Subverting the Overculture
Since the November's election debacle, Glenn Reynolds has been promoting the idea that wealthy conservatives should invest in women's magazines* to both influence the culture, and reach low information voters:
One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.
Since, by definition, they don’t pay much attention to political news, they get this sense from what they do read. And for many, that’s traditional women’s magazines — Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the Ladies Home Journal, etc. — and the newer women’s sites like YourTango, The Frisky, Yahoo! Shine, and the like.
The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft — or sometimes not-so-soft — hits on Republicans.
When a flier about getting away with rape was found in a college men’s bathroom, the women’s site YourTango (“Your Best Love Life”) led with the fact that the college was Paul Ryan’s alma materin a transparent effort to advance the Democrats’ War on Women claim that Republicans are somehow pro-rape. A companion article was “12 Hot Older Men Who Endorse President Obama.”
Similar p.r. abounded across the board: Sandra Fluke is a hero; Sarah Palin is a zero. Republicans are all old white men (women or minority Republicans get mocked or ignored).
This kind of thing adds up, especially among low-information voters. They may not know or care much about the specifics, but this theme, repeated over and over again, sends a message: Democrats are cool, and Republicans are uncool — and if you vote for them, you’re uncool, too.
Pop culture-oriented Websites are also a way to advance conservative ideas to those who wouldn't touch a political Website with a virtual barge pole.
But somehow, Cracked.com got there long before November of 2012. As I recall from the '70s, Cracked the magazine was the dumber version of Mad, equally filled with goofy satires of movies and TV shows, but nowhere near as funny, and lacking the hipster cache of the latter comic. But check out this 2009 article at Cracked.com titled, "5 Ways People Are Trying to Save the World (That Don't Work)," with topics on organic food, rejecting Vaccinations, carbon offsets. And Recycling:
The image of the paper industry hacking down every tree until we were all gasping for lack of oxygen was always ridiculous; we've increased the number of trees over the last 50 years as logging companies plant more to ensure future supply.
Equally silly were the warnings most of us got hammered with growing up, about tales of overflowing landfills, full of trash that takes thousands of years to biodegrade. At least in America, we were never in danger of walking through streets of garbage. Some expert at Gonzaga University, with a lot of time on his hands, calculated that at current rates all the garbage in the US over the next 1,000 years would fill up a 35 square mile landfill 100 yards deep.
This sounds like one of those "Holy shit!" scary figures until you consider this is about one tenth of one percent of the land currently used for grazing in the US. Also, this would be the accumulation over 1,000 years by which time we should have bigger things to worry about, like overthrowing our robotic overlords.
As for saving resources by recycling, this is where it gets tricky. Partly this is because whether or not recycling saves resources depends on whether you consider human labor to be a resource (that is, the effort to pick up, sort and transfer the items to be recycled). Recycling requires more trucks, more crews and more people to oversee the entire process. In Los Angeles alone there are twice as many garbage trucks than there would have been without the recycling program. Just like those douchebags who drive to the gym to run on a treadmill but still hop in the car to go the one block to the corner store to pick up their pork rinds and soda, it's not clear just how much benefit there is at the end of the day.
This is the sort of topic that Reason, NRO, and other conservative or libertarian Websites have written about for ages -- and it's being discussed at a Website likely read by people who wouldn't go within miles of Reason or NRO. The nearest equivalent I can think of this is South Park, or Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t series. (Needless to say, from the title onward, language alert on the following video):
* Or a newspaper. And say, there happens to be one on the market, right now...