Why Did the Media, All at Once, Proclaim the Evils of Air Conditioning?

In the last two weeks, national news outlets have published no fewer than five articles about the evils of air conditioning.

First, the Washington Post described how Europeans can’t understand our national addiction to A/C. Then the article described how, with so many rising cities in tropical climes such as India and the Amazon adopting American standards of comfort, the whole concept clearly poses a threat to the planet. (For the record, they also don’t seem to understand why we like ice in our drinks.)

The logic here was easily refuted: Europeans live on a continent where almost every major city is north of New York. Put Europeans in Alabama for a couple of weeks in July, and they’ll be begging for both refrigerated air and refrigerated drinks.

But then, the media took a sinister turn. Air conditioning, it seems, is less an American affliction than a masculine infliction upon women. At first it was just the Washington Post; now the New York Times and Sky News are getting into the act.

Watch. Within another week, every big-city newspaper will have a story about this, with intrepid city desk reporters visiting three office buildings and a major downtown department store to check the A/C levels, and with calls to at least one HR department and building management company to find out how they set the thermostats.

(As I write this, someone just pointed me to the Denver Post’s reprint of the Post story.)

Local TV news will pick up the thread, some as a serious news report, others with the guy who does "man about town" stories walking through the newsroom in August with a heavy winter jacket on. Some producer will add in a special effect of the reporter's breath freezing on the camera lens.

At that point, it will have entered the public consciousness as "something that everyone knows." Not even a punchline for the late-night comics, but more as fodder for analogies and similes: "I was out at this club, one that's made out of ice. Yeah, you know the one, almost as cold as the offices here at NBC."

There's no way on God's green Earth anyone is going to persuade me this wasn't planned. Journolist may be dead, but its spirit lives on. So why now?

Probably in coordination with the EPA's coal-killed, energy price-spiking, "You didn’t really need that electricity, anyway, did you?" regulations.