No Snark Sunday: Climate Change Denial Amnesty Starts Now

We here at The Clam are have certain ideas we believe in: That public education needs to be valued and supported. That consenting adults should be allowed to get married regardless of gay or whatever. Women and men deserve equal rights, economic disparity threatens our democracy, that the expanded bottle bill was a good idea…we have a lot of beliefs and ideas and you know what? Our lives don’t directly depend on nearly any of them. These are things we believe, they are not facts.

Oh, don’t get us wrong. We’ll argue your ass about the bottle bill with the searing intensity similar to the heart of an active Tokamak reactor, but you know what? Nobody is dead. Crops didn’t fail. Cities were not wiped out. Political discussions revolve around differing philosophical viewpoints and should be about ideas that are in actual dispute. And we’ll be brutally honest when we point we don’t need economic or gender equality to survive. There have been thousands of years of empires before our time proving that simple fact, We just think it’s a vastly better way for humans to live. That’s the point we’ll argue, annoyingly, even. With swears and sci-fi references and made up terms like “Dumb-o-sphere” to indicate the vapid intellectual terrain from which many people make their arguments.

Climate Change, however is something completely different. It threatens our civilization.

Here is an important point- We’re not going to argue Climate Change because you know it’s true. We don’t care what you write in the comments or say over on Cape Ann Online or whatever. You are a person who can operate a computer and read a paragraph and presumably operate in the 21st century world and therefore know when 97% of modern scientists in a particular category independently observe something through different means and techniques, that something is incredibly likely to be correct. And that a large scale multi-decade successful conspiracy between liberal activists and climate scientists is absurdity on the order of “chemtrials” and “lizard people.”


Don’t bother arguing because this is not political, this is science. Arguing like a lawyer with a weak case (banging on the table, strutting around, finding conspiracies behind every shadow) isn’t how reality (which is what science studies) is proved. We live in the modern age, the device you are reading this on is a product of the same process. No one wanted quantum physics to be true, even Einstein, but in the end it’s settled science because every observation supports its findings and thus we have things like transistors and lasers (and, like climate science, there are still a ton of unknowns about the exact mechanisms and implications).

This is typically the part of the essay where we start harping on what idiots people are for still denying climate change. You know what? We’re going to try and not do that here (try). You know why? This topic has become way, way too important to have it descend into the political mud throwing that passes for debate in the United States today. And, again, don’t get us wrong. You wanna throw some mud sometime about something that does not involve Boston being flooded back to its 16th century footprint, it’s on. Whadda got, leash laws? Gun control? The massive hypocrisy of Ayn Rand? Sounds like fun, we’ll meet you on the Internet and we can have it out.

This is too big.

In 100 years the primary thing future people, our grandkids, are going to look back and measure individuals from the past on will be their standpoint on this issue. It’s not unlike the way we look at our history of slavery today. You can be Thomas Jefferson and write the Declaration of Independence, become the third President of the United States, broker the Louisiana Purchase and invent the dumbwaiter but if you still had slaves at a time when the rest of the civilized world had come to the realization that owning other human beings was wrong, that’s forever going to stick. Future generations who are going to have to dedicate massive resources to managing human-made climate-related problems are going to look back and say “where were people on this issue once it came to be known humans were causing the climate disruptions?” And they’re going to be able to search and find out. Everyone has a legacy now.

So here is The Clam’s proposal: Amnesty

Simple intellectual amnesty. For a defined period, let’s say one year, everyone should have the chance to reevaluate their position on climate change without worry of finger pointing or takedowns. Science is, after all,  about having the willingness to change our minds when new facts are presented (see physics, quantum…Einstein, yadda yadda). If Ted Cruz, a guy with a bunch of ivy league college degrees, wants to change his position from the incredibly bizarre statement he made comparing people concerned about climate change to “Flat Earthers”- those who inherently reject the findings of observation to the point of maddening idiocy, fine. He can do that. He should do that, in fact, because Ted Cruz wants to be remembered 100 years from now as An Important Person. He would be bummed to know that future US history lessons, if they mention him at all, will note plainly the fantastically dumb shit he said about easily observed data that greatly concerned the security and well being of the country he sought to lead.

