When you are not dealing with a truly venal huckster – say, a dishonest car salesman or sub-prime mortgage lender— it can sometimes be incredibly fun to watch a transparent phony at work. In fact, if you know that the huckster is a phony, and – even better – if he or she sort of knows that you know they are a phony, watching them sell a ginzu knife or a pocket fisherman can be pretty darn entertaining.
Sometimes this nonsense even rises to high art: Did you ever see Ron Popeil try to convince a roomful of bald men to cover their head with spray-on hair? You haven’t lived until you’ve seen 25 heads covered with dark Christmas-tree flocking.
This morning I saw a performance that has to rank with the best of them. File it under “Shameless Pathetic Attempts to Rip-Off Environmental Concerns to Sell Tchotchkes” Even Bernie Madoff, if he was watching from his couch, leg bracelet tightly fastened, probably thought: “Now there’s a guy with nerve!”
This morning on the Martha Stewart show, which was playing on a TV at my gym, I saw Chef Emeril Lagasse selling what he described as a set of “green knives.” I perked up to listen: What would an environmentally-sound knife look like, assuming he wasn’t simply suggesting it was sharp enough to injure a polluter?
The answer? Emeril claimed the knives are “green” because no trees had to die to make them.
Translation: The handles are plastic.
Am I missing something here? Does a plastic (poly) handle, classified by recyclers as a #7 plastic (the hardest to recycle and sometimes not recyclable at all), make it a “green” knife?
The green revolution is one of the most exciting developments of our age. But please: Is there any chance that the “green” concept might also incorporate a reduction in hot-air, pseudo-environmentalist green-spinners, green-hucksters, green-phonies, and green-knife salesmen? It might actually reduce global warming. Seriously, I can see now that environmental and green activism will have to fight tenaciously to reduce the cheapening and downright fraudulent use of the concept.
And now, if you’ll excuse me. I am going to turn on the Home Shopping Network. I have been looking for a cheap, “green,” and environmentally sound cubic zirconium nose ring.