[Edit: ignore most of this, see bottom]
Who's seen that bloody annoying government climate change - sorry, climate challenge, hurrr - ad? Someone bought me a set-top box, and I can pick up some of the channels, and even keep them for a few minutes before the remote control deletes them by mistake, and I found where they've been hiding all the good programmes from me - which are mostly old programmes as it turns out, and incidentally don't you dare take the piss out of 1973 because I would go back in a bloody second. (Yes, yes, tank-tops, ha ha ha, Austin Allegros, ha ha ha, but they had innocence and simplicity and hope and reasons for being alive which we lack entirely, and besides I was three and not quite weaned yet.) So I've been watching TV a bit. (Oh and by the way, to digress for a minute, did anyone watch those Krzysztof Thingy films on BBC4? I saw some of the first two. Jesus. Cheery buggers, the Poles. 'Yes, son, the ice is thick enough to skate on.' Uh oh. I suspect nothing good can come of this. I think I will turn to Men and Motors. Too late. Ker-splosh. And then the next one: 'Hello, neighbour, do you remember me?' 'Yes, you ran over my dog two years ago.' Sigh. He probably won't lend her sugar now. 'I have come to ask you to tell me if my husband is dying of a hideous disease and if I can visit him in hospital.' 'Shalln't and can't.' Sigh.)
Anyway late the other night, I think after the compilation of bits from talk shows from 1973, when people wore wing collars, ha ha ha, but could, you know, talk, I was goaded into hyena-like laughter and - oh no but wait, first of all, the first thing that pissed me off - that bloody ad for the BBC on the BBC where it's going on about a news team who had to take their cameras apart so they could get them over a fucking mountain in Afghanistan in time to make the scheduled broadcast, and then it goes, 'The BBC. This is what we do.' I mean, what the hell? Yes, very cool, very dedicated - but much cooler not to mention it, surely? Not very gentlemanly, not very manly, to indulge in - I really can't work out whether it's whining or boasting or a bit of both. 'This is what we do.' What do you want, sympathy? Love? Understanding? The feckless adulation of small boys? A pat on the back? If you have a grievance, state it clearly. If you would like to be excused covering wars that don't take place in completely flat countries with proper TV studios, say so. If you're trying to convince your wives that war correspondence isn't all duty-free booze and posing in flak-jackets, take it up with them, not me. Don't pull some half-arsed martyr routine like a fucking garrulous charwoman. 'Ooh, I've been on me knees all day, and then I had to pull these big cupboards out, and me with me hip, but don't mind me, no-one else does.' Ed Murrow didn't go, 'This is London, the bombs are falling, the lights are going out, ooh, the blackout, my taxi nearly crashed twice getting here, and then there was a traffic jam and I had to walk the last few hundred yards to the studio, and the lift was out of order so you know what, I had to take the stairs, but this is what I do.' That bloke who took the photo of the napalmed Vietnamese girl never went, 'The interesting thing about this shot, as I was taking the film to be developed the road was blocked by a water buffalo, so I had to drive around it, so I did drive around it, because that's what I do.' You know? I mean I've just spilled tea on my mousepad, so I went and got a towel and mopped it up, because this is what I do, but I don't expect a fucking medal. This is deeply symptomatic of something or other, even if it's just the modern tendency to waste money on things that are utterly pointless and highly sodding annoying and repeated every bastard hour on the hour.
But the thing that really got my goat and made me laugh and swear very loud indeed was the government advert for climate change - except it's not, you see, it's climate challenge, that was the slogan and the name of the website they've set up. And it's all 'The climate is changing, this could affect our way of life' and dramatic shots of waves smashing on rocks, and images of the invisible gasses coming out of cars and factories and houses and planes, and then, 'There are things we can do' - and - hurrah! Wind-farms! And then they repeated the website again, climatechallenge-dot-gov or whatever, and I threw things.
