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Is it becoming cool to mock the Greens?

It is unfair to expect writers to be consistent in their views from week to week. Consistency is the “hobgoblin of little minds” and all that. I am sure that if I wanted to, I could trawl back through this site and find something that jarred with what I write today, and I would not be at all surprised if that were to happen in the future. Even so, it does make me wonder when you read a comment like this, about a recent environmentalist doomongering film. The piece is by AA Gill, who is not exactly my favourite news columnist. The review is actually pretty good, to be fair. But then I remember that he writes that the only main benefit of the space race was to kindle interest in Green issues. So what gives?

It might be nice to think that he is learning that the Green movement, or at least its more militant parts, is in fact a menace. Maybe what is happening is that for a part of the London chattering classes, even that bit that likes to be thought of as “hip” and trendy, bashing Greenery is now socially acceptable, or at least no longer an activity that gets one sent into social oblivion. Maybe, just maybe Gill and his friends have picked this up during their dinner parties. “Oh, what about global warming darling?” is simply not clever any more. I bet he has poked fun at all those folk driving around in their Priuses and laughed himself hoarse at the motoring antics of popular TV shows like Top Gear and its merciless mockery of Green prudery.

Politics and culture can often shift in subtle ways. What is, and what is not, thought acceptable to mock often sets the tone for a few years. I get the impression, partly because of the darkening economic climate, that the Green movement has lost a little headway or may even be retreating in some respects.

Or perhaps I am reading too much into a few scraps of writings.

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27 comments to Is it becoming cool to mock the Greens?

  • Laird

    A small point, but the proper Emerson quote is “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” The word I’ve emphasized is, I think, rather important but frequently omitted.

    On your main point, I only hope you’re correct. (Of course, I don’t frequent that sort of dinner party, so I have no personal knowledge.)

  • I don’t think it is difficult to be “green” in the sense of wanting to protect the environment and to still despise much of the green movement. I am not in favour of polluting the earth, I like rainforests, and I am in favour of making a considerable effort to prevent the extinction of endangered species of large animal, but I none the less despise most of the Green Movement, for being so pessimistic, so anti-technology, so deluded by fixed output fallacies, and in many cases for being an outlet for the hard left. And yes, for talking such complete and utter bilge.

    None of this precludes me from being concerned about the environment, however.

  • RAB

    So has Monbiot done a toys from his pram rant on the shameful one sided bias of Burn Up?

    No I thought not!

  • WalterBoswell

    The NYT notices that the advertising industry are taking note of the common man’s scepticism with regards to the green issue. Counting Cats has a post about it here(Link).

    I might add that this scepticism is as much to do with the shelf life of trends and fads than it has to do with deep thought on said green issues, or maybe that’s just me the eternal sceptic.

  • guy herbert

    You can agree with some Green ideas or policies and still think their puritannical didacticism and bullying desire for universal mental conformity is worthy of derision. That’s not inconsistency.

  • Coincidentally I just wrote an essay at my blog where I list half a dozen problems with the current global warming orthodoxy. It seems to me that people are finally beginning to look at this global warming scam and find the gaping holes in it.

  • We shouldn’t forget that there’s a recession/worse on it’s way. In tough times people tend to go without luxuries and greenery is very much a luxury good.

  • Simon Jester

    I’m afraid you’re a bit too optimistic with regards to AA Gill, Jonathan – his review is bashing the crassness of the way in which the arguments are presented; he has no trouble with the arguments themselves. (eg. “it is this sort of toadying and special pleading that will poison the good intentions of the green movement. It’s not the arguments or the facts or the science that are in doubt, it’s the people doing the arguing.”)

    Oh, well – perhaps realising that the green propagandists are serving up clunking, patronising, nannying, sanctimonious moralising will be the first step on the road to realising that the arguments themselves are so much bunk.

  • Laird

    “puritannical didacticism” (per guy herbert) – what a felicitous phrase! I may have to borrow it sometime.

  • Laird

    Excellent essay, FrancisT. Thanks for the link.

  • I think that mocking greens has become quite popular.

    I wrote this bit:

    The Globe Reverberates With Laughter

    Instapundit linked.

    The comment section has gone nuts. Touched a nerve.

