Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So much for Live Earth

Jonah Goldberg writes the post mortem for Live Earth:

Madonna, Genesis, UB40, the Police, Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), Crowded House, Duran Duran — these were among the headliners for this supposedly cutting-edge extravaganza. I listened to these acts in high school more than 20 years ago, and some of them were already going gray by then. Phil Collins is 56. Sting is 55. Cat Stevens is pushing 60. The Rolling Stones didn’t play Live Earth, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was because Mick Jagger needed a hip replacement.

Like the Rolling Stones, who define “graceful retirement” as drags on the oxygen tank between sets, these acts hawk youthful-activism nostalgia for the fans rich enough to pay for it.

Some argue that environmentalism has become a secular religion. Buying carbon offsets, they say, is the modern equivalent of purchasing indulgences for your sins from the Catholic Church. Live Earth certainly fit into that vision. The concerts seemed like Baptist hoedowns of yore, except now Gore is the Billy Sunday for the baby-boomer booboisie.

Maybe that’s in the works, too. But more likely, these were simply concerts by and for people who need to salt their sanctimony with platitudes about raising awareness. The music industry always has played fans for saps. In 1968, Columbia Records peddled the slogan “The Man Can’t Bust Our Music!” Now global warming is a brilliant way to market aging rockers too rich and famous to pass as rebels against anything save their refusal to retire with some dignity.

Or as Laura Ingraham has said, "just shut up and sing!"