The Huffington Post, in its battle against global warming and smog, is emitting dangerous levels of smug, as a recent post exemplifies.
The Huff’s recent post “Oprah Winfrey Shocks Viewers with Surprise Gift” sent smug-meter readings off the charts. The article was about Oprah’s habit of giving away free gifts at Christmas to the audience (evil woman!) and the audience’s somewhat hysterical joy in receiving these presents. The author of the post admits to feeling repulsed by this Christmas scene of giving and receiving presents:
I have to admit to watching clips of this year’s “Oprah’s Favorite Things” over and over again, with a mix of fascination and revulsion.
Revulsion? That’s a pretty strong emotion when you’re simply watching a rather light-hearted chat-show, but as the author sententiously reminds us: “We make light, but there’s something deeply disturbing about this scene”.
What’s so ‘deeply disturbing’ about Oprah giving presents to people at Christmas, according to the article, is that it is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the modern world, and why we are now supposedly facing the catastrophe of global warming for our sins:
Not only has this unprecedented abundance of material and sensory stimulus (pick your poison… sugar, porn, gambling, drugs, television…) led to “epidemic rates of obesity, anxiety, depression, and family dysfunction,” we find ourselves coming due: climate change, water and food scarcity, biodiversity and habitat loss, social and economic injustice, and increasing conflicts over diminishing resources, including the very energy sources that have fueled this explosion of abundance.
Don’t you just love the way that “sugar, porn, gambling, drugs, television” are all lumped in together by these latter-day puritans? According to them, sugar is the new gateway drug.
So what’s their answer? Well, the post was a guest piece by Asher Miller of The Post Carbon institute, designed in part to publicize their new book “A Post Carbon Reader”. So let’s see what they have to say about the modern world. Here’s Stephanie Mills of the Post Carbon Institute (and one of the authors of the book being pushed) in an discussion hosted by Counterpunch, entitled “Three Luddites Talking”:
Stephanie Mills: The latest technological onslaught is proving to be more complete and brutal than we could ever have imagined – you think?.
Chellis Glendinning: I find it hard to conjure words to even speak of it.
SM: I’d say this recent rampage is a function of the exponential growth of populations and economies. It has to do with globalization and the steady increase in computational power. It’s what Jacques Ellul called technique, which is intrinsically hegemonic. This onslaught is the accelerating momentum of technologies and instrumental mentalities that are exterminating spontaneity, undermining love and common decency. It’s a thief of time and includes all the palpable and subtle violations of body, mind, and spirit done in the name of science, government, enterprise, progress, and profit. It’s the ugliness of mass production and consumerism, the banality of advertising. Although it claims to do just the opposite, it’s predicated on disempowering and effacing persons.
Wow! There’s some pretty strong emotions against the Western lifestyle there. So what does Stephanie of the Post Carbon Institute suggest as the way forward?
SM: I’d say any prediction worth its weigh would consider the spiritual, material, and unintended consequences of introducing a new technology to the world . . . [it] has to proceed from the premise that death and pain, short life spans, and no bread without sweat must be accepted.
I urge you to visit Counterpunch and read the discussion in full for an insight into how these people view modern society: http://www.counterpunch.org/chellis05292009.html
Is the Huffington Post aware of the views espoused by Post Carbon Institute fellows like Ms Mills? Do they also believe that “death and pain, short life spans, and no bread without sweat must be accepted”? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Either way, the contempt for normal people and lifestyles, and the holier-than-thou condemnation of modern society (on an exclusively Internet publication, of course) is what’s sending the smug-meter readings right off the charts.
Stephanie’s profile at the Post Carbon institute can be found here: http://www.postcarbon.org/person/36221-stephanie-mills)