I hope this young pothole, which is near my house, will grow up to be big and strong.
I hope this young pothole, which is near my house, will grow up to be big and strong. Charles Mudede

In the age of the hyperobject we call global warming, we need a reevaluation of our values. A hyperobject, a term coined by the ecological philosopher Timothy Morton, is a process that is massively distributed over time and space, like the black hole at the center of our galaxy. Global warming is exceptional in that it is an anthropogenic hyperobject. And because we can only experience different and often small parts of the whole of it at a time, its real existence is, for limited political reasons with economic ends, often denied (this happens to be the subject of a documentary, Merchants of Doubt, that opens today—Brendan Kiley highly recommends it). The growing reality of global warming (and Morton thinks it is important to call it that and not climate change, which to his ears sounds too mild, too casual) means that the charge of some social values must change from negative to positive. For example, potholes are almost universally seen as bad things. They are read as signs of neglect and even civilizational decline. The city must be poor or run by corrupt politicians; the city can no longer maintain its roads. But in actual fact, potholes are very good friends to pedestrians, and roads with them are much, much greener than roads without them.

Potholes force drivers to slow the fuck down, and they also have the virtue of making the driving experience unpleasant. In the context of global warming, a traffic engineer who does their job too well is a bad traffic engineer. What our age needs instead are the worst and most incompetent traffic engineers to ever walk the earth. We also need more trucks carrying fish to overturn and clog the roads into a state of madness. We need more and larger potholes. We should give prizes to potholes that do not speak with the rubber, have not a word to say to the air, but will only meet with the metal of a wheel. Want to save money, you austerity lovers? Shut down this department. What is logical in this moment, the moment of the human-made hyperobject, is anything that can force urban people out of cars and onto sidewalks, onto bikes, and into trains. With the new value, we should see a smooth road as just plain ugly.