Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dead Earth

I’ve never been much for music festivals or benefits: too much shit to deal with. I have a hard enough time spending three hours at a regular show. The thought of spending all day and/or night seeing multiple bands in a genuinely uncomfortable setting, being treated like cattle, and paying extortionate prices for basic food and services makes no sense to me. When those kids at Woodstock II rioted, pillaged and burned shit down, over issues like $6.00 bottles of water being sold on a 90+ degree day, I really didn’t think they were all that wrong. The general media consensus was “these kids are a bunch of amoral animals, as expressed in their mediocre music, so unlike their superior parents.” My consensus was these kids were smarter than their parents, which wasn’t saying much; I did agree that their music sucked for the most part.

The only big benefit from my youth was Live Aid, and I vaguely recall tuning in and out most of that day. Again, no urge to be there. If there’s a band you like, they’ll be on for 20 minutes. Most bands you won’t like, and all you do is sit or stand in the sun for upwards of 10 hours, unable to move around, and after five hours, that shit must get old. That’s all I could think watching snippets of this Live Earth concert yesterday. It depressed me for a number of reasons, which is why I would tune in for 30-second snippets here and there, then immediately tune out.

Above all, I couldn’t stand the sanctimonious pandering, a real bad trait too many “committed” people have. When some carbon-spewing star lectures me about global warming, all I can think is the isolation of stardom has got to be a horrible thing to create such a shameless hypocrite. Think about the amount of energy that went into putting on these shows: the lighting and sound systems, the cameras, the backstage areas, the thousands of cars that the fans drove to the shows, the TV cable systems showing the concerts, the computer cable systems broadcasting the show on the web, the satellite radio stations broadcasting the shows. The stars themselves, in terms of air travel, private or not, are regularly responsible for turning out much more globally destructive emissions than I could ever hope to by riding a subway train every day.

These pricks are lecturing me about “carbon footprints” when theirs are like Shaquille O’Neal’s sneakers compared to my baby boots? Sheryl Crow didn’t appear to be at any of the concerts yesterday (shockingly … the bitch hits every environmental PR opportunity), but she made the asinine (pun intended) statement a few months ago about only using one sheet of toilet paper to wipe her ass. No more annilingus fantasies involving Sheryl Crow!

I wouldn’t mind if these people would cop to the enormous amounts of energy they burn up in pursuit of their ambitions, and then have sense enough to not lecture regular people about such a topic. (The televised concert appeared to be a nonstop “green” propaganda event more than anything: a constant loop of awful, PBS-pledge style short films that were smarmy in the worst way. I have a hard time watching the Sundance Channel anymore as a result of the same partisan stumping Robert Redford uses his channel for, just as bad as Fox.)

I understand that in the course of running this economy on a daily basis, there will be tons of fuel used with accompanying emissions. Trucks and airplanes are still used en masse to transport goods and supplies, as they must be, unless we want a society in collapse. Public transportation is such, at least in New York where it’s actually very good, that it’s already crowded, and I’m not quite sure where all these people driving to work are supposed to go if they abandon their cars. Mayor Bloomberg is pushing real hard to impose an $8.00 fee for vehicles entering Manhattan (but only in the lucrative “white folk” areas south of 96th Street); he’s doing so with some truly revolting ads suggesting that small black children living near bridges will have even worse asthma if we don’t stop cars from coming into Manhattan.

I got news for you: every neighborhood around these $8.00 zones will become a gigantic parking lot, including Astoria, where I live. Idling cars stuck in gridlock around these areas as they try to find parking spaces to avoid a Boston Tea Party-style $8.00 surcharge are going to create more asthma-inducing emissions than there are now. You better believe I think Bloomberg is a douche bag for employing this kind of propaganda. (Rhetorically, it also flies in the face of his previous push to build a sports stadium on the west side of Manhattan, which would have greatly increased vehicular traffic into the city. He was trying to woo the 2012 Olympic folks at that time … not sure who he’s trying to woo now with this foul travel tax bullshit. But he’s directly contradicting himself.)

I don’t have major problems with people who “go green.” Sure, they can be annoying at times, especially the ones who ride bikes everywhere and don’t use deodorant. You’ll find that plenty of educated folks in New York put themselves on a pedestal regarding green issues … because they can. Because you can live here without a car (I do), and find markets that sell over-priced organic produce, and ride your bike to and fro, and surround yourself with people who agree with you 100% on all these environmental and political issues. Best of all, you can have someone pick up your garbage every week on schedule and have them deposit it in holes in the ground in red states (or blue states with red-state areas) courtesy of shady local politicians and land owners in those places with no concern for their communities. (Sorry to employ the red state/blue state nonsense. But isn't it refreshing to read it in a way where "I despise working-class white people who aren't Democrats" isn't implied?)

But I do basically agree with these people, as much as I’d like to beat them like red-haired step children for their occasional arrogance. I can see that their intentions are good, that they’re committed to their way of life, that they recognize a larger world spinning outside their own little world. It’s only when this way of seeing the world is fed to me as doctrine that I chafe, and shit like this awful Live Earth concert is the usual celebrity-based bully pulpit. I don’t know how these people get so far into these issues. I understand actors and musicians have a lot of down time on sets and tour buses, so I’m guessing that after you’ve done your weight in blow, after you’ve fucked a thousand beautiful strangers who’ve offered their services for free, after you’ve spoiled yourself and turned so far away from the possibly nice person you were once upon a studio apartment in a bad neighborhood, you feel some burning need to be a good person. And this is how it comes out. Not quite realizing that the average person, give him credit, knows bullshit when he smells it, and doesn’t like being lectured by self-absorbed, pampered twats.

How did I feel catching snippets of Live Earth? I felt like buying an SUV, a vehicle I truly loathe for a number of very good reasons. One that gets about five miles per gallon, and runs on a hybrid of gasoline and blood. Putting a machine-gun turret on top of it. And riding that gas-guzzling piece of shit from here to the Arctic Circle, shooting every hippie, polar bear and baby seal along the way, using their blood to fuel my demonic SUV. I’d also want a gigantic selection of plastic shopping bags to throw out the window when not firing the machine gun. After reaching the Arctic Circle, I’d want to open up an oil pipeline, light it on fire, and find some way to melt the polar ice cap, as if I were The Joker in Batman gone totally berserk, with no Batman to stop me. When I’m done, build a gigantic floating Walmart that you’d need jet skis to shop at – sort of like the ones used in Kevin Costner’s hit movie Waterworld. Take a vacation afterwards, to the beach at Pittsburgh, and dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean.

The overall message I always pull from these events: we aren’t the world, although we like to see ourselves as such. I was never much for pep rallies.

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