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Davis Sweet Headshot

Who's Afraid of a Little Catastrophic Climate Change?

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Bill Maher recently visited my stompin' grounds, the very Maher-friendly Portland, to warn of rampant retardation in the ruling class. The biggest non-punchline applause line of the night: "Where are the Democrats' balls?" The most thought-provoking idea not related to balls: the phrase "global warming" sounds way too nice.

And he's absolutely right. "Warming" is something we do to a cinnamon bun on a drizzly Sunday morning. It's what one's frozen-footed wife is looking for when she snuggles her tootsies against hubby's toasty calf. "Global warming" sounds like a pleasant resolution to the Cold War*.

So we need a new, far-less-cuddly brand. The US is a nation of amateur marketers (and amateur football coaches, psychologists, political strategists -- you name it, we'll imagine we know how to do it), so this should be a slammer dunk than that whole WMD nonsense.

"Catastrophic Climate Change" is accurate and potentially scary, but it's super sterile and over-the-top wordy. Our attention spans have been whittled down to about three syllables, so before we've even finished saying the first word our audience is derailed into wondering what the glam mags would dub a celeb coupling between Condi and Ellen. (Con-El? De-Ice? Ebonivory?)

Call me a Rovian rhetorical terrorist if you want, but I prefer more panic-inducing labels that instantly conjure up a story. For example, "NUKE RAPE." The sun is STOCKPILING DEADLY RADIATION that can reach America's cities in EIGHT AND A HALF MINUTES! And it's HORNY! So even if you have enough duct tape and whatnot to survive the initial attack, you'll end up face-down, with... well, you know that phrase "where the sun don't shine?" That saying is now inoperative, baby.

"OSAMA SUN LADEN." An army of Sun worshippers ("Sunnies") is SABOTAGING your car so it will KILL YOUR FAMILY and everybody you know. They don't even have to be there to light the fuse, because YOU'RE BEING BRAINWASHED TO DO IT YOURSELF! "This summer... don't turn the key..."

"DONNER PARTY 2: THE PARTY'S OVER." In the first installment, a herd of cheerily oblivious prospectors get caught in a hostile environment with rapidly dwindling resources and they TURN TO CANNIBALISM. The sequel is identical... BUT THEY EAT THE MOST WELL-FED PEOPLE FIRST! Starving immigrants swim into Arizona Bay and nosh their way across the continent! SUVs become known as "Spam cans!"

Whatever you want to call it (and I'm sure we'll get interesting suggestions in the comments), drop the friggin' "warming" already and get SCARY. Think "BOILING." "ROASTING." "STORMING." "FORCING you to meet your neighbors and watch in HORROR as the YARD NAZI organizes your block into a rag-tag troop that tries in vain to fight off THE INVADING SUN." The consequences of this ULTIMATE WAR are far too grave to [censored]foot around with Disney-fied lingo.

(* For younger readers, "The Cold War" was the political dick-waving match we were dead sure would kill us all in the 80s, giving us a convenient excuse to ignore Reagan's Central American genocide attempts, his decimation of the public health system that had been charged with housing the schizophrenics who subsequently became homeless, the environment -- natch, and every other important thing. Imagine a New Wave GWOT with "Commies" playing the baddies. We won that one with blue jeans and teevee, a.k.a. greed.)