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This post was supposed to go up Monday after that night’s Q & A. Non-Australians you can click on that link to see what the TV show is or you can accept my brief description: the ABC’s Q & A is a TV panel discussion show, which is usually profoundly enraging, because they insist on having politicians on, who mostly obfuscate, lie, and completely avoid answering questions.
Monday night’s Q & A was the first show of the year, and the topic was Australia’s bushfire crisis, because that is always the topic here because, you know, apocalypse. You can listen to it here.
And here is my rant. Enjoy! I know I have several fans who live for me to rant. Well, here you both go:
Last Monday’s Q & A was excellent. Mostly. But it enraged me and I wrote the rant below and then was so exhausted by my rage and by writing that I neglected to press the publish button before passing out. Having a chronic illness has taught me that things I didn’t used to think of as exhausting now are. Though why I didn’t realise that writing or being furious were exhausting is a total mystery.
Except for the host, Hamish Macdonald, running with that axiom of bad journalism that all views must be respected, even when they’re wrong.
Macdonald chided the jovial US climate change scientist, Michael Mann, for saying that federal NSW Liberal1 senator James Molan’s brain had fallen out of his head, when Molan refused to admit that the science of climate change is settled and that we know that the accelerating catastrophic climate events of the last few decades were caused by humans. Up to and including our bushfire crisis.
James Molan said he was keeping an open mind on the causes of climate change, to a chorus of groans from the studio audience. He also literally said that he was ignoring the evidence. To groans and derisive laughter and that sound people make that basically means “no shit.” The studio audience and everyone else on the planet know that keeping an open mind on climate change is like keeping an open mind on gravity or water being wet. So the expert made the comment about his brain falling out.
At which point Hamish Macdonald said that our terrible, climate-change-disaster-obfuscating government had been elected by millions of Australians, who were in agreement with this government’s views, did that mean the climate change expert was saying everyone who had voted for them’s brains had fallen out?
Frankly, Hamish, I think that’s a more generous explanation than that those voters cared more about getting bigger tax breaks than preventing the apocalypse. But here we are.
Climate change, Hamish, is real and caused by us humans. We know this. You know this! There’s decades of evidence. Every reputable scientist says so. Anyone who denies these facts, including James Molan and the rest of the governing coalition, is functioning as if they have neither knowledge, nor memory, nor literacy, nor the capacity to process facts.
Believing climate change is either not real, or not caused by humans, is equivalent to believing the earth is flat or that Elvis is alive and misgoverning the USA from inside a Donald Trump suit.
Must we humour the people who believe that Elvis is Trump too, Hamish? You know, on account of that is as completely wrong as denying that we humans have irreversibly buggered up this beautiful planet of ours. Why do we have to resist mocking the people with completely wrong views about the causes of our climate crisis? Those views are contributing to how incredibly fast we are making our planet uninhabitable.
Actually the sweet climate scientist, Michael Mann, was more optimistic than me: he thinks we can save this planet.
My pessimism comes from media types like Hamish Macdonald spending more time chiding experts for being “mean” to lying politicians in the pocket of the fossil fuel lobby than on challenging our political leaders for being wrong.
Fact checking, Hamish, that’s your job, not being a politeness monitor. And, honestly, under the circumstances saying Molan’s brain had fallen out was much politer than calling him a corrupt, lying tool of the fossil fuel industry.
The truth is frequently very impolite.
And now I’m exhausted again.
- in Australia the Liberal party is a conservative party [↩]