Barbra Streisand – or whoever it is that handles her social media – has been tweeting about the (immensely sound) incoming GOP chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, Senator Jim Inhofe.
Inhofe had fingered Streisand as a leading player in the Hollywood green Mafia and Streisand didn’t like it.
She (or rather one of her People) tweeted:
This wld be hilarious if it weren’t so frightening. I thank Sen Inhofe for singling me out as a voice against the perils of climate change
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) December 3, 2014
Ah: the funny but at the same time kind of scary rebuttal. You see progressive types using this technique a lot because it means they get to have their cake and eat it. It implies that their opponent is so risible he should be ignored and yet, simultaneously, so dangerous that he should be silenced. More usefully still, it relieves them of any obligation to engage with the argument being made against them. Here we see Streisand – or her Person – waving away Inhofe’s accusation, without actually saying whether or not it has any merit.
We see the same technique being employed by David Corn in this piece at Grist/Mother Jones.
Corn describes an encounter he had with Senator Inhofe at the UN Copenhagen climate conference in 2009
Look around us, I said, spreading my arms wide. There are thousands of intelligent and well-meaning people in this gigantic conference center: scientists, heads of state, government officials, policy experts. They believe that climate change is a serious and pressing threat and that something must be done soon. Do you believe that they have all been fooled?
Yes, he said, grinning.
That these people who have traveled from all points of the globe to be here are victims of a well-orchestrated hoax?Yes, he said, still smiling.
That’s some hoax, I countered. But who has engineered such a scam?
Hollywood liberals and extreme environmentalists, Inhofe replied.
Really? I asked. Why would they conspire to scare all these smart people into believing a catastrophe was under way, when all was well?
Inhofe didn’t skip a beat: To advance their radical environmental agenda.
I pressed on: Who in Hollywood is doing this?
The whole liberal crowd, Inhofe said.
Barbra Streisand, he responded.
I nearly laughed. All these people had assembled in Copenhagen because of Barbra Streisand. A singer and actor had perpetuated the grandest con of the past 100 years?
That’s right, Inhofe said, with a straight face. And others, he added.
By this point, he was losing patience and glancing about for another reporter who wanted to record his important observations. And I was running out of follow-up queries. After all, was I really going to ask, “And Ed Begley Jr., too?” So our conversation ended, and I headed back to reality.
I’m sorry to have quoted such a large chunk of Corn’s corn but I’m afraid I just couldn’t resist. The writing is so cherishably bad.
All those sledgehammer nudges, for example, which so delicately bludgeon the reader into appreciating just how judicious and insightful and restrained Corn is (“I nearly laughed”) and how, like, totally Old Man Republican Crazy Senator Inhofe is (“grinning” “still smiling” “his important operations”).
And that pompous, attention-seeking use of words like “responded” and “countered”, when “said” would have done just as well.
As for the bit where he spreads his arms wide in order to make his point. If he didn’t, he’s a fabulist. If he actually did, he’s a prat.
But the thing I love best about Corn’s piece is the comical disjunction between what he thinks he’s saying and what he actually reveals. His intention, clearly, is to use reductio ad absurdum in order to make Senator Inhofe look ridiculous. This rhetorical technique only works, though, if the notions you are mocking are self-evidently stupid and wrong. Not if they are true.
Copenhagen, remember, was the conference torpedoed by the Climategate emails which revealed – just as Senator Inhofe was saying at the time to Corn – that all those “thousands of intelligent, well-meaning” delegates who’d flown to attend the meeting were indeed the victims of a “well-orchestrated hoax.” Far from being the event’s token lunatic, Sen. Inhofe was one of the few people there with any grasp of reality.
And what of his claim about Barbra Streisand?
Well it turns out that that one is perfectly defensible too.
As Marc Morano at Climate Depot confirms, la Streisand has indeed been a hugely influential figure in the global climate alarmist movement. In 1989 she donated $250,000 through her Foundation to establish the Barbra Streisand Chair of Environmental Studies at the Environmental Defense Fund and has admitted “since then I and others have spent countless millions on this issue.”
Inevitably this Chair was occupied by a fervent climate alarmist, Michael Oppenheimer, who was one of Al Gore’s advisers on the notorious green propaganda movie Climate Triumph of The Will (aka An Inconvenient Truth).
Among Oppenheimer’s recent, totally unhysterical claims is that “global warming” threatens to make the planet so hot that “it will be functionally impossible to be outside, including for things like construction work and farming, as well as recreation.”
So, not for the first time on climate, it would seem that Senator Inhofe has been caught out talking an awful lot of sense.