Yep, only in Bakersfield, the oil capitol of California.
Sunday morning I went down the drive to pick up the newspaper after gazing up at Venus, Jupiter, and Mars. What do I see? A special tag stuck to the paper. These are always annoying—an in-your-face form of advertising that requires the reader to rip it off to get at the news underneath. Not a good way to engender the consumer toward the advertiser.
Oh, that was just the beginning.
This tag was a little different. It actually caught my eye at 6:00 am because it announced the upcoming Kern Energy Festival sponsored by the Independent Petroleum Association.
That was just the warm up.
I opened the paper to remove all the wasted advertising for McMansions and giant SUVs and what did I find? A special 16-page supplement extolling the West Kern Petroleum Summit.
There were all the oil industry heroes. Bakersfield’s own Kevin McCarthy, T. Boone Pickens, and a guy wearing a “I love Fossil Fuels T-shirt.” (I am sure he was a big hit.)
The guy in the T-shirt got a full-page spread promoting his book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”
You can’t make this stuff up. No one would believe you. It’s right out of pulp fiction.
Expect to see a lot more of this in the run up to the Paris climate summit—in Kern County, in Alberta, in Texas, and wherever the oil industry feels threatened.
The dying struggle of a cornered and wounded beast can be a fearsome thing to watch–especially if you’re living in the belly of the beast.