Matt Damon’s new film Promised Land sounds really promising.
It’s about a cynical young man sent by a large wind farm company to a lovely village in rural Pennsylvania to seduce the locals with tales of the massive sums of money they’ll make if they sign a deal to have huge wind turbines built on their farmland.
Dollar signs flash in the greedy hicks’ eyes. This wind farm scam is crazy: no way would they have made that much money in their entire lives from just farming. Every one rushes to Damon: "Where do I sign?"
But Damon has begun falling in love with a local farm girl who tells him the truth about wind farms: that they’re ugly, that they kill birds and bats, that they ravage the countryside, blight views, divide communities and make people sick with their Low Frequency Noise.
So instead of bribing locals to have these bat-chomping bird-slicing eco-crucifixes erected in their village, Damon leads the fight back. NO MORE WIND FARMS!
The village is saved and he and the girl live happily ever after.
If only. But the sad truth is that this lame-assed, eco-propaganda movie has nothing whatsoever to do with the genuine threat of wind farms but with the almost wholly imaginary one of fracking. Fracking has been a godsend to the US economy, blessing it with clean, cheap, abundant energy which has enriched those states lucky enough to have big shale gas reserves, created jobs and increased America’s energy security by reducing its reliance on imported gas from unstable countries.
What’s not to like about shale gas?
Well indeed. And this is proving something of a problem for America’s showbiz bleeding hearts. As we saw the other day with the Sean and Yoko story, being opposed to shale gas is the new black for every two-bit celebrity. Like having a "Free Tibet" bumper sticker on your Porsche Cayenne, it shows you CARE. The propaganda machine opposing shale gas development is massive and very well-funded. Its opponents include the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom, the Park Foundation (which since 2009 has spent over $3 million funding ‘grassroots’ opposition to shale gas), and pretty much everyone involved in the renewable energy scam. When you hear people like Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey talking down British shale gas prospects, what you’re hearing is green ideology: the environmental movement loathes shale gas because it renders expensive, environmentally unfriendly "alternatives" like wind and solar essentially superfluous.
But back to that Hollywood problem I mentioned a moment ago. If shale gas – and fracking – aren’t bad, how the hell do you make a half-way convincing movie in which they are the villain of the piece (aka The monster that needs to be slain: if you’ve read Christopher Booker’s Seven Basic Plots you’ll know what I mean here)?
Answer: with considerable difficulty.