Ali G vs. Borat


Why is Ali G so much better than Borat? Because it’s much better to laugh at a comic when he is making fun of self-important celebrities than when he mocks ordinary people just trying to be nice to someone who is mocking them.


I have a lot of sympathy for people who are trying to lead simpler lives. Not so much for vapid celebrities who are hectoring everyone else on the planet.


K-Lo just post a link to this interview with the insufferable eco-celebrity Laurie David. Here is my favorite excerpt:

“What changes have you made in your own life? I don’t believe everyone has to do everything. I don’t do everything. It’s about everyone doing something. I have changed as many lightbulbs as I could to (higher efficiency) bulbs. I started a new idling rule at the school carpool lane (cars dropping and picking up kids can’t idle their engines more than 30 seconds). I bring a garment bag to the dry cleaners (instead of having the dry cleaners wrap her clothes in petroleum-based plastic). I drive a hybrid.”

I decided to build a little carbon balance sheet for Ms. David.

Her are things she says she’s done to reduce emissions reductions:

  • Switch “as many lightbulbs as I could” to higher efficiency bulbs. I’m sure Ms. David lives in a large house. Let’s assume 20 bulbs. According to, 1 bulb =100 Lbs/year. 20 bulbs = 2000 Lbs/Year = 1 ton.
  • New idling lane at school. Note that this is not really a change she’s made, as much as a rule she has gotten imposed on others people. Let’s give her credit for her change in idling. Assume an average of halving idle time or 0.5 minutes of idle time / day eliminated, assume 180 school days per year = 1.5 hours of eliminated idle time per year, assume 2 gallons of fuel / idle hour = 3 gallons per year, assume 30 “mile equivalents” per gallon = 90 “mile equivalents” per year. According to this is worth .05 tons per year.
  • Bringing a garment bag to the dry cleaners. So small it’s hard to calculate. Let’s give her credit for a ridiculously high amount of savings, say a full ton per year, to offset (so to speak) any errors in prior approximations.

So all-in, her stated lifestyle changes have reduced her carbon footprint by about 10 tons / year.


A lot is often made of the fact that she “sometimes” flies in private jets. According to TerraPass, a Gulfstream G4 generates 8,785 Lbs of carbon per flight hour. Let’s assume Laurie David took one roundtrip flight last year between LA and NY. Assume 10 hours of flying time = 87,850 Lbs = 44 tons.


So, so far she’s in the hole by about 34 tons if you assume one r/t private flight.

But hey, she’s started to cut way down on toilet paper.



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