When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

05 July 2008

Guest Post: Global Weirding

John deVille, aka Mountain Hermit, sends along a guest post today:

The flathead dude, aka The Prophet, has mouthed some serious bullshit in his day and garnered serious bucks and accolades for said bullshit. But he has reached new heights, not just for himself mind you, but for all dedicated purveyors of the art of bullshit.

The air is not just rarefied in Aspen but so unique as to cause neural activity previously unknown. It's either that, or the sensational stories I've heard about Colorado pot were actually understated.

Our Prophet appears to be leaving the smoldering images of Iraq in his rear view mirror, a place where all his flowery prognostications went up in a cloud of IED smoke and shrapnel. He seems to be headed for the region successfully plowed by Al Gore.

Enough prologue, let's get to The Prophet's Message:
"We're not post-something anymore," Friedman said. "We're not post-war, we're not post-Cold War, we're not post-post Cold War. We're pre-something. And what we're pre-...is the energy climate era, defined by these five problems going over a tipping point. And how we manage these five problems, I believe, is really gonna define the stability or instability of the 21st century."
I dare you to read that passage to someone you respect with a straight face. I mean I'm a pretty good bullshitter and I would have to practice a fair amount. Look in the mirror: "We're not post, we're pre-something." Giggle. "We're not post, we're pre-something." Bite tongue hard. Giggle. I give up.

The Prophet continues:
Friedman also warns of strange new weather patterns — what he refers to as "global weirding" — coming in the energy climate era.

"The weather is gonna get weird," he said. "We're gonna get hotter hots, longer droughts, heavier rains, heavier snowfalls."

In addition to strange weather patterns, Friedman warns that we are in an "extinction period," witnessing extinction rates 1,000 times the norm, giving rise to what he calls "the age of Noah."

"We are the first generation of human beings that are going to have to think like Noah," he said. "We are the first generation of humans who are going to have to think about saving the last two pairs."
"Global weirding" -- The Prophet can turn a half-assed phrase, I'll give him that. It sticks with you. So, I decided to see if I could register it as a domain and then sell it back to Flathead and damn if someone didn't beat me to it. Type in globalweirding.com and it points you to LIFEONTHEGREENSIDE.TV which is all about "green living" and it is broadcast on cable in one market......ASPEN!!

Did The Prophet smoke a fat one while eating a club sandwich in his hotel suite, flip on the telly, and find some material to "borrow?" Hmmmmm.

But back to The Message. "Hotter hots" and "the age of Noah." Got to learn to think like that Noah. Let me check the Bible here quick:
"Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent." Genesis 9:20-21.
Well, shit, I've got a good friend in Chapel Hill who thinks almost exactly like Noah. Now, he doesn't plow nor tend a vineyard but he does know how to buy PBR by the case at the Food Lion and he's the master of that getting drunk and being nekked in a tent thing. Except he calls his tent the Love Lounge and you can see him in it with one of his sirens singing right here.

And "saving the last two pairs?" What?

Anyway, back to The Message:
Friedman argues that the solution to these problems will require "a serious revolution," and he calls for the development of an "energy internet," which he defines as "basically a smart grid that goes into a smart home that's connected to a smart car, basically, where all your devices are on the internet and can day-trade electrons for you."

"Without an energy internet that basically connects clean electrons to a smart home to a smart car," he said, "you will never get the scale that you need."

"Only if we got abundant, cheap, clean reliable electrons could we deal with climate change, petro-dictatorship, biodiversity loss, energy poverty, and energy resource supply and demand. That is the cure."
I'm all for that "serious revolution" thing. The non-serious revolutions, the half-hearted revolutions, the kinda funny revolutions aren't good revolutions. The Prophet did not on this day, speak to the question as to whether neoconservative revolutions with their attendant economic, cultural, and political uprootings imposed on foreign peoples without their consent were serious revolutions or not but he was busy.

By using the word "serious" as a qualifier, The Prophet elevates His Message above the din of the other purveyors of bullshit. His bullshit is serious bullshit; it's so serious in fact that it's not bullshit but rather, bankable dogma all ready to be rolled out on cable news, the New York Times, and Charlie Rose. Let the great centrist altar calls commence, The Prophet is serious. And, by implication, all those who disagree with him, you know, the Dirty Hippies, are not serious.

And not only is The Prophet and His Message serious, mind you, well, the whole damn enterprise is rather smart if you ask him. Smart grid, smart car, smart home. Hmmmm. I wonder what happens to the environment once we all, well, those of us who can afford it and feel compelled to follow, dispose of our stupid cars and stupid homes?

"Without an energy internet that basically connects clean electrons to a smart home to a smart car," he said, "you will never get the scale that you need." OK, Tom, there is such a thing as holding the smoke in your lungs too long. Clean electrons? What are clean electrons? I'm sure they are both smart and serious, I can tell you that much. The really cool thing about the clean electrons if you noticed, is that one no longer associate with nasty Muslims. Having failed to convert the Middle East to the neoliberal faith that globalization is really cool, The Prophet is Coming Home to preach to the Infinitely More Gullible. Because these clean electrons pretty much solve All Our Problems.

And how do we get these clean electrons? Simple really, human cloning:
"This is an innovation problem," Friedman said. "We don't need a Manhattan Project....What we need is 100,000 Dean Kamens [Segway inventor] in 100,000 garages trying 100,000 things, so maybe ten of them will come up with that holy grail of abundant, cheap, clean reliable electrons."
For a guy who has spent a lifetime dissing True Believers of religion, it's amazing the chutzpa Friedman has when it comes to promoting the supranatural. But I readily concede The Prophet will make millions on his new book and that it shall be lapped up as any other cure would be by a desperate empire so eager to return to its position of glory and dominance.

{enrevanche: feel free to edit and post at yer place}

[not edited, but posted - bc]

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