Readers talk back about Lakoff, immature humor, homeschoolers, and more
First, full disclosure: I am a former grad student of George Lakoff’s and was a research associate at the Rockridge Institute for several months. That should make my biases obvious.
Amanda Griscom Little’s March 29 piece about Lakoff’s work with the Green Group provides some interesting perspectives on Lakoff’s work. In the spirit of open discussion that we all treasure, pieces such as this are important.
At the same time, I must take strong exception to this piece on two fronts. First, if you’re going to rake muck, why cannibalize? Division on the left has always been one of our prime weaknesses. Reporters’ time and energy are limited. Why spend these precious resources on attacking our own? And I do mean our own — we need a sense of collectivity and purpose on the left. It’s sad that we delight in stirring up trouble amongst ourselves.
I do not mean this to say that we should be blind to our internal problems, or that we should censor ourselves. But aren’t there more worthy targets for ink-spilling than this?
Second, the piece doesn’t ultimately have a point, other than to speculate based on severely limited information that Rockridge may be taking longer than expected. Welcome to the world. Not just the nonprofit world, but the private sector, academia, you name it — the promised goods are not always delivered on time.
Grist is an excellent publication. This is the first time I have been less than satisfied with your reporting. Keep up the good work, and please realize that your good work is the good work of all progressives seeking to build a more just world.
Jason D. Patent
I just thought I’d drop you a line to let you know you’re an essential part of our family’s homeschooling routine. My kids (ages 12 and 13) love Grist. Weekly, monthly, or whenever I get around to it, I gather up all the new Grist articles, paste them into a Word document formatted like a magazine, and print it out. Grist goes with us to activities with other homeschoolers, where it is eagerly passed from one child to another. The kids like being “in the know” about real issues, and — largely because of you and other progressive e-zines — they often gleefully catch adults off guard by knowing the facts behind the political news stories. What an incredible resource you provide!
Despite Martin Kaplan’s fulsome objection to holding our environmental leaders and strategies accountable for the disastrous outcome on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, I see in the ANWR defeat convincing proof that a major overhaul is desperately needed.
Had the Sierra Club (Carl Pope) resisted the safe path of “environmental niche framing” back in 2003, and instead sought to rally the Sierra Club in opposition to the Bush legend of patriotism and homeland insecurity, today’s landscape and tomorrow’s ANWR would probably look a whole lot different. In 2003, the Sierra Club and Carl Pope (along with most other mainstream environmental orgs) declared the war in Iraq to be somehow “off-message,” this in spite of overwhelming evidence the Iraq war is fueled largely by our carbon-loving, consumption-loving national energy policy (i.e., cultural pathology). What Pope did do in 2003, at the time of pivotal crisis, was assign his energy and column inches to the problem of soil contamination on U.S. military bases. This constituted a total failure of leadership. “The Death of Environmentalism,” though lacking in new language and specifics, boldly points the way.
As for Kaplan’s “tipping-point” suggestion, I would again point to ANWR. Baby, we’ve already been tipped.
Grist is a great magazine that typically provides excellent information. However, I question the target audience. Maybe it’s because I’m 56 and considered a hopelessly out-of-touch “geezer” that I find too much of the writing sophomoric if not plain silly. “Girl, You Trippin’!” is a good example. Or the introduction to “Oil Together Now”: “America-hating radical homosexual vegetarian …”
You folks can still be humorous without being immature.
I appreciate your mention of [Cinergy’s] climate report in the article referring to Ford’s recent announcement.
However, I would like to clarify something. Our most recent report is our annual report, in which we poll a (not random) sample of our stakeholders to discuss climate change. We include climate scientists, Sens. Joe Lieberman and Richard Lugar, and former EPA heads William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly. Our hope is that the report advances the dialogue and helps move the conversation forward.
Our actual climate risk report [PDF], which is most similar to the report Ford has committed to produce (and has received a lot of attention for its clarity and depth), was released last December.
Both reports can be found on our website.
Thank you for your good work.
Your new [email] format is prettier but, like most packaging, wasteful. It wastes bandwidth. Your previous format was much more ecologically sound internet-wise — more of a “brown paper bag” style. Go back to your previous format. Just my aluminum can’s worth (about 5 cents in California).
I have subscribed to your email newsletter for some months now and appreciate the care your researchers put into the articles. I usually forward at least one item per issue to my significant other or parents and have heard back that they were either unaware of issues raised or had not read about them in such depth. Anyway, the main reason for my email is to applaud you on the HTML format you are now using. It is fantastic! Clean, simple, and uncluttered, unlike many other newsletters I receive. Keep up the amazing work; you are one of the best environmental-information resources out there.