Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 'Green Police'

The Audi car company ran a commercial during the Super Bowl where the 'green police' functioned as the arbiters of everything that is good and decent in the world. As Jonah Goldberg points out, neither the liberals or the conservatives found it too amusing:
Some eco-bloggers disliked the ad because it reinforces the association of undemocratic statism and PC bullying with environmentalism. Perhaps that’s why the New York Times dubbed it “misguided.”

Meanwhile, some conservatives didn’t like it because it makes light of what they believe is actually happening. After all, in America and Europe the list of environmental crimes is growing at an almost exponential rate. The ad is absurd, of course, but not nearly as absurd as Audi thinks....

To me, the target demographic is a certain subset of spineless, upscale white men (all the perps in the ad are affluent white guys) who just want to go with the flow. In that sense, the Audi ad has a lot in common with those execrable MasterCard commercials. Targeting the same demographic, those ads depicted hapless fathers being harangued by their children to get with the environmental program. MasterCard’s tagline: “Helping Dad become a better man: Priceless.”
My view has been (at least in my adult life) that while we are called to be good stewards of the earth and carry out common sense ideas, the 'green police' is closer to reality than we would like to admit. Goldberg in his column essentially says the commercial fits into the Stuff White People Like crowd. Buying an Audi, with its 'clean diesel' (whatever the hell that is - is it like 'clean' coal?), gets one off the hook. Sorry, buying a 'green' car isn't going to save the world, just as avoiding plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, and incandescent light bulbs aren't going to save the world either.

Buying a hybrid car is the epitome of the attitude, 'look at me, I am making the appearance of caring about the environment'. If that is your attitude, that's fine, I won't tell anyone. That's the choice people make, but at the same time, let the rest of us live. If I want to use plastic bags and incandescent light bulbs, then I will, thank you very much.

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