Thursday, February 15, 2007

Oil: A Slick of Corruption

I have a strange feeling that we're not likely to survive as a species on this planet another five or six generations, unless we allow for some ideas and perspectives that we ourselves might have dismissed, some ten or twenty years ago, as "just too strange."

For a living example of what I'm talking about, click the graphic above and watch the film of this historian/comedian at work. The piece is hosted by our friend Tom over at Current Era.

Now this picture to the left is the result of a survey I took at a BP site that I reviewed for the Webby Awards. Think of it as the equivalent of those Philip Morris ads that counsel parents on keeping their kids away from cigs: this is one of the monsters of the oil industry teaching us how to reduce our carbon footprint.

This is why the message that my cat gave us last night is meaningful (for real: she transmits the content, I just type it out and then open a can of tuna). You are surrounded by slick advertising, and the verbal, PR slick is as poisonous and as deadly as the other, Valdez-kind of slick.

Example: on a day where the EU Parliament released a report that virtually closes the case for impeachment (on both sides of the pond, mind you), the Rove spin machine went into distraction overdrive—once again with the puppet sounding another note of provocation toward Iran. All this on the day after the head of the Joint Chiefs—you know, the military expert—had weighed in with an opposite opinion.

The mass media, of course, are reporting it all; but as always you have to read everything in order to discern the truth. Buried in the last paragraph of the New York Times' report on the Bush provocation today, is this:

Mr. Bush has also refused to meet with Iran’s leaders, and he said Wednesday that he did not believe that it would be an effective way of persuading the Iranians to give up their nuclear goals. “This is a world in which people say, ‘Meet! Sit down and meet!’ ” he said. “And my answer is, if it yields results, that’s what I’m interested in.”

Well, as long as Bush is in office, we'll never find out, will we? It's Karl-22 all over again: we refuse to resort to diplomacy because we know it will never work; and we know it will never work because we say so. But if it ever does work, you can be sure we'll take credit for it somehow.

Our world today: where Wal-Mart produces ads that tell of "Sam Walton's dream" come true—of a charitable, generous, community-minded empire; where BP with its pockets stuffed with burning lucre says, "let us help you measure your carbon footprint"; and where the Rove machine spins fiction into fact, tragedy into victory, abject failure into Mission Accomplshed.

Marketing is death.

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