Monday, July 09, 2007

Me and You and CO2

I don't enjoy always being the curmudgeon, so it's with some hesitation that I offer my opinion that the Live Earth concert was just a lot of posturing, as are all such musical extravaganzas put on to benefit supposedly worthy causes.

Don't get me wrong. Saving the earth is as worthy a cause as ever came along. But Live Earth, like the assorted paloozas that preceded it over the last 20 years, was vanity-driven exercise in feel-goodism. Such events also give aging celebrity performers a chance to promote themselves gratis, and second- and third-rank hangers-on a chance to do the ohyeahbabyohyeahbabyohyeahohyeah for which they are undeservedly semi-famous.

It takes a real wet blanket to be so cynical about something that everybody agrees is wonderful and significant and the coolest thing since popsicles. Therefore, it was a relief to find, as I opened Jim Kunstler's weekly blog this morning, that there's at least one person who agrees with me.

"There was so much about the Live Earth show that actually expressed what is worst about the current state of American culture," Kunstler groaned. "(T)he obscene posturing of zillionaire celebrities, awarding themselves brownie points for the largeness of their concern -- even while, like Mr. Sting of the band called the Police, they buy-and-sell $20 million Manhattan condos, and burn god-knows-how many tons of Wyoming coal amplifying the bass runs to "Roxanne." And the flip-side of these celebrity pretensions, of course, is the disturbing fealty paid to them by the fans, as members of the public caught up in celebrity-worship are called. Obviously, the whole thing is a kind of self-reinforcing feedback loop spiraling up to ever worse grandiosity on the part of the celebs and ever more pathetic groveling worship of these fake gods by the fans -- until it becomes little more than an object lesson in the tragic limitations of the human condition."

But what about Al Gore? Yes, I still believe Gore is the only serious possibility for leadership we have at this point, even though he disdains to run. Kunstler touched that base too: "Gore..." he said, "could just put aside his pretensions for being a kind of global Wizard of Oz and just cut the shit and run for president of the US, where he might actually make a difference."

The rest of us might want to think about cutting the shit too, and later this year, before fall turns to winter, I'm going to sell my little tin shack in the desert and my automobile that I need for even the most pedestrian daily errands, and move to a city where I won't have a car. Ever again.

Cars are half, or more than half the problem. Carlessness is the wave of the future. And I would hope that vanity fests like Live Earth are not. We can do without any more such hooplas.

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