Thursday, January 26, 2012
"Spill? What Spill?"
Here's more evidence of the accuracy of the theory that if you give people enough money, you can get them to say and do whatever you want.
On April 20, 2010 an explosion on an oil rig owned by British Petroleum killed eleven men and inaugurated the worst man-made environmental disaster in history. By the time the gushing undersea oil well had been successfully capped three months later, hundreds of millions of barrels of oil had been released into the ocean, doing severe and lasting damage to the Gulf's delicate ecosystem and paralyzing the sea-based economy of five US States. We all got to learn new terms like "oil plumes," so I guess it was educational, anyway.
To "disperse" the massive oil slick, tons of chemicals were poured into the ocean. The effect of all these chemicals was to push the slick to depths at which it could not be easily detected from the surface. Where it could no further harm, based on what I believe is Isaac Newton's Third Principle Governing Royal Corporate F-Ups: "Out of Sight, Out of Mind."
And now the real nastiness arrives, far oilier and less palatable than even the spill itself. Prompted by infusions of cash from British Petroleum, small business owners and the Gulf Coast tourism industry line up to sell their souls, grinning like marionettes as they extol the virtues of a vacation down South. Visit our many restaurants, featuring Now Practically Dispersant and Oil Free seafood! Check out our hundreds of miles of Now Virtually Clear of Softball-sized oil globules beaches- and if you take a dip on our Looks Blue Which Means It's Clean Gulf Waters, that sticky feeling is suntan lotion residue, honest!
Yes, all these industries are now partners with the company whose failure to invest in automatic shutoff valves and something more substantial than Grade D cement killed eleven men- husbands, fathers, brothers, sons- and drove any number of fishermen out of business. Now it's all smiles and hugs and "Come visit us, we're awesome again!" public service announcements financed by British Petroleum. All is forgiven, apparently.
I'm sorry, but this is kind of like the American government working in partnership with the Japanese to produce "Visit Beautiful Hiroshima!" commercials in 1947. British Petroleum can pay off the corporate voices of the Gulf (turns out that it's surprisingly easy) but that doesn't change the fact that BP's carelessness, callousness and penny-pinching attitude (thoroughly corporate and Capitalist in the truest sense of those words) wrecked havoc on the environment which may take a century to repair. All sacrificed in the sacred pursuit of the almighty buck.
Just like the dignity of the people in these ads.