“ARE WE HAVING FUN YET”
From Hi, Mom! Monologues from the Characters of Climate Change
The Funster appears on stage, dressed in supervillain garb.
Are we having fun yet?!
It’s been too long, my little Lambchops.
But worry not! Your old pal the Funster has been working on something extra special. A scheme decades in the making! The most diabolic design ever dreamt of by a degenerate as deranged as dear little me.
The time has come to pull back the curtain and show you the inner workings of my malicious machinations—the intricacies of my prodigious, pernicious plot. I give you nothing short of the End of the World!
“How?” you ask. “How could he possibly do it? What colossal catastrophe could he conceivably contrive to claim he could bring about the End of the World?” Well, I must admit, I couldn’t have done it without my accomplices:
My puppets. My unwitting slaves. For generations you’ve sung like strings on a piano as I’ve expertly tickled the ivories of your minds. Through you, I’ve committed such inequities of mis-information that each idiotic individual will simply sit back and watch the impending immolation. I refer of course to the eradication of the natural environment. I’ve gotten you to give up before the battle has even begun; to surrender, to even fight in favor of your own destruction!
A few examples are undoubtedly in order.
First, something simple. A little trickery of terminology. Remember when the awful alteration of the atmosphere was called Global Warming? “Global Warming?” I said. “What are you talking about? Try standing on a street in North Dakota in the middle of January! Doesn’t feel very warm to me!” And you all fell for it. So, those adamant activists rebranded the issue. Now it’s Climate Change. “You know what another word for Climate Change is?” I said. “Seasons! In fact, some places could use a little more climate change. Los Angeles only has spring for about five minutes and the rest of the time it’s summer!” You watch, it’s gonna catch on like a California wild fire. I can’t wait to see what trite little title they try next. Maybe something like, “Weather Erosion,” or “Anthropogenic Armageddon.” Doesn’t matter. I’ve got a comeback for every one. Are we having fun yet?
See? Nothing too overt. Just a subtle manipulation of information. After all, who wants bad news? Who wants to know they have to get off their backsides and make a difference? My truth is more convenient.
Let’s try something a little more difficult. What would you call 80,000 metric tons of garbage floating in the sea, cycling in the constant whirlpool of the ocean’s currents? I’ll tell you what I called it: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. “That doesn’t sound good!” you say. “Why would you want to call it that? Wouldn’t that get everyone into an uproar about this pollutionary problem?” Indeed it would, my little marionettes, and indeed it did! Such a hue and cry there was! “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Why, that sounds horrible! It sounds abominable!” People were saying it was twice the size Texas. Nay, the size of India! Plastic bags and car tires and empty bottles and Barbie Dolls—a continental collection of carcinogenic containers and crumbling cast-asides coasting across the sea. Then people actually looked at it…and there was nothing. No blanket of abandoned baubles, no floating island of derelict detritus. It was all a hoax! “Those hippies have been blowing things out of proportion yet again! Let us give the matter no further thought or credence.”
Except, of course, that’s never what the people in the know claimed the Garbage Patch was. What you actually have on your hands, my brainwashed Berts and Ernies, is not one but several vortexes of submerged debris all across the world, broken down into bits of microplastic, able to travel thousands of miles until it find its way into the open maw of some unsuspecting sea creature. In short, it’s not the clump floating in your soup to be wary of, but the broth itself! And since you’ve all stopped paying attention, the analysts and scientists, those modern-day Cassandras doomed to see the coming destruction but never to be heeded, have only learned that the problem is all the larger than they had originally suspected. You only wish you were dealing with a great floating mass of undesirables, easily scooped up and disposed of. But how do you filter out the microscopic flotsam choking the very life out of the underwater jungle without taking all the precious marine life with it? But you won’t be duped again, will you? No, they cried wolf, and you’ll be damned if you’ll fall for it a second time. And so the oceans continue to churn your invisible toxic stew. Are we having fun yet?
Then there was the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Eeeeveryone knew about that one— trying to cover that up would have been like asking people, “Are you sure there was a World Trade Center there in the first place?” 2,210 tons of oily slop washed up on the Louisiana beaches; cleanup workers were having seizures, vomiting blood, miscarrying, suffering liver damage, kidney damage, nervous system damage, mental health damage; the catch of seafood plummeted; fish mutated and died; whole swaths of sea life were eradicated; and the dolphins—let’s not forget about the precious little dolphins—baby dolphins died at six times the normal rate. Baby dolphins! They’re even cuter than regular dolphins! From Florida to Texas, 1,074 miles of coastline contaminated by crude oil—oh, what kind of cunning conspiracy could conceivably counteract such a careless calamity?
