Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I hate buzzwords! It's not "carbon," it's "carbon dioxide"

Salon Life: By Cary Tennis

Question:... After 'carbon-neutral' became a buzzword, I asked a co-worker to explain what it meant and what carbon had to do with it. Was that covered in the parts of 'An Inconvenient Truth' I had skipped over?

The co-worker explained about carbon dioxide offsets and this was a concept I understood, even though it seems a lot like the buying of indulgences. What I don't understand is why no one is calling the concept correctly -- carbon is not carbon dioxide! One is a black solid. One is an odorless, colorless gas. Couldn't they call it CO2 neutral? ...

Dear Bothered by Bad Buzzwords,

The crowd is dumb but it knows what it wants. It wants a picture of the pollution it opposes. It cannot see carbon dioxide, but it can certainly see the evil Blackie Carbon!

So it names this thing it opposes "carbon," rather than "carbon dioxide," in an act of willful synecdoche. ...

The crowd hates us when we dare to point out that it is carbon dioxide and not carbon that is pouring out of exhaust pipes... You just don't get it, the crowd replies. It's the spirit of oneness we feel in opposing what we oppose. You obviously do not feel the ecstasy of belonging that we feel, so it is irrelevant to speak to you. You are not one of us. If you want to be one of us you must perform a sacrifice. You must put aside your carping about facts and join us in spirit. We are the crowd. We are omnipotent. We have the songs to prove it.

And you can put that in your pipe and offset it, too...

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