So Ted Cruz, you’re off the hook on this one if you turn it around. So is Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Jim Inhofe and even Donald Trump and Sarah Palin (though it should be noted Palin’s position is muddled).

An actual thing Sarah Palin actually said

An actual thing Sarah Palin actually said

This is a hard thing we realize. For these individuals to reach a core constituency of the Republican Party they have to essentially pretend science isn’t real, or that it’s at least debatable, which it’s not. Science is not debate. Science is data and counter findings and compiling observable, repeatable evidence to the point where the likelihood of that thing not being true anymore becomes vanishingly small. We’re pretty good at it here in the 21st century hence airplanes and the Internet; satellites and most of modern medicine. We wouldn’t stake the future of our own ideas on increasingly elderly people falling for the “there are two sides to every story” trick for the foreseeable future.

Fun link from Isaac Asimov on “didn’t we once think the Earth was flat and thus isn’t science is debatable since they get things wrong?” Key quote: “When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

Not a sphere

Not a sphere

In the last presidential election the only two GOP candidates to even admit evolution is a factual thing were Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Fine, whatever. Do whatever dance you have to do, we survived for thousands of years not knowing how evolution works and we’ll survive if we forget it. But it’s going to be a lot worse if we don’t start taking steps to manage climate change, both how to prevent it if possible and how to manage its effects. We’re going to clown your ass six ways till the Precambrian if you’ve ever implied Earth is only six thousand years old. But we’re ready to give a pass to anybody walking back statements about climate change in order to come in line with reality, no questions asked.

This offer won’t last long. There is a limited time to get on the correct side of this issue. And with every hyper-charged storm, record-breaking flood and temperature and precipitation season that shatters the last, holdouts on the wrong side- especially educated ones- are going to  be recognized as self-deluders, idiots or massively cynical.


Spread the word, people. One year. Libs, when someone comes out of the closet as a climate realist don’t go on about “flip flops” just say, “good job.” Cons, you need to come up with your response to this reality out beyond the untenable “it does not exist.” A science adviser to George W. Bush once said, “I know how to get Republicans on the side of helping to figure out what to do about climate change. Convince them if they don’t, they or their kids are going to die poor. There is not a Republican alive who wants to die poor.”

When the coastal cities of the United States are flooded out, a lot of wealth is going to vanish with it and the only way to deal is going to be huge government infrastructure projects on the scale never seen before. You guys are going to hate that. So get cracking.

But You Can Never Go Back There Again

Knowing it was high time I got out of Gloucester for an evening over the weekend, my buddy and all around super cool dude Joey said, “Let’s go to NH to this hardcore show. It’s at a Chinese food place, so, you know, Mai Tais.” Sold. This is how I grew up, after all – crappy bars that let underage kids in as long as they weren’t drinking, screaming punk rock played at top volume and somewhat varied in quality – anywhere between “moderately terrible” and “sorta listenable”, where there was always someone in a mohawk manning a merch table of buttons and cassette tapes.

I'll pretend it was as cool as this but it so never was.

I’ll pretend it was as cool as this but it so never was.

The good part about having a lot of tattoos, pink hair, and an enviable, rainbow assortment of Chuck Taylors is that it allows me to shapeshift, somewhat and fit in with a younger crowd. I’m 31, for the record – which is actually a fucking weird age, these days. But when I got to the show I realized that sure, I look like these kids, I’m even the same age as some of them; but times have changed for me.

You have no idea how deep into Facebook I had to search for this.

You have no idea how deep into Facebook I had to search for relics of my teenage life. Why did we love 40ozs so much?

There’s a line from Scenes From an Italian Restaurant, a barely-passable Billy Joel song, about Brenda and Eddy, who got married young (in the summer of 75!), and then divorced – and struggled with their identities after that, not being able to return to the lives they led before they got married. “They couldn’t go back to the greasers, the best they could do was pick up their pieces.” And for whatever stupid reason, that line keeps echoing through my head…like a life lesson I’m about to learn the hard way. Not that Billy Joel should give anybody life lessons.

