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Breaking Down a Meme
Author: BobR    Date: 06/29/2022 12:21:30

From what I've read, the hearing yesterday was eye-popping. I've heard a few clips, and read some "reviews", and it is all some amazing stuff. Unfortunately, I didn't watch it, so I won't be writing about it. Instead, I will be writing about a meme I saw that bothers me on several levels.

Essentially, this is what it said: "You are being told to lower your A/C usage to prevent overwhelming the grid while simultaneously being told to trade in your gas cars for electric vehicles".

This may make sense to someone who feels like replacing gas cars with electrics means "they" are "shoving it down our throats" (whatever that means), but there is just so much wrong with this and and other memes where complex issues are simplified using flawed logic to make some sort of point. I am guessing the supposed point of this meme is that those concerned with climate change are missing some important simple truths. The meme doesn't work - for several reasons. Let's break this down.

Short term / long term: Heat waves are generally a few days long, and this is when A/C is really working hard to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. It's not something that lasts year-round. Meanwhile, electric cars are part of a long term solution to reduce carbon emissions to reduce the global warming that forces us to run the A/C all the time.

Infrastructure: This is blame-casting on the part of the meme. The problem isn't that electricity is limited by production - it's limited by distribution. It points out the actual problem while trying to point the finger elsewhere. A robust electrical grid is a solution that would allow us to run A/C AND charge cars without worry. It would allocate electricity where needed, and allow areas rich with wind/solar energy to shift that power generated to areas that need it.

Who is the unspoken "they"?: This is the first question I ask myself whenever I see anything posted on social media that uses (or implies) the generic "they" to convey some faceless, amorphous presence in the seats of power, trying to force you to live by their rules (e.g.: religious nuts). In this case, the first unspoken "they" is the power companies, and the second "they" refers to anyone who really cares about the environment. This really breaks the meme, because it's equating two completely different (and often diametrically opposed) organizations.

Economics: There's also the economic issue of which is cheaper to use - electric or gas-powered cars? The answer, of course, is electric. They are cheaper per-mile, and have a LOT less moving parts to wear out, need lubrication, etc., meaning they are more reliable and require less maintenance (Tesla being the obvious exception).

There are probably other points to be made about this particular meme, but the bigger picture is that it's often necessary to approach (and counter-argue) these by breaking down all of their logistical errors, false equivalencies, and generalizations. Allowing stupidity to go unchecked (even if it feels like tilting at windmills) leads to a dumbed-down populace. After 2016, we all know what THAT can lead to.

8 comments (Latest Comment: 06/29/2022 16:26:44 by Will_in_LA)
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