February 28, 2007

AT ECOTOTALITY: “Why the Gore story matters.”

UPDATE: In all of this, we’re just following in Eric Alterman’s footsteps. Here’s what he wrote in the September, 2004 Atlantic Monthly (not available for free, alas):

Needless to say, Hollywood offers nearly limitless opportunities for anyone seeking to expose hypocrisy in the lifestyles of the rich and progressive. Laurie David, who dedicates herself to fighting for improved fuel-economy standards and reviles the owners of SUVs as terrorist enablers, gives herself a pass when it comes to chartering one of the most wasteful uses of fossil-based fuels imaginable: a private plane. (She’s not just a limousine liberal; she’s a Gulfstream liberal.) One night I visited the home of the former TV star Heather Thomas (The Fall Guy) and her husband, the entertainment lawyer and philanthropist Skip Brittenham. I drove past SUVs and assorted luxury vehicles on what felt like a quarter-mile-long driveway to a mansion large enough to house one of the small Amazonian villages the Brittenhams want to save. Just the energy consumed by the house and all the vehicles would power a sizable chunk of Amazonia. And this was nothing next to the Sunset Strip home of Stewart and Lynda Resnick, where I attended a book party for the journalist and progressive candidate-conspirator-hostess Arianna Huffington. Guests picked at smoked-salmon and caviar hors d’oeuvres beneath twenty-foot ceilings supported by towering Greek columns. Each gilded room was larger than most New York City apartments. The house would not he out of place if plunked down as an extension of Versailles, save for the enormous bust of Napoleon in one of the salons. The Resnicks, Lynda told me, are the “largest farmers in America”; they are the country’s biggest grower of fruits and nuts, and a member of the Sunkist cooperative (she urged me to try the selection of new Sunkist beverages at the well-stocked bar); they also own the Franklin Mint. Later I listened to her refer to the celebrity-laden crowd as “disenfranchised.”

But it’s a rich lode of hypocrisy, and it’s nowhere close to mined out. And who knew that Eric Alterman was the original coiner of the term “Gulfstream liberal?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Also in 2001, Jonathan Rauch coined the more-euphonious “Learjet liberal,” though he wasn’t really talking about global warming or energy efficiency.

And there’s more, over at Creative Destruction.

MORE: Don Surber comments on the coverage:

After reading the Editorialist’s coverage at the Washington Post of Al Gore’s overuse of electricity, I don’t want to hear about Republican hypocrisy ever again.

If Al Gore were a Republican, the story of his consuming 20 times the national average while lecturing the rest of us on cutting back on our energy use would be front page news from coast-to-coast. Late-nite comedians would have a field day. The editorial pages would puff up about Republican hypocrisy.

Instead we get excuses, excuses, excuses. . . .

As a proud member of the mainstream media, let me suggest that this double-standard — this refusal to hold Al Gore accountable for his actions which are contradictory to his words — only feeds the belief that the media is biased in favor of liberals — particularly born-to-the-manor, overfed, limousine liberals who consume 22,000 kilowatts of electricity each year in just one of his three homes.

Well, look at the kind of people who own newspapers . . . .