Everything’s within the realm of plausibility as we gad about in our consumerist trance, sated with our latest purchases. In a bid to corner the new “eco-tainment” market, Discovery is launching Planet Green, a channel that will forego a hard look at Man’s effect on the environment to present consumers with new product lines they can use to redecorate their homes in eco-friendly ways. General Motors, maker of the nine-mile-per-gallon Hummer, is a lead advertiser and partner.
I believe that in contemporary parlance this is called “making philanthropic markets more efficient.” It’s what happens when you attempt to align market demand with social benefit. The alignment isn’t perfect in this case—is it ever?—but we can sweeten the deal by offering to save a square inch of Amazonian rainforest with each purchase of 100 gallons or more of gasoline. With an Environmental Product® to which we can now dedicate our consumer dollars, we can make our other purchases with a clearer conscience. And we can forego a fruitless search for the root causes of our present predicament since that too would likely end up being a waste of precious natural resources.
We’ve come a long way since the days of Plato’s Republic. Far from electing philosopher kings, we’ve chained them deep inside the Cave along with the rest of us and made them watch the dance of shadows on the wall, now called the NBC Nightly News. It’s not that we can’t turn our heads to see the puppetmasters, it’s that we simply choose not to: we might in that moment of aspiration miss the ad for an important new product that will change our lives.
Disclaimer: Only recycled 1s and 0s were used in the machine code for this blog post.
Image source: Nunc Scio