How I learned to stop worrying and love the blogosphere

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

The debate over Waxman-Markey reminds me of what I love most about blogging.

No, it’s not what you think, it’s not the chance to be snarky.  I don’t need the blogosphere for that.

No, what I like about the blogosphere is that it ultimately drives a precision in language and a clarity of thought because it is filled with people like The Talented Mr. Pielke, people who are too clever by half [or is that half clever?], people who are ready at a moment’s notice to spin some slightly ambiguous molehill of phrase into a mountainous assault on you, people whose primary blog, the ironically-named “Prometheus,” just died — let us pause for a moment of silence … and weekend of celebration, barbecue, and fireworks.

The problem arises for many reasons, such as malicious mischief, but here I’m going to focus on just one — the generally humorless nature of the global warming deniers and delayers.

My father, a lifelong newspaper editor known for his sense of humor, always said that no matter how blatant the humor he might use, some reader would inevitably take it literally and write him an angry letter.  I have endeavored to address that problem here with the “Humor” category — but that doesn’t work for small bits of humor in an otherwise serious post.

So for the first time ever — and I hope the last — I’m going to explain two jokes for the sake of those cheerless cheerleaders for climate chaos, and their head cheerleader [jeerleader?], The Talented Mr. Pielke (Jr).

The motivation for this post is a rather silly little attack on me by Pielke that I first saw on Climate Change Fraud via WordPress’s Technorati-based system that points out who links to me.

Yes, I normally ignore The Talented Mr. Pielke until his misinformation has been picked up by some credulous journalists uninterested in preserving his or her reputation.  But Pielke’s post, “Portents of Cap and Trade Doom?” first alerted me to an especially dense line of attack — that my position on Waxman-Markey has somehow radically changed over time.

Yes, I know, it is quite rich that anybody with Pielke’s history of intentional ambiguity and ferocious flip-flopping could possibly accuse anybody else of inconsistency (see Why do deniers like Pielke shout down any talk of a link between climate change and extreme weather? and Pielke in Nature: “Clearly, since 1970 climate change “¦ has shaped the disaster loss record” and “Finally, Roger Pielke admits he supports policies that will take us to 5-7°C warming or more“).

Let me skip the details, since I have discussed the issue at length here.  What I want note here is that the first piece of evidence that Pielke and the other deniers offer that I somehow was at one point infaturated with W-M and thus blind to its many faults is my post(s) titled “How I learned to stop worrying and love Waxman-Markey.”  They cite Part 2, of course, since Part 1 partly explains the reference for those too young or too classic-film-illiterate or too busy to use Google to get it.

The Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill is certainly not “da bomb.”  At best, it’s a B+.

Then again, it is not a total bomb, as some think.  So you don’t have to be Dr. Strangelove “” or the bill’s mother “” to love it.  You just have to compare it to the alternative (i.e. utter failure and business as usual emissions).

No infatuation, there.  Sorry deniers.

Indeed, if the deniers weren’t so humorless, they’d understand that the title of my post is in fact what would normally be called “black humor.”  Indeed, it refers to “a 1964 American/British black comedy film” (as Wikipedia puts it in the link I provided), Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  Needless to say, anyone who has actually seen the Kubrick movie or who simply reads the plot summary would know that, by using the phrase “How I learned to stop worrying and love Waxman-Markey,” I am not saying that I “love Waxman-Markey.”  Quite the reverse.

Yes, I had already noted in this post, which Pielke linked to, that the “headline was intentionally sardonic.”

And speaking of sardonic movie references going completely over the head of deniers, Pielke actually wrote in response to that post:

[Romm is] giving me a cute new nickname, which I like much better than (“delayer 1000-eq”).

And what is this “cute new nickname” he likes so much?

The Talented Mr. Pielke

Seriously!  This in spite of the fact that after using it several times, I gave him the link:

And yes, as cinephiles know, The Talented Mr. Pielke is a too-apt moniker for Roger, Jr.

Ripley, of course, is a man “with a talent to survive by doing whatever is required,” which includes murder, lying, and pretending to be someone else.  Yes, his entire life is a lie.  That’s his talent.

That’s the cute new nickname Roger Pielke, Jr. likes.

[Note:  I’m now inclined to think plain old “denier” is a better moniker for both Pielke and his father.  Still, they both pretend to be people who accept climate science, even while they murder it, so in that respect, they are the Talented Mr. Pielkes.]

No wonder “Prometheus” died.

One final ironic note on references missed by deniers.  Prometheus, of course, famously “stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals.”  If by modern fire, one means global warming — that human-caused amplifier of wildfires, heatwaves, and scorching droughts (created primarily by the burning of fossil fuels) — the “hell” in Hell and High Water, then the blog’s name was more apt than Pielke realized.

And that’s why I love the blogosphere — in a Stanley Kubrick sort of way.

18 Responses to How I learned to stop worrying and love the blogosphere

  1. I find what purports to be the original script of Dr Strangelove with this ending:

    CUT TO


    into outer space. (A reverse of the opening shot)

    Though the little-known, dead planet
    Earth, remotely situated in the Milky
    Way Galaxy, is admittedly of little
    interest to us today, we have presented
    this quaint comedy of Galaxy pre-history,
    when the primitive organization of
    sovereign nation states still flourished,
    and the archaic institution of War had
    not yet been forbidden by Law, as another
    in our series, “The Dead Worlds of Antiquity.”

