Sunday, March 04, 2007

THEY SURE DON'T MAKE ANCHORESSES LIKE THEY USED TO. The popular right-wing web scold calling herself The Anchoress is fond of declaring that global warming is a Big Lie in which only dirty hippies like Algore believe. Today she leapt forward with this news:
In light of the growing intimidation of skeptics by financially conflicted globaloney globalarmists…it seems quite timely — indeed, important — to post this quaint little reminder:

….. over 17,000 scientists declare that global warming is a lie with no scientific basis whatsoever. [ridiculously long ellipsis, hysterical tone & formatting in original]
One would not know from her stop-the-presses tone that the petition to which she refers -- widely known as the Oregon Petition -- dates back to 2001 (it was meant to defeat the possibility of American endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol), and that its organizer, Frederick Seitz, is kind of problematic:
Shortly before his retirement from Rockefeller University in 1979, Seitz began working as a paid permanent consultant for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, advising their research program.
For fun on a rainy day, you can open up the Petition's signatory lists and check some names. I picked Mike Ibarguen. He might be this longtime oil company engineer, or he might be the 1970 Detroit Tigers #2 draft pick. Or both.

None of this means that the matter is settled. Furthermore, it is certainly, observably untrue that critics of the global warming consensus are censored and go unheard -- on the contrary, if you Google "global warming" you will find many, many links right up front to GW skeptic sites, starting with the EPA's. In fact, the news hook of The Anchoress' effusion is the imminent showing on Britain's Channel 4 of a documentary called "The Great Global Warming Swindle."

Also, some of you may know that the United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and shows no sign of doing jack-shit about carbon emissions. Acceptance of human responsibility for global warming is not the official U.S. government position. Its currency is based on the judgment of climate scientists -- an impressive preponderance of them.

Yet The Anchoress talks about their findings as if they were mere slanders sent by Satan to confuse mankind. This befits the perpetually enraged tone of her blog, which is mainly about the hellish perfidy of liberals.

She is the sort of Catholic who, when talking about the need to repent hypocrisy for Lent -- which one would imagine to be a very personal and self-directed kind of activity -- feels it necessary to spend most of her contemplation on the hypocrisy of others. Take this criticism, for example, written in the first-person style of the old Jerry Lewis Telethon "I am Muscular Dystrophy*, and I hate people, especially little children" monologue:
I’m an environmentalist and I’ve done so much to raise awareness that I don’t really have to worry about the mines on my property, or flying my private jets because - thanks to me and my advocacy - a million little people will do their part to make up for that pollution...

I’m a journalist who went into the craft because I wanted tell true stories…but these are complex times with relative truths, and so I can completely bury stories of progress in Iraq while sobbing about a lack of progress in Kosovo because it’s for a greater good, as informed by my worldview...
To be fair, she does add some talk about the hypothetical possibility that she might be hypocritical sometimes -- though, to be sure, not as hypocritical as her enemies. I'm sure Jesus loves prayers like this.

I should inform you folks -- or those few of you to whom it has not been long obvious -- that I was raised Catholic, and one large source of my disaffection with that creed, and all creeds, was the awareness that Catholicism's strongest advocates were those who had learned how best to game its system.

If the dizzying scope of the child abuse scandals of the American Church was never a surprise to me, it was not because I had seen the pedophilia, but because I had smelled the bullshit: if a Church that professed to follow the teachings of a lowly carpenter and outcast could possibly get over among lower-class families (like mine) while dripping with Vatican bling, it stood to reason that its "celibate" priesthood, with its all-access passes to little boys, would include many sprat-fuckers whose activities would be excused as part of the cost of doing business.

So the online Anchoress is no surprise to me, though she is a bit of an outrage to the small part of myself that wishes to think well of my old religion. The great joke of her site is that she portrays herself as the online equivalent of those mystic Anchoresses of old: shut-ins, contemplatives who willingly sought the sort of enlightenment through isolation that was granted to such as Boethius. Yet from the evidence of her writings, the online Anchoress is in no way isloated: she has a husband, kids, a house, a wide network of friends and acquaintances, and several paid ads on her website. And I would bet my hope of eternal salvation that she has most, if not all, of the creature comforts available to other middle-class Americans. In other words, Julia of Norwich she ain't.

Yet from her comfy web space she throws down jeremiad after jeremiad, claiming the authority and pulpit of saintly deprivation when in reality she is a typical, middle-class, enraged Republican blowhard.

It kind of puts things in perspective when you realize that they are so fraudulent that they aren't even aware of committing fraud.

*UPDATE. How could I forget that Jerry Lewis telethon'd for MD, not MS? Apologies.

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