Rampant cursing, messianic self-pity, the maniacal destruction of inanimate objects, decades of revenge fantasies… I’m a treasure trove of things I can teach the Lulubeans to avoid. One to add to the archives: when to stop being defensive and just admit that your critics are not always completely deranged. And so it is with the environmentalism on this blog; I’m going to completely let it go.
It’s true that I fly a lot, more than the average person, and while I’m not convinced my personal travel behavior has any real meaning, I also have to come to grips with another, worse truism: nothing I do has any real environmental meaning. None of the hybrid car-driving, none of the offsets, none of the solar power, none of my habits put the slightest dent in the problem.
Barring a completely new energy source, we’re only rearranging deck chairs. In his devastating article last year in the NYT, Thomas L. Friedman showed how two cities exploding with people – one in Qatar and one in China – renders everything we do irrelevant:
Hey, I’m really glad you switched to long-lasting compact fluorescent light bulbs in your house. But the growth in Doha and Dalian ate all your energy savings for breakfast. I’m glad you bought a hybrid car. But Doha and Dalian devoured that before noon. I am glad that the U.S. Congress is debating whether to bring U.S. auto mileage requirements up to European levels by 2020. Doha and Dalian will have those gains for lunch…
I drive my car and plan my little projects in the vain hope that I have some control over the world, but it’s an illusion than can best be described as “cute,” especially by Americans who might read this 20 years from now. And that’s where I made one of the biggest mistakes on this blog: I pretended my illusion was real, and argued accordingly.
All it really did was set me up for attacks, laying open wide avenues of hypocrisy, and leading to more cases of the Lindsay Doctrine in action. So here’s the deal: I don’t care anymore. Remember when I asked you to do “one thing” to help with climate change? I rescind my plea, and honestly, please do anything you want. Recycle if you want to, burn endangered yak fat in a pit in your backyard if you want to, I’m walking away from the charade. I’ll still do all my enviro-stuff because old delusions die hard and it’s our little way of giving Dick Cheney the finger, but I’m through kidding myself.
Part of this is because I’m tired of subconsciously – and consciously – editing myself on the blog. If I’m going to keep doing this, I can’t second-guess everything I write, and I was intentionally leaving out entire trips I was taking, cool shit I was buying, and rants that were percolating, because I didn’t want to have to hear about my conspicuous consumption, my flying, and my bourgeois tastes. I am tired of putting “for work” as a modifier to my plans, because, quite frankly, some of these things end up as stories for the career, and others end up as stories for experience.
I’ve decided I can no longer care, even a little bit, what someone thinks about my lifestyle. As such, I’m acquiescing the environmental argument. If I write about going to Scotland to taste a rare barrel at Bruichladdich, and you think my airplane is a blight on the troposphere, I’m not going to fight you. If I buy another piece of electronic equipment from the Apple Store, and you think I spend too much money on crap, I bow my head and tip my cap.
Despite the squibbling over the last few days, there is one Basic Tenet of XTCIAN, and I’d forgotten it: “At all times, you must know exactly how stupid you look.” When I got married, and some cranky old acquaintances on another message board commented that I looked “goofy” and that “Tessa was too pretty for me” and that we were “two yuppies in love… BARF!” my comment back was “NO FUCKING DUH, SHERLOCK.”
I get it, the “three houses”, the leftist claptrap, how I’m “hopelessly out of touch”, the not having a real job, the “not understanding how this country really works”, the big words, the Hollywood name-dropping, the religion-bashing, I get it, I get it. But I lost self-awareness on the environmental stuff, and I’m relieved to let it go, so I can get back to the business of being an effortless prick with a clean conscience.