IPCC – Soothing Ellen Goodman’s Terror Of Global Warming.

Any man who has ever spent a night in a room with a woman knows that they are prone to certain kinds of irrational fears. Standard disclaimer: this does not mean to suggest men don’t have their own irrational fears – the plethora of Natural Male Enhancement Ads on TV proves it. But in this case The Beast is talking about a fear specifc to the other gender: That Noise Out In The Dark.

The Beast cannot count the number of times he was rousted out of a warm bed in the wee hours of the night to pad into the house or out into the yard and make sure that there were no axe-weilding murderers lurking under the sofa or in the bushes. While he was never particularly thrilled to shiver about in the cold, he understood that it was important to perform this comfort-ritual and he always did it with grumbling willingness. Manly reassurance of one’s spouse is a responsibility and benefeit of Masculinity; a time-honored division of labor that even feminism cannot erase. It comes with the greater muscle mass, just like heavy lifting. Driving legions of pissed-off raccoons away from the trash at two o’clock in the morning is just as much our job as taking that trash out to the curb the next day

So deeply ingrained is this habit that when the Beast read Ellen Goodman’s panicky Op-Ed in The Boston Globe today, his first instinct was to try to calm her fears. The IPCC’s fourth report on Global Warming (oops – sorry, it’s “Climate Change” now, isn’t it? Or have they changed it again? The liberals swap names and labels faster and more frequently than Cher in concert.) has her terrified. Naturally she would not consort with a lowlife like him, but if she did, how might it go…?

(Author’s note, while Ellen’s dialogue is taken directly from her Op Ed, the stage settings and actions, as well as theBeast’s dialogue comes entirely from his fevered imagination.)

*

The Calming Of Ellen
By The Hairy Beast

(Scene 1 of 1.)

Interior of a gloomy bedroom decorated in feminine fashion with posters of baby seals and Al Gore on the walls. A door opens and THE BEAST creeps in.

THE BEAST: Ellen, are you okay? Your friends are worried about you – they called and said you haven’t been yourself, something to do with a report you read? They say you did something odd. What was it?

ELLEN: On the day that the latest report on global warming was released, I went out and bought a light bulb. OK, an environmentally friendly, compact fluorescent light bulb.

THE BEAST: (Sits.) Ok. Did you think that buying a light bulb was going to save the earth from Global Warming?

ELLEN: No, I do not think that if everyone lit just one little compact fluorescent light bulb, what a bright world this would be. Even the Prius in our driveway doesn’t do a whole lot to reduce my carbon footprint, which is roughly the size of the Yeti lurking in the (melting) Himalayas. But it was either buying a light bulb or pulling the covers over my head. And it was too early in the day to reach for that kind of comforter.

THE BEAST: Well, if buying a light bulb makes you feel better, so be it. But Ellen, this fear is not rational. Setting aside the fact that you went out and bought a Prius, which everybody knows sucks in the snow, there’s no reason to be so scared! The science is still not selttled, Ellen.

ELLEN: (Disagreeably.) By every measure, the U N ‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raises the level of alarm. (Voice rising.) The fact of global warming is “unequivocal.” The certainty of the human role is now somewhere over 90 percent. (Yelling.) Which is about as certain as scientists ever get!

THE BEAST: (Soothingly.) Well, I wouldn’t get too worked up over that “90 percent” number. The actual statistical standard for certainty is “95 percent”, so setting the number below that is misleading – it gives the impression that the researchers have reached “statistical certainty” when they have not. First off, my dear – this IPCC report is a summary, not the actual scientific report, so there’s no point in getting too upset until the actual science is released, probably three months from now, when it’s warmer. The IPCC summary is a political document. And you will be happy to know that lots of people who have seen the draft of that scientific report are saying that the IPCC summary is really quite different from the IPCC science, which may have some relevance as to why they were not released together. (The Beast pulls a sheaf of papers from his pocket and squints at them in the gloom.)

THE BEAST: Look, Christopher Moncton has seen the draft of the actual scientific report being circulated, got a copy of it right here, and this is what he says about it: (Reads aloud.)

“Figures in the final draft of the UN’s fourth five-year report on climate change show that the previous report, in 2001, had overestimated the human influence on the climate since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third. Also, the UN, in its 2007 report, has more than halved its high-end best estimate of the rise in sea level by 2100 rom 3 feet to just 17 inches. It suggests that the rate of sea-level rise is up from 2mm/yr to 3mm/year – no more than one foot in a century. UN scientists faced several problems their computer models had not predicted. Globally, temperature is not rising at all, and sea level is not rising anything like as fast as had been forecast. Concentrations of methane in the air are actually falling.

 

Though carbon dioxide in the air is increasing, global temperature is not. Figures from the US National Climate Data Center show 2006 as about 0.03 degrees Celsius warmer worldwide than 2001. Since that is within the range of measurement error, global temperature has not risen in a statistically significant sense since the UN’s last report in 2001…”

ELLEN: (Cuts in irritably.) I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

THE BEAST: “Holocaust Deniers”? Come on, Ellen, these are the actual numbers that the actual science is coming up with.

