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.