There's a phrase about omelettes and eggs. Well, in the omelette of stopping catastrophic runaway climate change through taking direct action that pushes the boundaries of the law, the biggest eggs we’ve ever broken have turned out to be the Jeremy Clarkson fanbase. It’s odd because Clarkson himself seems to have taken the whole thing rather well, but the torrent of abuse has been really quite remarkable. Firstly, there’s just been soooo much of it. There’ve been emails, facebook messages, posts on Climate Rush’s profile and group walls, messages to Tamsin’s personal facebook account and texts and voicemails on my phone. And secondly, it’s been really, freakily similar in tone and content, almost as if there was an organised group out to discredit climate change and demoralise those who are fighting to curb emissions. I wonder…
My first experience of it was two voicemail messages left on the afternoon of the action, both by the same drunken Manchunian. ‘Climate Rush my balls you silly slags’ he slurred, and then, a couple of hours later: ‘You goddamn stupid fucking halfwits. I’m going out for a drive in my big powerful [indistinct] powered car now, hope to see you!’ In the early hours of the next morning, someone decided it was worth their while to text ‘Hey you clowns, man made climate change is NOT proven, read heaven and earth by Ian Plimer!!!!!!! Txt back.’ At least this guy had the decency to leave a return number.
The next day I finally managed to get online and sample the delights that had been left for us there. There were plenty of ‘man-made global warming is a myth’ ones, quite a few that promised to emit more CO2 to spite us, and almost always a hint of misogyny. Julian Tighe had written to suggest we ‘stop this nonsense and maybe return to your caravans and do a bit of ironing.’ Sam Richardson kept it short and sour with ‘HIPPIE SCUM’. Chris Hunt mixed his messages, saying we’re ‘yet another bunch of tree hugging, dole claiming twats [that] has fallen for the corporate swindle of climate change... can’t you see it’s all about revenue raising and taxation by the back door.’ (Because corporations are so into raising taxes.) Tamsin was called a ‘tampax lesbian whore’ and told that just as ‘you like to dump shit on Clarkson’s property… we will dump hydrochloric acid on your ugly lesbian face’.We even got a message from one ‘David Cameron’, though I’m pretty certain that the leader of the Conservative party doesn’t use email@example.com as his primary email address.
Then the messages took a turn for the bizarre. Here is an edited version of a truly foul email from firstname.lastname@example.org:
‘go back to [expletive] Commie Russia where you belong [performing fellatio] &
[uh, another intimate thing] of the eternal whinging scabby cockroach maggot Jews
when we find you ,..we will kill you
there is more [faeces] spewed out of the nuclear bomb factories in maggot Israel each year,..but you [those who like to practice the sin of Onan] never go their [sic] to terrorize people
what about the millions of litres of aircraft fuel wasted by the USA, USSR & UK air-force in AWAC planes etc,...
keeping scumbag maggots like you safe from your Commie brothers in terror
eat [manure] fatso Jew [bottom] lickers’
Bugger. Here I was thinking that I was part of a Suffragette-inspired women-led eco-activist group, and suddenly it turns out we’re obese Russian Semitiphile rimming fetishists! This crisis of identity was only further confused by the article sent to us by a ‘peasant philosopher’ on the ‘rise of the Eco-Nazi’. Apparently the term ‘Nazi’ is appropriate in this context because of the little known fact that the Nazis were actually a left-wing socialist party. So while I thought I was fighting for a global solution to climate change to protect the world’s poor, actually I’m part of a nationalist cult! Though god knows what my final solution will look like, considering that I’m also a communist, Jewish gay gypo.
Another one arrived while I was checking the inbox, this one addressed to Caroline Lucas as well. She must get this sort of thing a lot. This one said that global warming is a hoax because it doesn’t meet the ‘Scientific Protocol’, and then, weirdly, turns into a sidelong advert for the Miracles DVD hosted by Bryant Gumbel. (It’s hard to tell if they’re dismissing it – if you’re so stupid that you believe in global warming then you’re probably stupid enough to believe in faith healings – or trying to find an audience for it.)
Logging in to the Climate Rush facebook account, I found a message alerting me to the latest entries on the group wall. Michael Chillcott had posted ‘CLARKSON IS A LEGEND!! I HOPE HE TAKES A SH*T IN YOUR FACE!!’ while Vishnu Nair exhorted ‘LET ALL THE SEVEN WITCHES WHO DUMPED MANURE ROT IN HELL...’, finishing with a curious ‘AMEN’. Oto (Latvia) went all out with such bad language I’ve replaced every ‘f’ and ‘c’ with ‘sh’.
“shuckin shunts not women. Women are to be respeshted, you are to be shucked in the ass on a street shorner and then thrown in the gutter. Shuck you shor shucking up Shlarkson's lawn and i'm gonna go buy another V10 engined super polluting car to shuck up the environment more to spite your PMS behavior. Also I'm gonna drive my M5 extra much and burn tires in order to waste resourshes and combust large volumes of shuel.”
I’m just not sure what they want from us. A reasoned discussion of the scientific evidence for and against man-made climate change? Affirmation that we are indeed hippy scum / Jewish butt-lickers / abhorrent un-women who should be dragged back to the kitchen? But where might that affirmation come from? GMminingcorp@aol.com solves the problem of whether or not I should try and formulate a reply by finishing his message with ‘don't bother replying to this e-mail, I'm not interested in anything you've got to say.’ Mostly I’ve ignored them, taking a sliver of pride in the fact that we’re clearly doing something right if we’re getting these sorts of people’s backs up. Some, I’m sure, are commercial astro-turfers, in the pay of some fuel-guzzling corporation or other, and their motivation (if insanely avaricious) is at least vaguely comprehensible. Others are presumably just web freaks who get their kicks from trawling the internet looking for people they disagree with to hassle; I guess I’m never really going to understand why they don’t have something more fulfilling to do with their lives. Overall though, if that’s the sum total of people who disagree with us, the outlook’s pretty good. In a population of 62 million, that’s 35 to them, 61, 999, 965 to us.