I got in to the bar, which was unbearably lit, and immediately ordered a drink. Turns out it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a bar that tapes the empty cardboard 12 pack boxes to the wall to let you know their current beer selection. I’m kind of used to charcuterie plates and small-batch locally crafted cider, because I’m a dick. I dug through my wallet for cash. After all, I couldn’t go giving the bartender my Platinum Cashback Rewards Card, that says “Member since ’06” along the bottom, because they’d be on to me right quick, sniffing me out as a total square. Nothing says “punk kid” like a solid line of credit nearly a decade in length, right?

Damnit. I really could have used the cashback rewards.

Pushing on into a small, square room with a parquet floor, a band started up which I swear to blog was playing the exact same chords, the exact same style,  the exact same unintelligibly growling vocals as the last show I’d been to. It was like I had walked away at the age of 19, and the entire underground, young, hardcore/punk scene had just paused, awaiting my return. The outfits were the same as everything my friends and I wore back then – a teenage girl wearing a spiked vest with a Casualties patch, someone with a Crass tattoo, two or three G.G Allin shirts. Of course. Of course! And why not? It’s not like my generation invented punk rock or even improved it. We were mimicking our cool older cousins and siblings, uncles, and aunts. And so down the line it goes, the same as it was before and probably always will be.

Your humble author as a 17 year old badass (clearly).

Your humble author as a 17 year old badass (clearly).

I was nostalgic, I admit. I even drank a PBR. It was fun to watch these kids, still full of zeal and hope, do their thing. Until the mosh pit started. Oh, those. Yeah, they’re still happening. I moved further and further back, while Joey enjoyed himself knocking against other people’s fleshy parts and bones, until I was in the rear, up on a chair like I’d seen a family of wharf rats scampering across the carpet, wondering how much insurance this place had in case someone snapped their damn neck. This used to be fun! I used to do this on weekends! What was I thinking?

But time, marriage, kids age you. My life is elementary school pickups, trash day, and the detritus of separating my life from my former husband’s after an entire decade of togetherness, the first adult decade I had. What separated me from that crowd isn’t all about my age, it’s about being in a world where my kids are always begging to play Mario Kart before they’ve finished their chores, property tax hikes, writing deadlines and nagging back pain.

In the end, it was nice to be punk rock KT for a night – surrounded by kids (and adults) creating music, and a scene, and being noisy and imperfect and ALIVE, but it’s a world I can’t return to.

But I’ll find a way to get by.

Sergei II, The Re-sergi-ence

This morning finds both your humble Clameditors suffering not-insignificant hand injuries resulting from a drunken dare to  re-create of the “knife scene” in  the Sci-fi horror classic “Aliens.” Thus we give today’s The Clam over once  again to Sergei Nakhimov, Chief Warrant Officer Second Class of the Russian Federation submarine Vladikavakz. Sergei and crew have been stationed off Gloucester monitoring our communications for the past six months on a mysterious reconnaissance mission ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin. He has recovered enough from One Direction member Zayn’s retirement to finally grace us with a new post.

Hello Clam humor blog persons! Is again I, your funny friend from under-the-sea who is not adorable singing lobster. Still we are stuck offshore your coast of Gloucester, still I am in communications room monitoring you signals and taking the quiz of Buzzfeed. Apparently ideal DJ name for me is “MC Ramp Dusky.” Okey Dokey!

This Ursula is my kind of babushka. I must go meet her.

This Ursula is my kind of babushka. I must go meet her.

Welcome to your summer Yankee dogs! I am hoping you have all feasted on traditional burned meats and salad of potato while wearing logo T-shirt of major corporation as is your custom. In Russia on day of remembrance of Great Patriotic War we dress up in best suit and watch military equipment parade and soldiers kick-marching in shiny boots. Of course, since President Putin is in power this is also how we celebrate Christmas, Mother’s Day, Agricultural Collective Awareness Day and Adopt a Pet Week.

