Sunday, 6 June 2010

Oil Spill Hysteria

As often happens with crises, hysteria breaks out. This is certainly the case with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. People lose their ability to process and start spewing verbal nonsense, speaking from an emotional place rather than one of reason. That's fine for the average idiot on the street, but it's not what I want to hear from the TV or radio newsman. Hearing Mr. Newscaster report as news that the American public is outraged because Obama is not--or not outraged enough about what's happened. What would an angry president accomplish? Why is it news?

Now lots of people are casually signing up to groups on social networking sites entitled "Boycott BP" and the like. What good does that do? And how many people are really going to boycott BP? We like to demonize people. We like black and white, good and evil and we really like to know who to blame. A satirical article in the Daily Mash picked up on this with it's article entitled "Oil Well Capped Before Everyone Realizes it's Their Fault". (

We want everything we want when we want it and none of the knowledge as to how we get it. If we know all the behind the scenes, then we're responsible. But as long as we can claim ignorance, we just pretend and expect that corporations that bring us our goodies are being obedient, respectful, honest people--innocent until proven guilty. Well, folks, this is the reality. This is how we get oil. These are the risks we take. This is how you go to the pump and fill up your car. This is how planes fly. Oil spills. Oil wars. It's a dirty business. It's a dirty fuel.

Of course this is a disaster that everyone would have preferred to avoid, but this is also an opportunity to reexamine our choices, our dependence upon and obsession with cheap oil. Let's use this time to give a second thought to risks, to priorities, to possibilities and to our choices, or at least to educate ourselves of what we're saying when we say yes, thank you, keep the cheap fuel coming. Boycotting BP (forever or for the duration of the leak) isn't going to prevent oil future spills or environmental mishaps.

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