Sunday, November 30, 2008

Petroleum and Pretentiousness

The other day my neighbor was gathering firewood from his driveway. As he performed this suburban task, I thought of his Prius and of the Obama sticker that probably will be on the Prius for another year, based on past history. If Prius drivers were consistent, they would opt for a ban on the burning of wood for recreational purposes, as was my neighbor's plan, as perhaps even for heating purposes. Wood is really good at putting crud into the air.
A better and much more self aggrandizing version of the purist approach came in today's Albuquerque Journal when the normally wonderful Leslie Linthicum wrote an "Up Front" column enshrining Doug Fine of rural southern New Mexico, wife Amanda, and five-month-old Quinn as petroleum free paragons. Linthicum describes what she calls "a "carbon-neutral, solar, living-off-the-land style." Toward the end of the puff-piece, Linthicum admits that aspects of Fine's approach "fall short of self-sufficiency." The photo accompanying the column expands the reality show. Fine is shown sitting on a large ball that I'm pretty sure is made of plastic, which comes from petroleum. Fine's feet are on precisely constructed bricks which probably aren't handmade and therefore were made using, most likely, oil or natural gas. A recliner is outside. The recliner appears to be of those, uh...., plastic jobs.
Fine traded his evil gasoline consuming Subaru for a pickup that runs on vegetable oil. I have no idea how veggie auto fuel is made, but I bet the process involved electricity which mostly comes from oil or natural gas. And the truck's tires probably are made from a petroleum derivative.
So far as I can figure, Fine appears to be pure except when he doesn't want to be pure. That's a natural human approach, And it's fine, as it were, except when one makes a living proclaiming purity (Fine writes books) and the so-called skeptics of the journalism world fail to notice the obvious and ask. Like, hey Doug, what's that big ole ball made of?
Oh, and there are Quinn's diapers. Store-bought and therefore made from petroleum? Or cloth and therefore requiring a bunch of water to wash?

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