Simple: numbers! Numbers confuse everyone. Throw numbers at them, their eyes glaze over and they enter a temporary vegetative state. A few numerals mixed into the argument, and people will readily concede that you know what you’re talking about—just so long as they don’t have to. A mere four months after the spill, the White House energy advisor claimed that seventy-five percent of the oil was gone. Which is to say, the problem was mostly taken care of. And everyone went, “That’s the same as it all being taken care of!” Imagine if someone told you that your child was only mostly not on fire anymore. I wonder if your reaction would be the same.
Except that seventy-five percent wasn’t exactly accurate. Twenty-five percent of the oil had been removed, some of it by evaporation or setting it on fire, meaning it’s all up in the air now; another twenty-five percent had dispersed, which is to say broken down and diluted, some of it by chemical dispersants. That’s not the same as being gone. That just means it’s broken up into tiny little droplets down there toward the bottom of the ocean where it’s much, much harder to get to, getting eaten up by the plankton who are then eaten by the little fishes which are in turn eaten up by the bigger fishes and birds and dolphins and whales, passing all that pollution in utero to offspring, until you have migratory birds all the way in Minnesota whose eggs not only have oil in them but also the chemicals meant to disperse the oil!
So, in actuality, only about half the oil was removed, which is not the same as most of the oil being removed and a far cry from all of the oil being removed. Meanwhile, the available fishing areas were diminished by over a third, tourism dropped because no one wants to surf on a beach that looks like Godzilla threw up on it, and the entire ecosystem was thrown into chaos: are we having fun yet?
And now, oh now, my Punches and Judys, I’ve got something new a brewin’. Something that may well be the crowning achievement of my criminal career. My pièce de résistance! Something so appalling absurd, no one would dare question its credulity. I pitch it to you: all these disasters, all these weather storms and ecological anomalies—it’s not pollution or human industry that’s causing them. It’s the government…controlling…the weather.
I can tell you don’t believe me.
Well, guess what. A lot of people do.
The white trail left by planes as they soar overhead? Climate changing chemicals! Any unfamiliar cloud pattern in the sky? Clear indications of artificial weather alteration! The 2017 blockbuster hit and critical darling Geostorm, about weather-control satellites threatening to destroy the world? A documentary! That’s right. Hollywood makes movies like that so you’ll just think it’s all sci-fi nonsense.
Who’s behind this new scientific chicanery? The liberals! The conservatives! The Rothschilds! The Rockefellers! The Illuminati! Why? For control! For money! For power! Thwart your enemies with a hurricane! Cripple an economy with a tsunami! Disasters on demand, and relief ready to be sold!
Think about it. The belief that your enemies are controlling the weather. As an arch-villain, I have to say—that’s better than actually being able to control the weather! Admittedly, it’s still in its infancy: just a few low level politicians and internet loons spreading the good word. But just you wait, my puerile Pinocchios. I predict that like a plague of locusts this nefarious notion will spread and swarm until each and every one of you is a true believer. Why? Because it relieves you of that burdensome responsibility. It is the ultimate denial—the collective washing of the hands by the human race, like Pontius Pilate, of every environmental issue, every atmospheric anathema. It is the throwing in of the towel, the final capitulation—seven and a half billion people turning their backs as a global destruction of their own making crests like a tidal wave over their heads—are we having fun yet?!
. . . . .
Frankly, it’s been too easy. There’s no challenge in it. It’s like playing chess with a toddler. I crack my whip and watch you jump through my hoops and it’s just not amusing anymore. It’s pathetic. Who would have thought getting the average populace to scoff at the scientific elite would be a walk in the park? Just a few callous words, a snide comment or two, and all the evidence is shunted away.
After all, environmentalists are embarrassingly easy to make fun of. Those great big dippie hippies. They’re like a be-spectacled high school student with asthma and a speech impediment. And there’s that little bully in the back of everyone’s mind that can just, with an all-encompassing sweep, discredit anyone based on the ease with which they can be ridiculed. (hippie voice) “But man, it’s like, Mother Earth...it’s like Gaia, man...like, we’re all one with the stars and the plants scream when you step on them and it’s all so heavy, maaan.” No one who talks like that could possibly be worth listening to. Nevermind that you’re referring to a fractional, over-stereotyped part of a prodigiously larger community. Certainly, there couldn’t be educated scientists and professors amongst their ranks who’ve been doing generations’ worth of research into the very topic they’re trying desperately to educate you about. Surely that isn’t possible—because they talk funny!
