Monday, April 23, 2007

That whooshing sound overhead?

It may in fact be the sound of a joke whizzing by.

Last week, singer Sheryl Crow unveiled a plan to help save the Earth and all the fluffy critters on it: limit toilet paper usage to a single square:

Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required. When presenting this idea to my younger brother, whose judgment I trust implicitly, he proposed taking it one step further. I believe his quote was, "how bout just washing the one square out."

She was clearly joking, but her humor was a bit too subtle and nuanced for many commentators on the right, who reported it as an earnest suggestion.

So Sheryl Crow, singer turned anti-global warming warrior, wants to limit everyone’s toilet paper use to “one square per restroom visit.” Surely she jests. -- Margery Eagan

Now from a website branding itself as "the intelligent alternative":

That said, let's get on to your other tasteless and calculatedly sensational grab for publicity. Come on, Sheryl, you cannot honestly believe that someone like yourself, who travels in high society, actually practices what she preaches, in claiming that everyone must save the planet by using only one sheet of toilet tissue per bathroom visit, no matter where or when it's made. -- Joan Battey

Good name, Ms. Battey.

The best coverage had to come from the crack team over at Newsbusters. The story was important enough to require no fewer than five separate updates. Ken Shepherd spent a lot of time today thinking about Sheryl Crow's butt. I suppose it's a nice gig, if you can get paid for it.

Spend even a minute in the story's comments, and you lose all hope for both Newsbusters and for humanity in general. It's all "Don't shake hands with a liberal!" and "No wonder Lance Armstrong dumped her!" Classy crowd over there. Almost nobody has the simple sense to wonder if maybe Crow wasn't being entirely serious[1].

No, Crow must think she's come up with a powerful, world-saving idea all by herself, utter nitwit that she is. Amazingly, one guy marvelled at how oblivious she must be to not notice that her own brother was poking fun at the idea.

All this raises the question of why so many failed to notice the tongue in the cheek. My theory is that the proposal fits the right-wing mythos of out-of-touch, wealthy, emptyheaded eco-nuts telling other people how to live. It's a useful stereotype to distract people away from serious proposals like mine:

  1. Before eating potatos or lemons, wire them into your house's electrical system until they're fully discharged.
  2. Compost things rather than throwing them out. Compostable items include dryer lint, newspaper, copies of Ann Coulter's Treason, your neighbor's SUV, and surplus children. This population problem isn't going to just solve itself.
  3. Solar powered helicopters!


Best. Coverage. Ever.

Surgery went well, but until I get these braces off, I can only hunt 'n peck. It's frustrating.


[1] The one guy who brought up the possibility then spent a couple of paragraphs detailing why a TP-rationing law would be difficult to enforce. So he's still a bit thick.

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