The idea of Earth Hour (which took place this past Saturday night) is that everyone switch off all unnecessary electricity for an hour starting at 8:30 pm local time, so that a wave of darkness travels around the world. When we lived in Canada people mostly played along, and we figured they would here too. On Saturday night we switched off all the lights and looked out the windows. Were there patches that were darker than usual? It was hard to tell because the College, as on every other night, was ablaze.
If it were a matter of Californians rejecting Earth Hour as ideological gimmickry, I’d show them some respect. In fact, though, they just didn’t know what was going on. I asked a couple of people the next day, and no one had heard about it. From Tokyo to Toronto, lights went out, but not here.
It reminds me of the response I got when I first moved down and asked someone where I could return my beer bottles for the deposit. Acute embarrassment. I was told that only poor pepole return beer bottles; the rest of us place them in the recycling. Despite all you hear about Cali being the most up-to-date State, all non-consumer-oriented* aspects of living green are seen here as tacky.
We did not turn out the TV on Saturday night. We were watching Doctor Atomic, all but a tiny bit of which was deeply disappointing. My longstanding conviction that Peter Sellars is a fraud was given new ground, as the few parts of the libretto he wrote himself were ridiculous, and most of the texts he interpolated were pompous. The music, too, is almost all completely uninteresting, but maybe that’s because John Adams was deeply uninspired by Sellars’ words. There is one moment of high inspiration: Adams rises to write an absolutely stunning aria to words by John Donne. It saved the evening for us. You can watch it here.
*Naturally if it’s a purchasing opportunity, that’s different.