Remember that old commercial where the car drives past the Indian chief and the passengers throw their trash out the window, and the chief turns to the camera and he’s shedding a single tear? That was a simple message that everyone could understand: “We’re destroying the natural environment.” Brilliant in its simplicity. People love simple. And honestly, when it came to rebutting it, I totally phoned it in. “What a cheesy, obvious attempt to pull at the heart strings,” I proclaimed. “That’s not a real Indian chief! It’s just some actor they hired. And frankly, I find it exploitative.” Now, that was just a placeholder, there until I had time to come up with something better. But you all bought it! “Yeah, fuck that Indian! Let’s keep throwing our shit out the window. And into the air. And into the water. No dumb-ass commercial is gonna tell me how to live my life.”
How often have you heard politicians belittling the rise in the sea level? “It’s gone up three inches since the early 90s? Ooh, we’re so scared! Three whole inches!” I never thought that would catch on—that people would honestly compare the quadrillions of gallons of water being sluffed off the icecaps in order to raise the level of the planet’s ocean to the inch of water in a measuring cup. Seriously, even a child understands that if you dump that inch of water out of the measuring cup into a bathtub, it’s not an inch anymore. And if you fill up the bathtub to an inch of water, then go dump that in a swimming pool, sure doesn’t look like an inch to me. Then a lake—a river—the whole goddamn ocean! “No, an inch of water—that’s nothing to be concerned about.” Are you shitting me?
Same thing with the global temperature. The rate things are going, the global surface temperature is looking to rise from one to eight degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. “Pssh! A few degrees! That’s what everyone’s in an uproar about?” You’re not cooking fish sticks in a toaster oven, assholes! You’re raising the median temperature of an entire fucking planet! How much shit do you think you have to puke into the air to accomplish that?
There’s a town in Pennsylvania called Centralia. You’ve never heard of it, but there’s a coal fire that’s been burning there since 1962. It’s still going! Fifty-six years and there’s no sign of it stopping. A coal mine caught fire, the government decided it was too expensive to put it out, and it’s been vomiting carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases ever since. The entire town had to be relocated. Do you understand that? It was considered cheaper and easier to relocate everyone in the town than to put out the goddamned fire! Centralia! Look it up! You’re not going to, but it’s still fucking there!
Why isn’t anyone fighting me? Don’t you care about the planet you live on? Don’t you like breathing? Don’t you like having food to eat that isn’t marinated in liquefied dinosaur remains?
Fracking! Did I tell you about fracking? Oh, you’ll love fracking! It’s the bridge to renewable energy! That’s what they say. Do you know what it actually is? It’s digging into the ground for gas and oil! “Wait? Isn’t that the opposite of renewable energy?” Yes, it is! They run pipes deep under the ground and blast the rock with high pressure water mixed with chemicals so that the rocks will fracture—hence “fracking”—and essentially bleed gas and oil back into the pipes. So, not only are they still siphoning oil, but they’re crumbling the rock beneath our feet, upsetting fault lines, and letting oil, toxic chemicals, and methane—oh, yes, methane, the lightsaber to Climate Change’s Darth Vader—spill into the drinking water! And yet people get away with it because they say it’s the bridge to renewable energy. That’s makes as much sense as saying, “You know what the first step to getting sober is? Heroin!”
Clean coal! Clean coal! I can’t believe I even need to explain the mutual exclusivity of those two terms. Why don’t you just say “Polished fecal matter” or “Friendly AIDS?”
I’ve won! I’ve already won! I won years ago, and nothing has been more depressing to me in my malignant existence. I thought I was working so hard, being so ingenious, only to find out I was essentially power-walking my way through the Special Olympics. There’s nothing satisfying in it. My goals have been met, my ambitions achieved. I have nothing to live for! Why don’t you just fight me? Somebody fight me! None of this information is hard to come across. It just takes a modicum of common sense. That’s why I’m appealing to you. I’m confessing everything, showing you my entire bag of tricks. Don’t misunderstand my actions for altruism. I want to watch you all dissolve into puddles of your own industrial filth. I want to see your children trying to scream in agony only to discover they don’t have the oxygen to do it. But I want it to take some effort. So, take what I’ve told you, Google one thing I’ve mentioned for Christ’s sake, sift through the mire of obvious misinformation, and perhaps you can prove a worthy opponent to me. Perhaps after all this time, we can have the battle of wits I’ve been craving, an ultimate altercation of awesome adversaries, the anticipation of which sends me into an apoplexy of evil ecstasy, with all of you acting in allegiance in attempt to abjure my absurd aspersions with all the intellectual ammunition you’ve acquired, the awesome accumulation of your environmental acumen against my artful artifices so that at long last I may again ask, “Are we having fun yet?!”