During heat waves, California runs a multimillion-dollar energy conservation campaign under the aegis of “Flex your power” alerts, using radio and outdoor ads to tell us to turn down our air conditioners just when we need them the most. The current radio campaign seems to officially anoint environmentalism as the new state religion. A female voiceover claiming to be your guardian angel pleads that “energy can’t save itself,” so it needs you to be its savior, which surely appeals to Madonna, at least. Needless to say, a religious metaphor implying the soteriology of any other government-related service would be ridiculed if not actually protested. Instead, there’s only electric irony: The radio spots tell you to check out the Web site, which tells you to stop listening to the radio and turn off the computer. On his KABC morning show the other day, Doug McIntyre said he spotted a big electric sign blaring out the “Flex your power” alert—at the very moment he was stuck in a worse-than-usual jam thanks to blackouts that knocked out traffic lights along Wilshire. Where are our guardian angels when we need them?
—Posted by Gregory Solman