Monday, April 23, 2007

Last week, nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow had a big idea about toilet paper and the environment. “I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.” Fortunately, Miss Crow has not yet espoused an Office of National T.P. Control Policy or a federal Lavatory Enforcement Agency.

The statement is telling nonetheless. As an exemplar of left-wing enviro-authoritarianism, it is difficult to top this one. Even Al Gore’s $30,000 home gas and electricity bill cannot really do the trick. It was certainly the height of hypocrisy for Mr. Gore to exhort viewers of “An Inconvenient Truth” that carbon change starts at home, only to build a mansion certain to consume royal energy quantities, with the expectation that critics would accept “trust me” on opaque “carbon offsets.” That makes Mr. Gore a hypocrite, in addition to a preachy scaremonger.

But Mr. Gore’s platform does not yet explicitly entail a desire to roll back five centuries of hygienic progress to a level last seen in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” or perhaps the Dark Ages. No — it takes a Sheryl Crow for that.

Maybe we’re being too hard on Miss Crow. She is fresh from a biodiesel bus tour of college campuses with environmental activist Laurie David. So brimming she could be right now with environmentalist fervor that the freedom-loving Miss Crow — you know, the one who appreciates paper when it covers 7 million copies of “Tuesday Night Music Club” — has recessed. In that case, she could be forgiven for failing to ponder how an “industrious enough people” could cut their T.P. use from 57 sheets a day to eight or 10 (federally funded nationwide bidet installation, perhaps). We could also forget the “dining sleeve,” a shirt-fastened, washable napkin substitute, which surfaced this week in Miss Crow’s diatribe. It is part of a phantom clothing line Miss Crow claims to have created, which trade magazines and industry watchers have inexplicably failed to write about, and which no clothesmaker will produce unless and until Americans decide that a grubby vogue applies, after all, to sleeve-wiping one’s mouth after a meal.

But even then, Miss Crow could not be excused for conveniently failing to apply the same standard to herself and her industry — which used paper, energy, plastics, chemicals and other enviro-left bugaboos to make her fabulously wealthy.

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