In the 1890's, nearing the end of what has come to be known as the US' Robber Baron Era there arose a myth that natural resources in North America were so vast that they could never be adversely diminished. 'We'll never run out of trees, bison, silver, iron, oil, prime farmland, etc., etc..' Afterward, American children were read the folkloric tale of lumberjack legend "Paul Bunyan," a character that humorously romanticized America's first inexhaustibility myth, and its consequences. Now, a century later, in the face of serious climatic change, a returned myth of inexhaustibility holds a large segment of the US populace in its grip; constituting either the notion that the earth's atmosphere can assimilate every bit of carbon dioxide thrown at it or that the consequences will be somehow more acceptable than mitigating the emissions. "It's been fine up until now right?" This extension of the original US myth is in striking psychological parallel to the early chapters of the Paul Bunyan legend. 'Were it not for oil and coal, a stable, democractic society would not have developed, and without them, it may not last.'While the first inexhaustibility myth fit well with the Biblical 'dominion over nature' ethos, another religious matter centers around the newer C02 assimilation mythology. Accepting that we humans have the power to reshape all life on earth, and even the earth itself, asserts a god-like power for ourselves, something surely absent from any creation story.
The latter religious sensibility poses a challenge to anyone wishing to create a humorous and charming "Bunyan-esque" retrospection on the last 20 years. Not just a matter of ethics versus science, this gets right down to basic belief.
Let's suppose someone will attempt a second legendary figure. Who might serve as the character model? Lee Raymond? James Inholfe? Richard Cheyney? These would seem to lack the necessary heroic qualities. Perhaps Soccer Mom, then, will have to do.
Image credit: Worth 1000, photoshop contests