Hang up a damn piece of rope, you lazy S.O.B.

I love this post ("The Moustache of Windpowerunderstanding") regarding a NYTRB review of Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America.  Excerpt:

Friedman can't easily deal with such analyses precisely
because of the tenets of the conventional wisdom, American style, which
is that fundamental change in direction is essentially impossible. The
world is a growth machine and "nobody can turn it off." Everyone wants
"an American style of life," and "their governments will not be able to
deny" it to them. So the only option is to tinker with the American
style of life to make it greener. Hence the longest soliloquy in the
book, a hymn to the soon-to-be smart home, where the solar panel calls
up to tell the "utility" when there's been a blackout, where the smart
lights in your office are triggered by motion sensors, where you plug
in your "Smart Card" ("sponsored by Visa and United Airlines Mileage
Plus") into your Sun Ray computer terminal to start your workday. All
this gear is so intelligent, in fact, that "when the sun is shining
brightly and the wind is howling" (i.e., when your house is generating
solar and wind power), your utility turns on your dryer to finish your

Does it ever occur to him, in the grip of a fantasia like this, that if
the sun is shining brightly, or the breeze is blowing steadily, you could dry your clothes on a $14 piece of rope strung off your back deck, or
for that matter on a foldable rack in the apartment hallway? And that
since most of the world already knows how to do it, we might be smarter
moving in their direction instead of insisting that they buy into our
entire high-technology suburban dream?

SSSSSSSSNAP. But seriously, who wants a crummy piece of rope when
you can have some fancy-ass robotic washing machine with wi-fi
matrix-nodes and chrome digital hologram displays automatically
adjusting how much energy it takes from the grid? How are you supposed to impress your friends with a piece of rope?

Posted by email from condalmo’s posterous for posterity


One Reply to “Hang up a damn piece of rope, you lazy S.O.B.”

  1. Thank you for posting this. The only thing greater than my utter disdain for Thomas Friedman is my love for David Rees.

    Fucking Friedman. I still haven’t forgiven him for re-issuing “The World is Flat” a year after publication–not as a paperback, mind you, but as a “revised” hardcover that cost more than the original! Ballsy. No wonder he’s optimistic–the system’s been working for him long enough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s