I'm trying to remain as coherent as possible and rein in my snarls, because I begin to suspect I'm a demographic of one, because otherwise a lot of things and people would have been set on fire by now. I think the point I want to make is as follows:
A world that persistently and willfully uses the word 'challenge' is not worth saving. The biggest 'challenge' of the 21st Century is the compulsory sterilisation of those who use the word 'challenge'. If you expect to be taken seriously, do not say 'challenge' when you mean 'problem' or 'threat' or 'disaster' or 'potential cataclysm' or 'I want my mother.' Learning a foreign language is a challenge; trying to keep an entire packet of Maltesers in your mouth until they melt is a challenge; the possible end of life as we know it requires a different term.
No, that isn't what I meant, at all. What I mean to say is:
I really, really want the world to end after seeing that ad. I can't even be fucked waiting for global warming; I intend to french-kiss the first sneezing chicken I can find. I mean, yeah, how are they going to deal with that little challenge if that happens, the coming Black Death Part Two? Set up a website called GlobalblackdeathkillerplaguepeopledyinginthestreetsthelivingshallenvythedeadCHALLENGE.com. Give stern yet positive speeches along the lines of 'Clearing up 20 million putrefying corpses and re-establishing some rudiments of civilization among the emaciated survivors will be one of the most interesting challenges of this exciting new stone age.' And most importantly, I imagine, they'll be preparing to meet the challenge right now by paying their friends tens of millions of pounds to act as middlemen in procuring vaccines, which probably won't work.
Which brings me to my other big problem with the ad: the windfarms. The government was given £250,000 by a manufacturer of wind-turbines (see here or here). Therefore, you crooks, you thieves, you whores, you dishonourable and despicable men, do not talk to us about wind-farms ever, as you no longer have the right. Especially as wind-farms are ugly, noisy, bugger up the environment and provide shit-all power. But even if they were a workable answer, which they aren't, you do not have the right to implement them now you have taken money from them. You understand, you fucking thieves? Do not put out adverts for your business partners' products with taxpayers' money; do not litter the country with these useless products bought with taxpayers' money. If you must put them somewhere, please let it be on top of your own houses, or outside your holiday homes in Tuscany, or up your horrible bought whore thieving thief arses.
Further annoyance came when I visited the climatechallenge website. It is upbeat and full of pictures of cute babies and people looking happy and it is horrible. It was written by the sort of people who use the word 'challenge' and it says challenge a lot and words like 'communicating' and 'initiative' and 'issues' and 'attitudes' and 'make a difference' and 'together' and 'orgasm' and I really don't have the sort of brain that can read things like that, apart from 'orgasm', which probably wasn't really there. But actual information about climate change was in short supply and hard to find. In fact, the main gist of the site is that they have six million quid to give away for ideas to promote, sorry, communicate, awareness of climate change and if you want some apply to them. So, what I watched was an ad promoting a website promoting the making of ads about climate change.
(Sorry, though, the deadline for applicants for the cash has passed for this year. I'd be interested to see a list of those who get grants to try and cross-reference it to people connected to the Labour Party.)
There were some flash animations but they didn't work with my browser so I suppose I'll just have to drown when the icecaps melt but I bet they're really good. There's a pdf that gives you some ideas on how to Communicate the climate Challenge but I could only get it to half work: the bits I saw included a poster of people of all races and walks of life all smiling happily at the challenge of the world ending. I expected the usual stuff about how you personally can help fight climate change - insulate the loft, ask everyone if they want tea while you're boiling the kettle, close the door, were you born in a field? - the sort of thing about which Jeremy Hardy used to say 'Fair enough, but I'm not the Runcorn Chemical Company, you know' - but apart from a line which says that 'even switching on a light' is contributing to the problem there isn't even any of that apart from an external link to a completely different site.
Communicating awareness of deckchairs on the Titanic; focus groups on the Hindenburg; the four Big Challenges of the Apocalypse. Let's face it, we're going down.
However, let me admit... I was sort of relieved when I saw the website was a poncey and useless slush-fund for well-connected creatives. Because for a moment I thought they were about to start to take it seriously; and indeed maybe wank like this is the first step. And when that happens, it will be ugly and unfair, like the London congestion charge on a huge scale, the poor prohibited, the rich privileged. It won't be like the Second World War where everyone shared privations. The elite will still get theirs.
