Sounds like a really long band name but no, it’s the gist of an Eco Hustle column from March 2011. From the archives of Flagpole and sadly, still relevant, to wit:
On the off chance that it is becoming possible to think about the climate crisis and our economic collapse as related events, consider the admonitions coming from the financial institutions, corporate media and political establishment of late. Is there any doubt that most of the talking heads on cable, along with an uncomfortable ratio of the professional politicians they report and comment on, do not know what they’re talking about when it comes to the causes for and ways out of our economic recession? Why does the picture seem so incomplete? What’s being left out of the discussion? Who, speaking through silence, bears the name of the one who signs the text?
Perhaps the most famous man to shed a tear in a television commercial was a Sicilian actor named Iron Eyes Cody. Dressed as a Native American of indeterminate tribal affiliation, he paddles a canoe through stagnate waters to a shore littered with all kinds of trash, smokestacks chugging away in the background, eventually arriving at a crowded highway. “Cannon” and “Bullwinkle” star William Conrad intones, “People start pollution. People can stop it.” The Keep America Beautiful ad left us with the salutary glimpse of the tear running down his face.
Maybe this very powerful ad seemed like a turning point when it aired in 1971, and maybe it was because we’ve been tacking the other way ever since. Instead of giving the crying Indian a reason to dry his eyes, we’ve spared no expense to design the perfect towelette to wipe his tear, while generally discouraging such public displays of disaffection. Rather than seeing it for what it was, this example is much more instructive in the service of what was to follow.
The reality show of the American energy future has continued apace, not unrelated to where we left the crying Indian with trash at his feet a few short years ago. Built on the distinct appeal of “tune in next week to see what happens,” it has evolved into an elimination of survivors where we’re making do with what’s left. Yet even as we’re all quite sure that cheap oil won’t last and that anthropogenic C02 emissions will alter the chemical equilibrium of the Earth, the pre-eminent question remains not how, but whether we will plan ahead.
We facilitate this down the line – from the shows we watch to the books we read to the politicians we elect. It’s pretty much an accepted fact that a singular hyperpower will eventually be ruled by an oligarchy. Pace Jefferson and Payne, no one knew how candid this transition might be under the direction of democratic capitalism. Corporatized masses looking to further their economic advantages any way possible foment a reality we are only on the lookout for more ways to showcase…
Read the whole thing, as the kids say.