Saturday, July 07, 2007

Politics as Fashion Ware

What lies beyond hypocrisy? Fashion!

"Caring isn't something you do," my wife informs me, "it is something you are." How else to explain the following?

  • Most Florida boaters assert that they care about manatees, even as they speed recklessly through manatee protection zones.

  • Al Gore's house guzzles more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year.

  • John Edwards publicly claims to be the champion of the little guy while surreptitiously signing up to work for an extremely wealthy investment group from New York.

  • Hillary Clinton is in favor of the war except when she's against it.

  • Cameron Diaz carries fashion accessories extolling the very Maoist sayings used by communist terrorists insurgents.

  • Barry Ritholz demands that the government do something about the oil situation, while personally continuing to drive around his gas guzzlers.

  • The "Concerts for a Climate in Crisis" will involve a projected 2 billion people tuning into their computers to watch 150 bands flying to various venues all over the world, with untold thousands or hundreds of thousands burning fossil fuels to go see these concerts in order to save the planet. How much excess energy will this whole process burn up? How much impact will this grand extravaganza have on global warming? Don't ask; that's not the point! Tim Blair calls it "Live Earth – this weekend's festival of carbon destruction in the name of carbon conservation." Seems to capture it pretty well. [Actually somebody did the numbers: "The total carbon footprint of the event, taking into account the artists’ and spectators’ travel to the concert, and the energy consumption on the day, is likely to be at least 31,500 tonnes of carbon emissions ...

    Throw in the television audience and it comes to a staggering 74,500 tonnes. In comparison, the average Briton produces ten tonnes in a year."]

This is the world we live in. Hollywood Democratic gazillionaires exhort the rest of us to use less energy just before boarding their private jets to Acapulco and Aspen. People put on and take off political opinions with the vagaries of current political fashion. None of it means a thing. This isn't hypocrisy because it has nothing to do, in their minds, with their own lives or actions. What difference does it make whether you wear a green sweater or a green opinion? What matters is having tasteful right-thinking opinions, not boorish Republican ones.


buddy larsen said...

Interesting question: Can hypocrisy ever be defensible?

On one hand, you could say it's better than nothing, and a necessary first step to something.

OTOH, it could be a substitute for something, and a necessary first step to nothing.

loner said...

A change ain't gonna come...

Midnight to six man
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and Leroy Smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator

Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae
With backing bands sound systems
And if they've got anything to say
There's many black ears here to listen

But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right
Charging from the bass knives to the treble
But onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel
Onstage they ain't got no...roots rock rebel

Dress back jump back this is a bluebeat attack
'Cos it won't get you anywhere
Fooling with your guns
The British Army is waiting out there
An' it weighs fifteen hundred tons

White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution

Punk Rockers in the UK
They won't notice anyway
They're all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha you think it's funny
Turning rebellion into money

All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They'd send a limousine anyway

I'm the all night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
I'm the white man in the Palais
Just lookin' for fun

I'm only
Looking for fun

—The Clash, (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

Still my favorite rock lyric/song almost 28 years later.

Rick Ballard said...

From time to time I wonder what H. L. Mencken would focus on if he were writing today. There are so very many rich targets available that it would be hard to pick even a few upon which to concentrate.

buddy larsen said...

Or Will Rogers--

ex-democrat said...

loner - that's my favorite clash song too.
the verse "White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution" has always put me in mind of Lennon's "Revolution" - especially: "You say you got a real solution, Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan..."

loner said...


I know what you mean. The songwriting combination that was Strummer-Jones came the closest in the rock era to replicating the greatness of the one that was Lennon-McCartney. It also, inevitably I suppose, came to an end in much the same way.

Death or glory becomes just another story...