If this is for real, if there's an imminent danger, if it's absolutely certain that man-made emissions could make the difference between disaster and survival - I say if because I don't have the energy to keep up with the claims and counter-claims, and who can you trust? and whenever someone tries to Communicate Awareness of this Challenge to me, I tend to go La la la not listening, but it seems to be generally accepted to be the case [EDIT: oh but see postscript at bottom] - and assuming we don't just walk into disaster from sheer inertia or because we're too busy making happy little websites describing the 'challenge' - the best hope, I suppose, is some new cleaner technology coming along and saving us. Wind power, no. Nuclear power, NO. I really think I'd rather we took the risk of all going out together than that some people somewhere have another Chernobyl so the rest of us can go on plugging in our chargers. De-industrialize? Tear ourselves from the electric tit? Return to a simple agrarian mode of life? Much as I enjoy picturing myself as the stern but benevolent patriarch of a happy little farming community with six comely Amish wenches under me, it seems unlikely.
So if workable new cleaner energy sources don't appear in time... if it got to a situation where it was clear that increased energy efficiency alone wouldn't make it and there had to be some sort of savage cutting and rationing of emissions... leaving aside the question of how it could be divided up and imposed worldwide... how would it be arranged within nations?
Dreadfully, in ours. If it ever got to a point where cars were rationed, they wouldn't go to people who love cars, like Jeremy Clarkson or those little sods who tear round in souped-up Saxos, or people who need them, like mothers of young families or small traders who needed vans or whatever - they'd go to chauffeur-driven whore-thieves in the government and their pimps, patrons and parasites.
If they ever start heavily taxing or restricting air travel, they'll start with holidays, the one valid reason for getting on a plane, and give exemptions for business trips, things which could be accomplished by phone or e-mail. And political 'summits' and fact-finding tours in Barbados or wherever will remain untouched until the North Pole is the size of a slush-puppy.
And if it reached a point where eleccy consumption had to be scaled down, the people who write 'challenge' would get all they want so they could put together happy little pamphlets telling the rest of us about the fun and excitement of roasting a chicken over a candle.
And when it gets to the opportunities for corruption involved in deciding who gets to have a factory or not... I don't want to know. But I do know this government couldn't be allowed that kind of power. If we really think that some sort of emergency situation is possible sooner or later where tough decisions will be required, let us for Christ's sake start now to provide ourselves with upright leaders and begin immediately to hound from public life anyone who isn't clean, incorruptible and fair-minded.
But we won't. I fear if there is an apocalypse, the people who write 'challenge' will be in the bunkers and will be all that remains of us. And it's only a shame I won't be able to see them facing the challenge of having to eat their own legs, except they would come up with euphemisms for that and it would be called intra-system protein recycling or something.
This is idle. I should have ended it after 'we're going down.' To sum up, the government are shit, I'm not watching telly again, and I will be happy to die of chicken flu.
9th Apr 06
And on the other hand...
Environment Minister has links to the nuclear industry
Anyone who digs windfarms doesn't love nature. If you loved a bird you wouldn't put a rotating propeller on her head.
(Well, I would, if I was playing the Spitfire game, but you probably wouldn't.)
Read Gore Vidal's essays 'Gods and Greens' and 'Cue the Green God, Ted', available in 'United States', which you should get from the library now if you haven't read it for the sheer wit alone.
PPPPPS, Feb 07:
In the wake of the release of the latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which apparently concludes that human activities are 'very likely' responsible for global warming, I'm now fairly sure that the whole thing's a crock. Probably. I hope. At the very least, when the British Environment Secretary says 'debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over' it is clearly a duty to blow raspberries and start debating like hell.
The very unaninimity of the assessment makes me suspicious. Where's the dissenting view? Where's the minority report? When was the last time 2500 scientists agreed on anything? Outside Soviet Russia, when was the last time 2500 anythings agreed on anything? The evidence really has not reached a point where it can be accepted like the law of gravity or something.
