Jonah Goldberg

I watched the Super Bowl in the chilled air of the GFISZ (that's Goldberg Family Ice Station Zebra). Here in Washington, we haven't seen this much snow since at least 1922. The blizzard of 2010 took out our electricity for a day. Digging out from "snowmaggedon" was nothing less than an Augean challenge, though my lower back is, alas, less than Herculean. Meanwhile, snow canceled my daughter's 7th birthday party Saturday and her school Monday. We're slated for another foot by Wednesday.

Suffice it to say I'm not panicking about global warming right now.

Perhaps that's why I was bemused and intrigued by Audi's Super Bowl ad.

Audi's "Green Police" (available on YouTube) depicts an America where citizens are arrested -- roughly -- for even minor environmental infractions. A man at the supermarket asks for a plastic shopping bag and has his head slammed against the counter as he's cuffed by a Green Police officer. "You picked the wrong day to mess with the ecosystem, plastic boy," quips the cop. When officers find a battery in the wrong suburban garbage bin, one big cop yells, "Battery! Let's go! Take the house!"

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It's a fascinating commercial. They even got Cheap Trick to rerecord "Dream Police" as "Green Police." But just as the satire becomes enjoyable, the message changes. Until the pitch for Audi intrudes, you'd think it was a fun parody from a right-wing free-market outfit about the pending dystopian environmental police state.

The pitch involves an "eco roadblock." A man driving an Audi A3 TDI is singled out by an inspector. "We've got a TDI here," he says. "Clean diesel," he adds approvingly.

"You're good to go, sir," the cops inform the driver. The smiling Audi owner accelerates to happiness on the open road. The screen fades to black and the tagline appears -- "Green has never felt so right."

So, instead of some healthy don't-tread-on-me mockery, the moral of the story is that we should welcome our new green overlords and, if we know what's good for us, surrender to the New Green Order.

Some eco-bloggers disliked the ad because it reinforces the association of undemocratic statism or PC bullying with environmentalism. Perhaps that's why the New York Times dubbed it "misguided."


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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