Tinsel Wing

Thursday, May 18, 2006

CEI: We call it lies

It's finally happened. Someone has actually managed to underestimate the intelligence of the American people.

An energy company consortium called The Competitive Enterprise Institute, alarmed at the upcoming release of Al Gore's wonderful documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, are attempting a pre-emptive strike, with two 60-second ads being released in 14 cities.

The second ad contains some mumbo jumbo references to a couple of actual scientific papers, which do in fact indicate that parts of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are getting thicker. Needless to say, the ad completely misrepresents the significance of this fact, which is predicted by global warming models, which also predict that the phenomenon will be temporary. In the case of Greenland, the rate of melting at the edges already greatly outstrips the rate of temporary buildup inland. (In the case of Antarctica, it is not clear which feature predominates at the moment, though it's clear that melting will win out in the future.) More of the real poop available from a real live climate scientist may be found at Real Climate.

Though the second ad consists of what e. e. cummings called "the purest kidooleeyoon", it might achieve some of its intended propagandistic effect. But oh, sweet honey in the rock, the first ad! What a case study in self-parody. "Carbon dioxide" it intones, over tinkly Hallmark card music, "is essential to life. We breathe it out. Plants breathe it in..." Leading up to the all-powerful sound bite: "CO2. They call it pollution. We call it life."

If MoveOn doesn't have a follow-on ad within a week or two, I'd be surprised. Same tinkly music. "Excrement is essential to life. [Image of cutest possible toddler on potty training seat] We push it out. [Image of field being fertilized] Plants take it in..." Or, maybe it could be identical to the first ad, but in the last scene we see the business-suited oil execs, while "CO2. They call it pollution" is being intoned, all take out plastic clothes bags and fit them over their heads. And grin stupidly at us through the sheeting while the voice over says, "We call it life."

There is a limit, folks. Americans know nothing about science. But there is a fixed lower limit to our dumbnicity, and these bozos have aimed well underneath it.

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