A Message to the American Public from the Ministry of Silly Talkings To
David Golding, Mike Goodfellow, Sharon Joyce, Sara Maioli, Elizabeth Oughton, Allen Parker, Marian Raley, Vincent Theobald-Vega, Gunther Uher, Bryan Vernon, and Jim White, members of the academic staff at Newcastle University (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), want every American to know something -- and they have felt strongly enough about their message to publish it in the International Herald Tribune (June 18, 2010) so that the entire world can read what they have to say:
The response of the American public and its political leaders to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico perfectly illustrates why people in glass houses should not throw stones.Well said, esteemed British colleagues -- and I do feel in my bones the bonds of that collegial connection peculiar to those of us in the academic profession -- but allow me to translate your message for an American readership so that your meaning is plain to see:
BP and its corporate associates certainly deserve severe censure for their failure to provide adequate safeguards for their hazardous operations, and their behavior brings to mind the recent reckless folly of the banks. However, the resulting damage is hardly a drop in the ocean compared to the impact of America's contribution to global atmospheric pollution resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels.
At least BP has offered fulsome apologies, is compensating those affected, and is making strenuous efforts to prevent further damage. Has the United States accepted responsibility for the impacts of its energy profligacy on climate change? Has it committed itself to providing full restitution for the now well-documented misery which global warming is already inflicting on countless millions of the world's poor? Is it making urgent and determined efforts to de-carbonize its economy and life-style?
In each case, we think not. It really is in no position to throw stones.
Stupid, ignorant, loud, obnoxious, two-faced Americans! Shut up already about the BP oil spill! You do the same thing, only worse, so stop complaining and start apologizing! And clean up your mess, too, just like the BP is doing.There. I hope that I've been of some assistance in your effort to correct American manners and morals.
Even though it is a bit like taking news to coal castle.