I strongly suspect that reports like this are the sexed-up '45 minutes to launch Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction' dossier on a larger scale. Not necessarily completely false, but so alarmist and selectively presented as to be misleading. In fact, I'm starting to think there's a chance the whole Manmade Global Warning theory is a case of mass hysteria on a par with witch-burning, on which with the benefit of hindsight and greater knowledge future generations will look back with a merry chuckle.
Unfortunately some - although by no means all - of the most prominent skeptics have taken oil money, so I suppose one should treat their testimony cautiously. On the other hand, it's not like they can take their dirty cash and fly off to a different planet if this one goes up in smoke, and it can be argued that proponents of the theory of manmade global warming have a personal stake in the debate too, in the shape of a continued flow of funding from various quarters.
And after reading around for a bit, I have to say it seems to me that on the whole the skeptics show a greater humility, open-mindedness and sense of caution about their theories than the proponents of manmade global warming. Which I thought was the essence of science. Well, personally I think the essence of science is some arrogant white-haired old loon cackling insanely as he reanimates a corpse or makes a human ear grow on a mouse's arse. But I thought they at least had the self-image of being patient and humble interrogators of nature.
Furthermore a tendency towards the loathsome arts of spin and linguistic massage is ringing alarm bells for me. Why is the talk always of 'carbon emissions' instead of carbon dioxide - is it because we the thick public will get confused because, you know, that's the stuff we all breathe out and that plants eat? Why does a leading proponent of manmade global warming insist it would be 'misleading' to call water vapour a greenhouse gas, when it is, and the biggest one, just because it isn't manmade? Why all of a sudden are the references to 'climate change' rather than global warming? Because if I stepped outside right now my bloody nipples would fall off and shatter and I'd be struck by the inkling it may not be getting warmer at all?
Then there's the phenomenon of the campaigner who will conscientiously recycle and dim all his lights down and whatever, and then hop on a jet to fly halfway round the world to attend a conference on global warming. All too easy to mock, perhaps, and in fact I don't want to mock people who clearly care about things more than I do. But... is that kind of thing perhaps not just hypocrisy, or unavoidable compromise, but possibly evidence of doublethink, a hint that at some deep level they don't really believe in manmade global warming either? Although as I say, I am very much not looking forward to the day when everyone is forced to behave as though they believed it whether they do or not.
A beginner's guide to why the whole thing may be a great big crock
An interesting, but somewhat more technically involved, discussion thread on the site of someone whom I gather is not so much a skeptic as wary of the shonky science that's passing for proof
Update a few months later, having finally taken the time to actually go into it properly:
Yeah, it's all a crock.
Read this site, and keep reading, and check the archives and comments. Note he hasn't taken oil money. Note that unlike his opponents he allows people of other viewpoints to comment. Note they aren't able to refute what he says. Note how polite, open-minded and cautious he is. Note, if it makes a difference to you, if you're the sort of person who ignores the arguments of right-wingers because they are right-wingers, that he is a left-liberal, and a Canadian one at that.
This is a good precis of the major scandal he has uncovered, the one from which most of the rest flow. Note the author of this summary hasn't taken oil money either; he's a novelist, one of the few genuinely independent-minded people on the planet, and he happens to think we should gradually wean ourselves from cars anyway for other reasons.
Here's an extract from Arthur Schopenhauer's The Art of Controversy:
We should find that it is two or three persons who, in the first instance, accepted it, or advanced and maintained it; and of whom people were so good as to believe that they had thoroughly tested it. Then a few other persons, persuaded beforehand that the first were men of the requisite capacity, also accepted the opinion. These, again, were trusted by many others, whose laziness suggested to them that it was better to believe at once, than to go through the troublesome task of testing the matter for themselves. Thus the number of these lazy and credulous adherents grew from day to day; for the opinion had no sooner obtained a fair measure of support than its further supporters attributed this to the fact that the opinion could only have obtained it by the cogency of its arguments. The remainder were then compelled to grant what was universally granted, so as not to pass for unruly persons who resisted opinions which every one accepted, or pert fellows who thought themselves cleverer than any one else.
