All you need to know about the state of Google these days is summed up by comparing two concurrent weekends of splash pages: the transnational search engine couldn’t be bothered to create a customized page last week for the traditional Christian holiday of Easter, but could create one for the gnostic “Earth Hour” festival to pay homage to Gaia. (In a blackout design which ironically uses more power than their usual white page!) And speaking of “Earth Hour”, Tim Blair writes:
The University of Sydney isn’t taking any chances. “Campus Infrastructure Services will be switching off as many non-essential lights as possible, while ensuring that safety and security on our campuses is maintained,” said an administration email sent last week. “There will be some street and path closures to allow as many lights as possible to be switched off.”
So they’re closing streets to protect students from dangerous unlit areas. Sounds like the university needs to work on its definition of “non-essential.”
That’s one thing about light; it makes dangerous places safe. Light is emblematic of civilisation. Nobody would visit Paris if it were known as the City of Dark. Likewise, we rarely invoke the Dark Ages to describe a pleasant situation. Bruce Springsteen possibly wasn’t in the happiest frame of mind when he wrote “Darkness On The Edge of Town.”
Supporters of Earth Hour like to talk about the important symbolism of the event in terms of climate change and suchlike. The deeper symbolism is of a rejection of progress – of the centuries of research and innovation that culminates in us being able to bring light by flicking a few grams of plastic.
That’s an excellent point. During the 1996 election Bill Clinton promised that his administration would build a bridge to the 21st century. But followers of his vice president seem to want to build a bridge back into the 11th century, particularly when you add their rejection of mechanical and engineering progress with a rejection of centuries of hygienic advancements as well. The hippies of the 1960s wanted to Start From Zero; their successors are determined to return there, dragging the rest of us back to Year Zero with them whether we want to reprimitivize or not.
(Incidentally, I wonder how they’d react if a hospital told them a loved one suffering a heart attack couldn’t have electrical defibrillation because the juice in the emergency room was off for Earth Hour?)
Update: Found via Mark Steyn, Darrell Epp suggests, “Forget