ELLEN: But a lot of social science research tells us something else. As Ross Gelbspan, author of “The Heat is On,” says, “when people are confronted with an overwhelming threat and don’t see a solution, it makes them feel impotent. So they shrug it off or go into deliberate denial.”

THE BEAST: Ellen, it’s not “denial” if it’s true, even the scientists say so.

ELLEN: So how many scientists does it take to change a light bulb?

THE BEAST: (Laughs.) Real or flourescent green?

ELLEN: (Irritated.) The report is grim stuff. Whatever we do today, we face long-range global problems with a short-term local attention span. We’re no happier looking at this global thermostat than we are looking at the nuclear doomsday clock.

THE BEAST: Oh I remember that doomsday clock – the liberals used it to project how close Reagan was bringing us to Nuclear War. I think it was down to five minutes at one point…

ELLEN: (Agitated.) Can we change from debating global warming to preparing? Can we define the issue in ways that turn denial into action? In America what matters now isn’t environmental science, but political science.

THE BEAST: (soothingly.) Ok, maybe some day the politics of Global Warming won’t be more important than the science. You just rest and calm down. It’s dark in here, can I turn on a light?

ELLEN: (Sinks back into the pillow in despair.) We are still waiting for the time when an election hinges on a candidate’s plans for a changing climate. That’s when the light bulb goes on.

THE BEAST: Ok, no light for now. Let’s go get you some tea, maybe it will make you feel better.

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20 Comments

  1. frothingatlemouse
    Posted February 10, 2007 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Gosh, this is lovely. Except I can’t get to sleep because I’m laughing too hard.

  2. frothingatlemouse
    Posted February 10, 2007 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Also, I wasn’t able to post my pithy insightful comment vis a vis climate change.

    So fucking what?

    That’s essentially it.

    And for any lurking whackos, we recycle our guts out. blah blah blah

  3. Posted February 10, 2007 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Froth,

    Glad you got a laugh – formatting a script in HTML is a BITCH. You couldn’t post a comment on the Man Shortage Post? Try Again – the Beast loves your responses.

    THB

  4. Anonymous
    Posted February 10, 2007 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Let’s suppose for the sake of discussion, that everything in the report is absolutely true, and that Al Gores dismal vision of the future will in fact come about. What are some of the logical steps and actions to save mankind from itself? How about:

    1. Stopping all unnecessary travel, like that Caribbean cruise you’ve planned for the last 10 years – Sorry, those boats have been sunk to make reefs, or that pilgrimage to Mecca or Rome (unless of course you can walk there ). There goes the tourism industry.
    2. Forbidding the cooling of buildings to below 90*F in summer or heating above 60*F in winter. Better bundle up, and buy or make hand held fans.
    3. Las Vegas? Reno, Monaco? Forget it. Fun is non-essential.
    4. How about manufacturing and shipping of non-essentials like toys? There goes China, India, Brazil, Korea, Russia, etc. Because MOST manufacturing is non-essential.
    5. Closer to home, better get used to using hand tools, because power tools can only be used for essential construction.
    6. Saving starving children of Aids parents in Africa? Ain’t happin’ baby. Sorry, you’re on your own.
    7. Hey, how about lunch with Aunt Emma in Chicago? It’s only a 1 hr. drive. No, No.
    8. Got a hot tub, sauna, swimming pool? Better turn it off. Non-essential dontcha know.

    You see where I’m going with this? Putzing around the edges with 10% improvements in gas mileage for the family car, or holding sing-alongs is a waste of time. Worse than that, it’s political deceit of the worst kind.

    In other words, they would have us stop doing everything that makes life worth living. Might as well put a gun to our collective heads right now. Of course, all this begs the question of who gets to determine what is essential. Any guesses about that?

    Of course the other option is a global human population below 100 million or so.

    Nope. I’ll go down kicking and screaming thank you. I will not voluntarily commit suicide.

  5. Posted February 10, 2007 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous,

    Wow – great points. Wish you weren’t anonymous, the Beast would love to read more if you had a blog.

    Thanks for the comprehensive comment – well done!

    THB

  6. Posted February 10, 2007 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    frothingatlemouse – your household “recycles its guts out”?

    Oh, great, that’s terrific.

    Recycling was the first and biggest con of all.

    Costs infinitely more and does more damage to the environment than dumping it into landfills (of which we will NEVER run out … land, lots and lots of land, unused).

    Or the disgraceful cost and pollution created by recycling ink-filled paper & cardboard. Paper, which is a genuinely 100% renewable resource. Isn’t planting trees supposed to be a good thing? Haven’t you ever felt just a bit stupid recycling one of the few 100% renewable resources? And contributing massively to pollution and the creation of low paid meaningless jobs into the bargain?

