There is an ancient Cree Indian proverb that I just made up that roughly translates to, “if you say it enough times, it will be true.” As everyone knows, this worked out really well for the Cree Indians, who must have said “this time these crazy white folk’ll keep their promise” about one thousand times.
As a child, I used to tell folks I was the “missing link” a mini-Sasquatch who was the genetic bridge between ape and man. I supported this with a highly-dedicated ape imitation (which, under the right circumstances, I will still do from time to time). Then one momentous moment, I discovered women. Or rather, I discovered that girls were like guys except they smelled nicer, and so I switched gears, and pretty much from that day forward have been perpetuating any number of personal myths. Following the Cree Indian proverb, I should at this point be a Vin Diesel/Arnold Schwarzenegger hybrid who is known as “Johnny Depp’s more talented younger brother”.
Unfortunately for the American continents indigenous peoples and my adolescent self, reality does not work this way. That doesn’t keep us from trying to believe the fantasies about ourselves, and repeating them as often as we can.
Case in point is the great length to which companies like Exxon Mobile will go to convince not only themselves but the general public that not only is their industry part of the future, but that their favorite “future practice”–hydraulic fracturing–is a safe and sustainable way to harvest energy.
They seem so confident in this truth with commercials like this.
Nevermind the fact that hydraulic fracturing only extracts a fraction of the amount of natural gas underneath the earth, or that everywhere it has been done it has either caused earthquakes (South West), poisoned water wells and made people sick (South West, Pennsylvania), and caused a couple of well explosions (South West, Pennsylvania). Never mind the recent Cornell study that pointed out that over its entire lifetime, hydraulic fracturing has a larger carbon footprint than even coal.
It’s just a matter of pretending! Say it enough times and it becomes true. In that case, I should like for climate change to not exist, and for me to be named King Hipster of Brooklyn, Lord of all Smugdom. But just like my mother told me when I was 5 that there was no way I was going to be able to grow an Afro, a reality check is sometimes needed. If you are so inclined, I encourage you to go and sign this petition to protect the Catskill Forest Preserve from Hydraulic Fracturing. It will definitely give you something to boast to the shorties about instead of your usual lies about how much weight you can lift and how much you like hearing about their cats.
In terms of personal denial, as we all know the fake end of the world passed Saturday without incident, and while it did prove that its pretty dumb to bet on the end of the world, it also proved how shittily we would deal with the real end of the world. “World’s ending? I bet there are some really good deals at the bar!” I mean, if God were coming down to send all the damned to hell and beam up all the saved ones, wouldn’t people be a bit more concerned about making sure they got on to the god ship? I think we really just can’t think about the possible end of the world. I’m not saying the world is going to end anytime soon–just noting how absurd we are in dealing with the concept. Maybe goes a long way to explain why we insist on doing next to nothing to combat climate change. Perhaps our greatest existential threat not only carries with it the threat ofa radical change in our reality/lives/expectation, but the solution would require an equally radical change. So until then, we keep our eyes out for bar deals with clever names so that we can get drunk and lie to girls about the size of naughty bits.
10 inches, 10 inches, 10 inches.