October 16, 2013

Source: Shutterstock


The passengers were also asked to report anyone or anything they found suspicious to the authorities. In our cowardly new world, all packages are bombs and all strangers are terrorists. Thank God we have the authorities to protect us! Without their eternal benevolent vigilance we should all be blown to bits several times a day!

In the hotel I found the following unctuous, mendacious, and mildly hectoring and even bullying notice on the towels in the bathroom:

You care, we care…

We all care about our environment and carbon footprint. Please take care and only have towels washed when needed.

You had only to step outside the hotel to prove that “€œwe”€ do not all care about the environment. Many of us drop litter; many of us tread our chewing gum into the ground; many of us make unnecessary noise; many of us render the world slightly more ugly than it need be by our careless appearance in public. Many, indeed most, of us consume vastly more than we need. Many of us take unnecessary journeys because we cannot think of anything else to do. Many of us would not even be able to define our carbon footprint, let alone care about it.

The very word “€œcare”€ now has a Pecksniffian ring to it, thanks to its use in this kind of canting message. “€œLet us be moral,”€ said Mr. Pecksniff. “€œLet us contemplate existence.”€ The notion that “€œwe”€ of the hotel chain do and ought to care more about the environment than, say, about reducing the chain’s laundry bill and thereby increasing its margin of profit (a perfectly respectable and reasonable thing for “€œus”€ of the chain to do) is absurd and to me repellent. 

We despise the Victorians for their habit of dishonest moralizing, but ours is an age of ultracrepidarian hypocrisy in which everyone claims to care deeply for everything except that which concerns him most. 



Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!