Monday, September 13, 2010


Stories like this one, downplaying the ecological impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, have begun to appear, even on “respectable” news sites like the New York Times.

I’m like, sure.

I wonder how much British Petroleum is forking out for journalists’ expense accounts and scientists’ laboratory budgets in support of these findings; not that I doubt the legitimacy of the reported results, it’s just that the timing seems as predictable as BP’s inevitable stock price recovery. It’s only a matter of time before we hear how the oil spill actually improved the health and flavor of the local seafood: “Louisiana Gumbo—now with built-in lubrication! Gulf Coast shrimp and crawdad, the master baisters!”


You can also be sure that Conservative pundits and corporate apologists will seize upon this opportunity to claim that environmentalists are hysterical and that, see? We ought to expand offshore drilling since even “disasters” aren’t all that bad. The real disaster, of course, is just that attitude, since it means that we’ll surely experience similar catastrophes, which will similarly be downplayed by the parties most responsible for them.

Over the course of my long and storied career, I’ve found that, generally, things are never so bad as you’d feared (nor as good as you’d hoped), so in some ways, this story just reads as a kind of tautology: “Things could be worse!”

Right. Tell that to the guy spooning up tar balls off the beach in Florida: “You know, it might have been an asteroid instead of an oil spill. Then we’d all really be fucked. So, lighten up!”

I suppose that, for the most part, it’s good to be optimistic and look on the bright side of things. In a hundred thousand years, the effect of the Deepwater Horizon spill will be negligible, at most; in fact, if there’s any oil still left over, it will be a good thing: our silicone-based descendents can use it to baste their plastic shrimp.


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