Monday, October 25, 2010

Word up, Mr. Stanhope

I saw Doug Stanhope perform in the summer of 2009 and it was fantastic. He was drunk off his ass and the set started off a little slow, but by the time he got rolling the whole audience was being tickled to tears in hailstorm of spit and venom. This bit here was part of that routine.

As with everything else, he hits the nail directly: the media will never tell you what you really need to hear. Not because of any shadowy conspiracy or what could really be called an ulterior motive. It's simply that it would be bad business and major media outlets are for-profit businesses. That's no secret. The news has no problem giving the public truth, so long as it remains profitable.

Unfortunately, for all life on Earth, it doesn't just stop at making people feel bad about fucking in the front-hole. All environmental issues ultimately come down to questions of consumption and consumption is the motor that makes the system run. Media outlets rely on advertisers that rely on consumers consuming their products. If a media outlet tells you not to consume, advertisers must pull their support or face funding their own undoing. Therefore, when enough people are sufficiently freaked out by the global environmental crisis, Green Marketing is the solution. "Get by with what you need" does not sell anything. "Buy green" sells. Sadly, it is the antithesis of sustainability.

So, while scientists have been running around frantically for years trying to get people to own up to the reality of what's happening, the best you'll ever see on TV are the effects with no causes: towering trees crashing to the ground in South American forests, whales washing up on the shore full of toxic waste, great islands of plastic bags drifting through open water, little, brown children worldwide sick with typhoid or cholera or mercury poisoning, etc. Yep. It's a bummer, we say. Too bad there's nothing to be done about it.

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