Friday, June 30

Are We There Yet?

Thursday's Quote of the Day from 2005's Teenager of the Year Jonah Goldberg, re: Ezra Klein:
This is a classic example of the perils of blogging to an audience that already agrees with you.

How we got here: Jonah wrote one of his time-tripping 50s classroom film monologues in response to this WaPo piece on CO2 emissions, insisting that America's overrepresentation in the production of greenhouse gasses misses the context:
The American economy sustains the planet, pulls millions out of poverty, keeps the sea channels open, develops most of the medical breakthroughs, provides most of the funding for international institutions (including the finger-waggers at the UN's environmental divisions), offers the best higher education to the world's leaders, and generally provides a blanket of security for much of the planet. I could go on, but you get the point.

To which Ezra had the, well, common sense to point out, among other things, that that list of "Um, Good Things ('And I Can Go On' Remix)" has (even where it's true), little if anything to do with greenhouse gas emissions or the article which provoked it.

Fun side trips your family will enjoy:

• Try to spot the point at which "40% of the greenhouse gas emissions by light vehicle" becomes "25% according to the DOE (funny how Ezra missed that). "

• Watch for the first appearance of the "I'm not saying we couldn't be better" reverse somersault, proof that Jonah takes the issue seriously enough to quote entire emails sent to him.

• Count the number of times Jonah or his readers ("We have to pollute because we're supporting those lazy Europeans and their lackluster economies/ Besides the rest of the world pollutes more/ Besides, warm weather is good for you.") pat themselves on the back for any reduction (or small increase) of greenhouse gas emissions in the past 15 years. Compare that to the number of times anyone mentions that two months ago the EPA reported that in 2004 US greenhouse gas emissions increased 1.7% and represented the largest amount of such emissions ever recorded. Consider how funny it is that Jonah missed that. Funny, funny Jonah.

• And you won't want to miss the traditional "Readers can decide" or the solemn rolling out of the "Sorry, I really have to go". Get in line early for the "I'll have more on this tomorrow morning" parade--it's been known to happen! (Mr. Goldberg scheduled to appear)


Anonymous said...

I still can't believe he's got a national forum. His point, I suspect, is not so much that America needs to pollute because of all of these swell things we do, but that America *deserves* to pollute, because we are great people doing swell things.

Which is equally pathetic.

Hope the homefront is peaceful, Doghouse.

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly astute, as usual. Speaking of reverse somersaults, my favorite inverted arabesque is the argument that because we conservatives were so successful in creating and enforcing the Clean Air Act, there is no longer any need for it so let's gut the sucker.

T.H. said...

i notice that jonah defended the use of fossil fuels, and never discussed how to wean the system away from them.

he might have done it before, but i believe the next time he talks about that will be the first time.

Anonymous said...

Man, whenever I read Mr. Goldberg I fly into a Master Shake like rage. "This is commentary to these people! People CHOOSE this!"

I mean, what, if I donate enough to UNICEF I have the right to kick an orphan? The vast majority of the things he lists as our gifts to the world wouldn't be reduced or destroyed if we became more efficient at the old burn-and-drive.

Fuck, better fuel efficiency would benefit most consumers.

Really, people PAY Goldberg to do this! It's his job! How incredible is that?