Monday, July 09, 2007


Well, as I predicted, the Live Earth concerts were a great success despite their failure to draw interest. I also wondered about the curious diplomacy of the world's biggest polluter, literally and morally, telling the rest of the world, much of which is trying to figure out where its next meal is coming from, how they (not we) can help save the planet. This article addresses both points.

Evidence is accumulating that most normal people are fed up with being lectured about the need to conserve energy by people who fly in private jets and own multiple mansions. Fifty-six percent of the British public, for instance, believes that global warming fears are "exaggerated."

Repackaging is quite the order of the day when products flop in the marketplace. So we have the curious spectacle of morphing press coverage. For example, an early Reuters report bluntly described the extremely poor turnout for the free Live Earth concert in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach (on a "perfect" winter night - when tropical Rio is merely comfortably warm) as les than 100,000. Since the hype had it that over a million would come, and since Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones managed at least twice as many concert goers a year ago in the same location, it does look like an embarrassment.

But in the hands of the Associated Press, the same concert was a huge success - the biggest crowds in the whole world for the triumphant effort. Suddenly less than one hundred thousand became "400,000" and they were "packed" onto the famous beach, which just recently was thought able to handle a million-plus concert-goers.

I have yet to see any crowd estimates for the Washington, DC concert, but the photos in the Washington Post show what looks like an awfully puny turnout there. Apparently the concert in Wembly Stadium in London sold 65,000 tickets, though. For their money, the fans got to see Madonna simulating sex with a guitar and other big names of yesteryear doing their thing. The critics were not impressed, while at least some of the fans weren't buying the ideology:

Certainly, on the way into the show, some of the 65,000 people who'd spent $110 on a ticket appeared unaware of the seven-point pledge that Al Gore, the event's chief impresario, had asked all spectators to make. Asked about it, they offered blank looks and said they were there for Madonna (whose annual carbon footprint, according to Buckley, is 1,018 tons -- about 92 times the 11 tons an average person uses per year).

"I'm not even sure who Gore is," said Georgie Simpson, 35, from Ipswich, in eastern England. "Frankly, I think it's cheeky of Americans to come over here and lecture us. They are the worst polluters."

America's rock stars lecture the world on how to behave. How uniquely American. And they wonder why Muslims want to erase us.

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