...Since this is what happens, where is the value of the opinion even of a hundred millions? It is no more established than an historical fact reported by a hundred chroniclers who can be proved to have plagiarised it from one another; the opinion in the end being traceable to a single individual.
Exactly what happened.
Added Nov 08:
(Obscene content caution below)
This is heartbreaking. The poor woman's missed out on innocent fun for four years of her life, trying to be a nice person, taking their nonsense seriously.
Meanwhile James Hansen, the granddaddy of the theory of man-made global warming, flies to Britain for the Kingsnorth trial, blinding a jury with scientific jargon, testifying that property damage is OK if you're protesting carbon emissions. (The Conservative Party endorsed this.)
He flies to Britain.
Meanwhile Dr Geoff Meaden, a British defence witness, testifies to the devastating effects of man-made global warming via video link, because he's on a lecture tour of bloody Brazil.
The judge sums up that the bottom line from the experts is that every tonne of CO2 counts.
A man walks into James Hansen's house and finds him pissing on his mother's face. 'Jesus Christ, Jim! What are you doing?' 'What does it look like I'm doing? I'm pissing on my mother's face.' 'How could you?' 'It's all right, I'm paying someone in the Third World not to piss on my mother's face. It evens out. Besides me and Mother have a very special relationship, she knows I love her. You can't piss on my mother's face, that would be wrong. If you even think about it you should be sent to jail. Only I and a few like-minded friends are allowed to piss on my mother's face. Lick it up, Mum,' says James Hansen fondly, shaking out the last drops.
Al Gore keeps his mother strapped in a machine where fountains of piss rain down on her night and day.
Maybe some of them try to be conscientious. They piss near their mother's face but try to miss. A few drops splash on her but it can't be helped. They wipe them off tenderly.
No. No. No. You would not. Bloody. Do it. You would not do it if that was what you really believed. 'But I need to piss on my mother's face! It can't be avoided! I have to piss on my mother's face in order to spread the message that it's wrong to piss on my mother's face.' No, you really wouldn't.
I don't know if they're conscious frauds or they've kidded themselves before the rest of us, but at some level of the mind they really do not believe what they preach.
God damn them to hell. All right for us, not for the rest of you. For a lie. That's the future.
Added Dec 08:
The more you learn the funnier it gets
Proper light-bulbs are no longer being sold in chain stores in Britain, and will soon be illegal, to be replaced by dimmer ones, an excellent metaphor for how the values of the Enlightenment are being replaced by dim-bulbs. The new magic guilt-bulbs we'll be forced to use contain deadly mercury gas, give people epileptic fits due to flickering, hum annoyingly, cause gloom and despond due to low output, and don't actually save much energy because they wear out quickly if they aren't left on all the time. And will cost a fortune for some people to install because they don't have the right fittings. I'd be curious to see a list of manufacturers to see how many are Labour Party donors. Or have ties to MEPs, for like most bad things this originates with the EU.
When this madness is all over, and it's going to get worse before it does, not only will the reputation of environmentalism be tarnished forever, not only will the reputation of science be tarnished for a long time, not only will the reputation of parliamentary democracy be even worse than it is now, but - and I'm talking about the last ten years of lunacy in general as well now - the concept of trying to improve the world will be tarnished forever, and for the next 200 years anyone who sets himself him up to better anyone's lot will be automatically identified as vicious lunatic scum who just gets a boner out of pushing people around. And it will come as a relief to reach that point, by the time we reach it.
Future generations will laugh and laugh and laugh.
One more thing:
The phrase 'Climate Change' is as pointless and unalarming as Jockey Shortness, Writer Bitchiness, Pope Catholicism or Bear Woodshittingness.
Brrr. Brrr. Brrrr? Brrrrrr. Who are people going to believe, a bunch of
scientists with a career interest in this or the evidence of their own damn
Full of piss and wind for a century. Don't miss the part where they admit they've been lying for the good of the world.