There’s a “movie-inside-a-movie” scene in Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” where a stand-up comic riffs on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of death. He notes that Kubler-Ross came up with the five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – having not had the benefit of dying herself. I suppose there’s a silly logic to that observation – not unlike that surrounding climate change, often referred to inappropriately as “global warming.” After all, no one on earth has had the benefit of living through an ice age, so what do we know.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report a couple weeks ago claiming that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century. But that shouldn’t shock anyone, given the regular news reports about wanton coal and wood burning going on in India and China. The report also found a certainty of 95+ percent that humans are the main cause of climate change – a statistic believed by most rational people, but not by the noisiest deniers who seem to have out-sized influence.
Which brings us to the five stages of climate change denial.
1. There is no “global warming” problem
Based on detailed analysis derived from sticking their heads out the window, deniers conclude there is no problem. After all, one time it snowed so much in Washington DC, that family members of Senator James Inhofe (noted denier) constructed an igloo and cheekily labeled it “Al Gore’s New Home.” How could the globe be warming when it’s snowing in DC? QED.
2. OK, there’s a “global warming” problem, but it’s not caused by humans
After facing the results of some strange and vicious weather, some people are having trouble ignoring what seems to be a change in climate. But hell, the climate’s been changing since the Earth was created 4,000 years ago. Even before man invented coal. No way could little old humans be the cause. In fact, Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” Yeah – trees are the real culprit.
3. OK, there’s a human-caused ”global warming” problem, but fixing it will kill the economy.
Everything runs on coal and oil – so fixing global warming means going back to the horse-and-buggy. And no more lights in your house either. How would you like that? No TV and no refrigerator! There are just no alternatives to fossil fuels because stuff like wind and solar can’t compete without subsidies – and after subsidizing oil and gas to the tune of $4 billion a year, there’s no money left.
4. OK, there’s a human-caused ”global warming” problem that would cost more to ignore than to fix, but look at the bright side.
Maybe spending billions now would seem better than spending trillions later, but don’t forget the benefits of “global warming.” Do we really want to pass up all the good stuff that comes with it? New York City will enjoy Miami-like weather, farmers will be able to harvest corn all year long and make more ethanol, Royal Caribbean will spin-off Royal Arctic Ocean and begin cruises to the North Pole.
5. OK, “global warming” bright sides are outnumbered by the down sides, but it’s too late to do anything anyway, so when you think about it, there is no “global warming” problem.
Well, maybe the tundra will melt and leak methane into the atmosphere. Invasive bugs will migrate north and kill off forests. Half of Florida will be under water. World War III will start over a fight for water. But hey – what’re ya gonna do?
Would you lick these stamps?
I used to visit a now-defunct used-book store on the corner of Charles and Bleecker Streets (now a Juicy Couture) that offered an immense selection of books featuring the artwork of Touko Laaksonen aka. Tom of Finland. Called “most influential creator of gay pornographic images,” Tom created works of highly-stylized images of the stereotypical macho man embodied by some of the characters in “The Village People” and Al Pacino’s buddies in “Cruising.” Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe derived some of his best compositions from portrayals of Tom’s leather-clad, butch-cut, muscle-men. The sado-masochistic poses were often lurid, even comical, and almost impossible to ignore. Because Tom produced more than 3,500 illustrations in his lifetime, the number of books of his work was enormous – and I swear the store on Bleecker sold every one.
I suspect that outside of Gay enclaves like the West Village and Provincetown, Tom of Finland is virtually unknown. Now I see that the government of Finland plans to issue three postage stamps honoring Tom of Finland. An honorific of this nature for such an artist in uptight America would never happen, but an enlightened country like Finland seems to harbor no inhibitions. Good for them.
By the way, the stamps are self-adhesive, so you only have to lick them if that’s your fetish.