please take this email as a final request to either change the title of that collection or delete it. If you do not do so, we will file a trademark notice with Medium, asking them to delete your account, according to their policy:

I would agree, trademark infringement is a whole new ball game.

I have before me Dark Mountain 7, the latest anthology published this week.

Dark Mountain is not a trademark, there is not even the usual copyright claim for the book, either for Dark Mountain Project as publisher, or individual contributors.

Trademark infringement would therefore seem to be yet another red herring.

Dark Mountain relies upon public support, both in terms of funding (first volumes crowdfunded later subscription) and contributions.

Are Dark Mountain supporters and contributors happy with what amounts to bullying and intimidatory behaviour being carried out in their name?

Reposted from Medium.

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