Monday, August 20, 2007

Travel tales...

Again, I just get to drop in for a brief moment. Urgh, looking over my calendar for the next couple months sometimes I wonder whether this new job is worth all the travel. Sure, part of that includes a trip to Germany and Sweden next month* but the vast majority of my business travel is like what I had this past weekend. The trip up went smoothly** but on the way back yesterday there was rain in Chicago. And, naturally, any sort of weather in Chicago means that O’Hare’s air traffic becomes a giant clusterfudge.

My 4:50pm departure quickly became a 5:30, then 6:20, then 7:50. Being a seasoned business traveler however, I arrived at the airport early and proceeded to head for the gate to get on standby for an earlier flight. I wasn’t able to get on the first one, but was able to finagle my way into the flight after that that left at 6:00.

While standing in line to confirm my place on the standby list for that flight, I was standing behind a man who was engaged in a heated debate with the old woman in front of him about how all the “science” about global warming was a sham being perpetuated by the liberal tree-huggers. He was one of those outrageously-stupid-but-completely-convinced-of-his-correctness sorts of people that Fox News seems to be breeding like rabbits – the way exposed bananas miraculously sprout fruit flies in 6th grade science class. When the woman pointed out that greenhouse gases were rising due to the amount of cars on the road spitting out carbon dioxide, this man countered with the point (and I swear I am not making this up) that there was just as much carbon dioxide “…during prehistoric times because of all the dinosaurs’ breathing all the time! There were way more dinosaurs back then than there are cars now”. And because there wasn’t global warming to the effect there was now then logically, global warming couldn’t be being caused by elevated levels of carbon dioxide – because they were higher in the Jurassic era due to more dinosaurs breathing up all the oxygen.

I tried my best not to get involved and ignore him, but I couldn’t help but jump in when he insisted that the old lady could see how “not green” Al Gore and Michael Moore were simply by filing a request with the government under the Freedom of Information act. At that point I had to step in and help the old lady by giving her a breather for a while. Of course, I don’t think he believed my counterarguments*** but I felt like I was morally obligated to throw myself on his stupidity grenade to save the old lady and her grandkids.

* And being forced to travel business class due to company policy – oh, the humanity.
** Despite Hertz’ insistence that a Toyota Corolla is a “mid-size” car (similar to a Mazda 626 – which it costs $8000 less than). I couldn’t complain about it at the time because I was late for a meeting, but there will be a reckoning…oh yes. Hertz customer service called down the thunder, and now it’s going to get it in the form of a very strongly worded letter!
*** You know, things like “Individuals don’t have to report emissions to the federal government”, “FOI requests are only for government documents” and such.

3 comments:

J.Po said...

Oh gawd! I'm so glad you stepped in! UGH!

Sophist said...

I'm glad you stepped in, too. On a recent trip, there was a Newsweek sitting on an empty airplane seat and the headline on the front cover was "Global warning is a hoax.*" and the asterisk went to a pretty large footnote that said something to the effect of "*if you distrust all of the scientific data that has come out in the past x years.." or something. The point of the cover was that Global warning is NOT a sham.

But of course the people I heard discussing it only saw the headline and not the footnote, and discussed how they were glad that Newsweek was going to reveal to the populus what they knew all along, that global warning was a sham, and that it was about time, etc etc. that this hoax was exposed...

Now I'm sure they'regoing to tell everyone that even the liberally biased Newsweek is on board that global warning is a hoax...

Spice said...

For my class, I'm assigning this fabulous Frontline about the politics of global warming that discusses just this issue (of the public getting duped by wacko right-wingers), in addition to providing a very comprehensive overview of the politics of the issue. You can watch it online for free here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/view/