  • Is bashing Greenery is now socially acceptable? Eh, not just yet, but we’re getting there. As with any fad, it’s just a matter of time. Once parents adopt the same philosophy as their own kids, rebellion will ultimately kick in. Suddenly it won’t be so cool to be green anymore.

    But before it ultimately dies out, it will rear its head for one last gasp. Unemployment is currently on the rise, and the number of Eco Geeks is directly proportional to the unemployment rate.

    Once that anticipated lull hits and the Eco Geeks are forced to join the rest of civilized society, my money’s in personal hygiene products.

  • Soupmonkey

    The Irish are going to be pissed!

  • What do you mean by “becoming”?

    It’s always been cool, it’s just that more folks are finally figuring it out.

    Thanks for the DDT ban guys!

    Stupid hippies.

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    As much as he snarks off about America, I still think Britain needs more Jeremy Clarksons and fewer patchouli-slurping hippie tuckfards. Rolls + Pool = great TV, and his review of the Peel toycar was BRILLIANT…


  • sunflower

    I mock my “green” brother every chance I get. You see he whines and moans about the global crisis while he air conditions the outdoors leaving the windows of his 3,000 sq. foot home open because his home doesn’t “get good air flow”. I’ve been drying my clothes on a line for 17 years because it’s free. He buys expensive laundry machinery every couple of years because the front loaders make the towels stink.

    Mock away. The “Greenies” are frauds.

  • nick g.

    I’ll repeat a joke I heard first from Samizdata-
    Save Water! Take the piss out of a greenie!

  • marc in calgary

    I think it’s not so much a problem with deciding to recycle something or to not have whale meat for dinner (again). That is one’s own decision.
    The problem I have is with the entire green issue, is that the greens, not all, but generally speaking, have great difficulty NOT telling me what to do, what NOT to do, WHERE to do it, and WHEN to do it.
    They cannot help themselves telling me or you, how to live your life… and in that, they are beyond help themselves. They think nothing of telling me or YOU what to do, how to do it, and why we shouldn’t bla bla bla.! The reason most often given is that we need to save the planet usually, yet who do we save it for? For the children? for the chinese? for who?
    I see the greens as being another level of control set upon us… like we haven’t enough control already.

    as though the socialists needed another cause to get into my pants about….


  • Mark in Texas

    On the horizon are the greenies seeing a small cloud no bigger than a man’s hand rising from the sea? Will we look back on the deep greens and think of disco or hula hoops? It can’t happen soon enough to suit me.

  • Alex

    Too true: see this review of a 4×4 in a Johannesburg newspaper.

  • Alex

    Too true: see this review of a 4×4 in a Johannesburg newspaper.

  • marc in calgary

    oh yeah, I had a point…
    Cool to mock them? of course.
    being cool has never been mainstream, it’s always been cool to be a little bit… “bad”. now greenness is mainstream, therefore greenness by definition cannot be cool, it is a given that they be exposed, as uncool.

    so mock them into submission.

    it’s late and all my lights are on yet nobody is home.

  • Patrick, London

    This is part of a wider trend to the right in politics. Lefty socialist tax and waste is now intellectually bankrupt. The greens have been taken over by the reds in recent years. As the red agenda collpses then their green part gets clobbered too.

    The future for those who are genuinely green is to abandon the lefty shit. Backing nuclear power unequivocally would be start.

  • Shannon Love

    I would say that the best reference for the “green” movement would be the “energy crisis” of the ’73-’83. Leftist energy policy ran riot from ’71-’81 driving the entire “crisis” along until the public simply had enough and rebelled.

    The problem with any attempt to create a prolonged hysteria is that people habituate to rhetoric requiring those selling the hysteria to progressively greater and greater extremes until they simply become parodies of themselves.

  • The Irish are going to be pissed!

    More than usual??

    Now that mocking the greens is cool I’ll have to find something else to do!

  • Oh! You meant the Irish are going to be angry! Forgive my understandable confusion.

  • dhanson

    I have no problem with Greens who walk the walk–people like actor Ed Begley, Jr., for example. He professes a specific lifestyle, but he also lives that lifestyle. It’s the impostors with all their high-blown rhetoric who don’t follow their own mandates that annoy me. From Al Gore to Leonardo Dicaprio, these holier-than-thou pseudo-environmentalists don’t deserve a minute of our attention until they start practicing what they preach.