  7. frothingatlemouse
    Posted February 11, 2007 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Caz, I think you’re probably right. We live in an area that had curbside recycling, “environmentally conscious”, etc. etc. I don’t disagree with you and we’re probably hypocrites. It’s a battle I don’t choose to fight with our local powers that be. It’s not like I started the program or drag our shit out to the recycling centers myself.
    You’ll be pleased to note I don’t participate in Earth Day festivities and it’s all I can do to not bring up Eichorn or whatever the murderer’s name was to the organizers of the hoopla.
    Anyway, no, I don’t feel any more stupid about this than a lot of other stuff. Do you feel stupid by using things that are made by companies that pollute?

  8. frothingatlemouse
    Posted February 11, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Also, I wasn’t trying to be snarky, Caz. Just couldn’t think of an interesting “other thing” to feel guilty about. It’s Sunday morning and I’m half awake.

  9. Posted February 12, 2007 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Too good…I remember writing a script in college for a high school class, Kerry vs. Bush. we had so much fun with it.
    really, the script is great. Could make some money?

  10. Posted February 12, 2007 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    “No”, on your direct question Frothy, but definitely “yes” about recycling, and a lot of other stuff, which I know to be economically and ecologically stoooppiddd. Besides, everything causes pollutions of some sort, one way or another, so I’d be beside myself if I got hung up on companies that caused pollution.

    The perception-politics game and consumer feel-good, but do-bad stuff pisses me off no end, and, of course, we now have waaaayyy more of this to come, just bigger and dumber.

    Ethanol anyone? Yes, let’s use water, land and food for fuel, thereby wasting water and land and food that used to sustain PEOPLE, and pushing the price of crops up so that people can’t afford to eat.

    Trade offs, everything has a trade off. THINK! Why oh why doesn’t anyone THINK!

    See, see, I really do get pissed off about this. It only takes a few seconds to assess consequences …. surely people in government have a few seconds to think every now and then, and economists too; oh and those fluffly friendly little environmentalists.

    *Sigh*

  11. Posted February 12, 2007 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Ironic,

    Dialogue is HARD as I am sure you know. Scripts are good practise – you should play with various formats. The internet is our friend; script or screenplay formats are easy to google. Try them.

  12. Posted February 12, 2007 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Froth and Caz,

    It’s winter in New England, hence a plethora of Ice and snow but a shortage of mud. Perhaps jello wrestling? Can you agree on a flavor?

    The Beast is thinking “Wild Cherry”….

  13. Posted February 12, 2007 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    In the cold – ha! You jest. I’ll give it further consideration when gerbil werming cranks it up a bit more.

  14. Posted February 12, 2007 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    caz,

    It is currently a balmy -8 degrees celsius (16 degrees in real temperature), with snow on the way. Still, spring is around the corner…

    So no objections to “wild cherry” eh?

  15. Posted February 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    What about banana jello? It reeks more of summer and has more double entendre possibilities.
    It’s 72 and raining here.

  16. Posted February 12, 2007 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Apparently global warming has already descended upon us.

    Oh. We were already warm. Fancy that?

    I like warm. Bring me more warm. And a nice earthdog to make fun of…

  17. Posted February 14, 2007 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    As a friendly reminder, Earth Day is April 22, right around the corner, and easily the most important geophysical celebration day in a short list of American holidays that stress doing something for someone besides yourself.

    Because of the caring, loving, concerned nature of Earth day celebrant’s, strict attention should be paid these tireless enviro-laborers and every effort should be made to support and applaud their good works.

    Since cash payouts to schoolchildren and their concerned elders would seem tit for tat, the more lasting reward of moral superiority and self atisfaction in solving the worlds problems seem not only longer lasting, but prepare youngsters for a lifetime of do-gooder and buttinsky medling in the affairs of others, and the sense of righteous indignation when ignored, spawning more legislation to bring the slackers into line.

    At a time when public school monopoly has gifted parents with a unionized teaching class with greater interest in salary increase and benefit expansion rather than actual education of children, children need to remain focused on the evils of corporate greed, capitalist enslavement and wholesale abuse of Mother Earth. In this way, no stone will be left unturned in the fight to free the opressed, right the wrongs of slaveholding founding fathers and saving the defenseless, tragic planet from pernicious neglect.

    Coupled with stalwarts of reasoned debate and the enemies of overdramatic hyperbole, children across the globe will continue to strive, graciously, to hold back the forces of destruction and disrespect, embarking on generations of preservation of energy and resources, revitalizing the wounded orb we all call home.

    Clearly, someone needs to make a movie about the selfless effort to save humanity from itself.

    Eleen, will you do a cameo?

  18. Posted February 15, 2007 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    More a rasberry girl myself.

    FYI.

  19. Posted February 15, 2007 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Kim and Caz

    Ok so there is a definite fruit flavor disconnect.

  20. Posted May 24, 2014 at 1:53 am | Permalink

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