From periscope of submarine I see you have attached many flag to your Stacey Boulevard adjacent to the sea that is my watery prison. I must say is many, many flag. This is something of America I don’t understand. You think if there is one good thing, then better is to have one hundred of good thing. And if one hundred is good then why not one thousand? You see where this goes, Da? At what point is too many flag? Ah, who am I kidding, you are American there is no such thing as “too many.” Point for you is to be able to say “I have more flag than you, face of jerk!” and not to worry when beautiful ocean-side walkway begins to look like more used car dealership in Parsippany New Jersey.


Speaking of pastime, I see on Internet your favorite sport of padded steroid-eating concussion-men is in much trouble for letting air out of ball. This is something you talk endlessly about, for weeks on end. Constant discussion of this has raised anger of chief weapons officer Alexei who sometimes comes by communication bay to watch amusing cat video and to offer me his special drink mixture of refrigeration fluid and fermented beet juice he brew in forward toilet compartment. “Maybe I will turn their city into sea of fire and see how much shit they give about air in ball!” he mumbled a few days ago, holding up key around neck used to launch hydrogen bomb missile and stormed off toward his control station.

He is much kidder, Alexei! First mate and he had good laugh after he was able wrench key from Alexei’s hand and remove from control slot. “For future reference, use half as much refrigeration fluid,” I tell Alexei later when he comes out of coma.

Living in submarine for months with 56 other sailors is sometimes a great challenge for your friend Sergei. Sometime I would watch collectivist family of Duggars on TLC to make self feel better about being confined in small space with so many bodies smelling of sweat and borscht. Show always made Sergei feel happy because even though these many children were squashed together like last traincar out of Norolisk before winter, they always seem happy and are singing and making plays and schooling at home as is the way of your southern United States because they hate so much the fact of science that Jesus could not ride dinosaur.

Is total mystery why your southern states lag behind entire world in education

Is total mystery why your southern states lag behind entire world in education


But now we learn oldest boy Josh is terrible man and has been hurting sisters in gross way (Sergei always found him to be creepy like political officer on Boat who is former KGB). We also learn Josh went to lead something called “Family Research Council.” Sergei studied much science in high school and in Navy to become technical member of nuclear submarine crew. Sergei thinks whatever experiments Josh creep started in “family research” should be halted because his previous experiments are not good to nice girls in family. He is bad scientist of family. Very bad.

In sadness I suggest to Alexei we bomb Josh and maybe also father Jim Bob who is also makes Sergei taste herring pie from last night’s dinner in mouth, but Alexei only said “Worse for America if we let them live!” and then he laughed so many times. As I say, he is great kidder, Alexei.

On last topic, I see in provincial propaganda newspaper Gloucester Daily Times you have election coming. Two men must decide if they truly wish to challenge current unelected mayor who is may or maybe not going to go for voting and also has nickname that ties to gangs of criminal-types. My friends I must tell you this makes me so homesick! Tear comes to eye of Sergei. How I long for us to be heading home to Russia when I read of political situation in Gloucester.

Perhaps next time we talk I will be writing from my own small, cramped apartment in Soviet apartment block rather than small, cramped communication room of Soviet-built submarine. We can only hope! Until then Dosvedanya Tovarisch!



There are approximately one zillion flags on Stacey Boulevard. There was a flag so big there the other day it was touching the ground (bad form). Also we have a snappy new WW II Memorial, which is great.

But we at The Clam would love it if you’d also stop by the Gloucester Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the High School and pay your respects today. Like a lot of the vets from that war, this memorial is sort of tucked out of the way.

To be honest, The Clam supports digging that memorial right the fuck up and putting it next to the WW II one. Those guys deserve no less.

From us, to all our Vets and families a sincere thank you. And especially to those from a war some would rather forget.

Matthew P. Amaral III Killed 12/14/1967

Matthew P. Amaral III
Killed 12/14/1967