    Nardac Blefescu
    Macro-Galaxy-Meteor Pictures

    T H E E N D

  2. Icarus says:

    It’s a pity you have to waste your time responding to stuff like this, just because some people cannot detect humour, subtlety, irony, cultural references and so on. I see this all the time on the internet – people so often just don’t ‘get it’. I think it’s due to a lack of reading. That means we need *more* of those things in our writing. Let’s drag those people up to our level, not let them drag us down to theirs.

  3. paulm says:

    Alberta farmers fear grasshopper infestation

    “Whenever we’ve had dry conditions, grasshoppers have been one of the problems that come along with the lack of moisture,” said Melvin Bingeman, who farms north of Oyen.

    This year, producers are already filing crop-insurance claims in high numbers, due to the lack of moisture.

    Agriculture Financial Services Corp., a crop-insurance agency, said it had received 1,400 claims for drought-affected crops, nearly triple the average for the last four years.

  4. Bob Wright says:

    General Jack Ripper wants to know: What is the effect of climate change on “Our Precious Essence”?

    Wouldn’t you love to see Peter Sellers and company do Cheney and the neocons?

  5. Mark Shapiro says:

    “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the war room!”

  6. Jade in San Francisco says:

    Joe I was suprised to see that you do not have a blog post up responding to Matt Taibi’s new Rollingstone piece in which he states, in reference to Goldman Sachs, that

    “the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion- dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it (Goldman Sachs) gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an “environmental plan,” called cap-and-trade. The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that’s been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won’t even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.”

    I’m kind of discouraged after reading his article. I mean it is a great piece on the dirtiest wall street investment bank mafia, but he doesn’t seem to have confidence in the new legislation that just passed the House.

  7. David B. Benson says:

    Bob Wright — Too much heat causes impotency. :|

  8. Yuebing says:

    Jade writes; ” I’m kind of discouraged after reading his article. I mean it is a great piece on the dirtiest wall street investment bank mafia, but he doesn’t seem to have confidence in the new legislation that just passed the House.”

    The article had zero facts. Yes, markets will create sharks, just as surely as seas will. But W-M market controls are coming out of the latest fiasco. Did Taibi even read W-M? I saw no evidence of that.

  9. PaulK says:


    Can you cite language in the bill intended to prevent pernicious profiteering? Why must Taibi read the bill when none of the congressmen who voted for it did either?

  10. PaulK says:

    It appears General Ripper may have exceeded his authority.

  11. David Stern says:

    I’d never heard of either of these Pielke guys but all your ranting against them drove me to read some of their stuff on their blogs and presentations. Both seem very reasonable to me. Neither is a climate change denier. I really don’t get the rhetoric you are using against them.

    [JR: I grant that if one just reads as their stuff without actually knowing how cleverly they abuse the science or their long history of intentional ambiguity, they do “seem very reasonable.” And they long ago figured out that the best way to get media coverage is to claim to believe in climate science, while spending all of their time slightly eviscerating it and trashing the integrity of all scientists (and others) who tried to explain the real science to the public.

    Pielke Jr is probably the single most debunked “non-denier” on the web. Pielke Sr. has revealed his true colors in the last couple of years, and I don’t see how any objective observer could possibly read the RealClimate post and take him seriously any more.

    If you don’t get that, well, all I can say is that if the nation and the world actually listened to their recommendations — which are essentially, take no serious action whatsoever to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — then much of non-populated Australia will indeed turn into a permanent Dust Bowl, and what you folks are experience will become the norm for maybe one third of the habited planet by century’s end, or at least that’s what the science says.]

  12. PaulK says:

    The IPCC names increased CO2 concentrations and changes in land use as the causes of post WWII global warming. Pielke Sr.’s sin is believing land use is the more important factor.


    [JR: I can’t speak to his “sin.” I can only report on what the scientific literature and actual observations say. They say he is grossly misleading the public, as RealClimate has shown definitively. Given his background, it is difficult to see how this could be anything other than willful. That makes him a denier by any reasonable definition of the word.

    For someone who purportedly wants to replace fossil energy, you hold an odd set of beliefs.]

  13. Lou Grinzo says:

    Q: How many climate change deniers does it take to change a light bulb?


  14. john says:

    David Stern:

    There are a collection of deniers who specialize in appearing rational while intentionally undermining public understanding of climate change and confusing the hapless media.

    The Pielkes, the BTI folks, Lomborg among them. They are especially pernisicous precisely because they have learned to use the rhetorical technique of appearin to embrace the postition they argue against. How much more credible is the argument if it comes from a supporter? How much more acceptable is it?

    Think of Marc Antony’s speech in Julius Caesar — he “came to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

    But praise him he did.

    And the Pielkes of the word come to accept the science, not to deny it.

    But deny it they do. Subtly, skillfully, but that makes them all the more dangerous.

  15. Modesty says:

    What john said.

  16. David B. Benson says:

    What Modesty wrote.

  17. “You just have to compare it to the alternative (i.e. utter failure and business as usual emissions).”
    Does W-M [HR2454] still take away the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act? I would like to see a complete and thorough analysis of what the EPA could and could not do with its Clean Air Act authority intact.

    [JR: I have discussed this many times. The answer is EPA could mostly regulate new sources easily, but existing sources only with great difficulty after many years of litigation.]

  18. Eli Rabett says:

    It’s hard to remember, but “The Talent” is too young for Dr. Strangelove to be anything but a distant cultural reference and Eli is not too sure about his dad.