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The Not-So-Final Countdown

Back around 1988, I watched Ted Danson, then at the height of his fame as the star of Cheers appear on a late-night infomercial pitch for an environmental group. He ended the half-hour advertisement with his saying that "we only have ten years to save the world's oceans". (That's a paraphrase, but as close as I remember the line.)

It's a reminder that, with the exception of Hollywood's greatest Greatest Generation-era stars (Cary Grant, Bogie, The Duke, Coop), Bill Whittle's Lou Grant Effect is inviolable. Having a beer in Sam Malone's bar while he recounts his glory days with the Sox sounds like infinitely more fun than listening to the doomsday prognostications of someone paid to recite lines written by others, with his performance calibrated by someone else.

But since the freshness date has long expired on Danson's dire warning, and the oceans are, near as I can tell, all happily present and accounted for, there have been numerous additional Doomsday Countdowns, which always seem to run for a decade for some reason. Al Gore started his a year ago, and yesterday, aging man-child Leonardo Di Caprio and several accompanying B-list actors and musicians announced theirs.

As Glenn Reynolds writes, "Ten years to save the planet: Let's start by banning private jets."

Here are two extremely environmentally conscious sources who could immediately put their Boeings where their mouths are, and retire their privately-owned jumbo jets for Diet Cokes and a tiny bag of peanuts on Southwest.

Anytime now, fellas; we're waiting...

And while we're waiting, James Lileks has some very much related thoughts: "Itís a peculiar inversion: the height of civilization now consists of undoing the plug, not connecting it."

Update: In 2005, I looked at the number of businesses leaving California for a pro-business climate and wrote, "Will the last person out of California please turn out the lights?"

No need to--California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Pluto) is going to do it for us.

Virginia Postrel recently wrote "California legislators are never without new ideas for regulations and bans"; sadly, that streak sees absolutely sees no sign of abating.

Another Update: Libertas asks, where are the big boys?

Wouldnít you feel better if it werenít boy-men trying to save the world? They couldnít talk Bruce Willis or Russell Crowe into this nonsense? Iím sorry, but Iím just not comfortable leaving the fate of the planet to Leo, Orlando, and Josh.

If things are really as bad as Hollywood wants us to believe, shouldnít any action that pollutes unnecessary to human survival cease? Like movie making? You canít scream armageddon while moving forward on another Focker sequel. You just canít.

No, you really can't. If the earth really is doomed in ten years, then movie making--mere entertainment that no one outside of Beverly Hills needs to survive--should be stopped immediately, to prolong the environment as long as possible by eliminating all of its accompanying chemicals and pollution.

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