This Week In F—k You: JOE KLEIN

07.16.09 8 years ago 77 Comments

We’re in the slowest stretch of the offseason now: the dreaded post-draft period. There’s no football on, and there won’t be football on for quite some time. You’re angry. You’re hateful. We understand. At KSK, we’re hateful too. Of all things, at all times. Hating is what we do best. So, in that spirit, we present you with the weekly off-topic/offseason feature…


Every week or so, we’ll be taking our lack-of-football-related depression out on any number of deserving targets: people, things, abstract ideas, group dinners, etc. It’s just the kind of cathartic invective we excel at. This week, Time columnist Joe Klein.

Political columnists. They are the single most annoying class of person on earth, ranking just below Christian motivational speakers and the homeless. They bitch about jeans. They make no fucking sense. They share a common goal of aggressively boring you into submission. This is not an ideological characteristic among them. Liberal or conservative, these people are all the absolute shit-sucking worst that humanity has to offer. But there is one that somehow manages to stand out even amongst the sewage. I speak, of course, of Time columnist and professional cocksmuggler, Joe Klein.

You might remember Joe from the time he anonymously wrote a book that you didn’t read, which was subsequently made into a John Travolta movie you didn’t watch. Those are both relatively harmless offenses. But I’d like to direct you to a column he wrote about a year ago with regards to air conditioning, an article so profoundly obnoxious, it ranks right up with Simmons’ “No one congratulated me for the Pats beating the Chargers” column and Wilbon’s “I hate the NFL Draft” column for rage-inducing annoyance. A year later, it still bothers the shit out of me, and it takes great doucheterity to be able to pull of such a feat.

I, of course, am on the record in my full support of air conditioning. Klein, however, feels differently. And not only is he against air conditioning, but he uses reams of column space to tell you just how great of a person that makes him. Let’s go to the offending item.

Kill Your Air Conditioner

On the weekend of the summer solstice, my wife and I went to a wedding in New England. The weather was perfect — mid-70s, sunny, with an exquisite whisper of breeze.

Well, that sounds downright lovely, Joe.

We stayed at a classic little inn… classic except for the air-conditioning blasting through the lobby.

ZOMG! This is terrible! A classic New England bed and breakfast desecrated with MODERN AMENITIES? This is not the true Colonial experience I paid for on my summer solstice! Look at this food! It’s clearly been refrigerated!

/spits out heirloom tomato

I asked the innkeeper why he felt the need to refrigerate when the weather outside was so amenable. “I wish we didn’t. It’s expensive. I’d love to keep the temperature about 75,” he told me, “but the guests demand it.”

And there you have it. EVIL human guests, who almost are certainly responsible for the murder of Bambi’s mom, are so airthirsty that they are suffocating the poor innkeeper with 69 degree temperatures and proper ventilation.

The unnecessary refrigeration of America has become a chronic disease.

It’s true! We’re airoholics!

It seems to have gotten worse over the past few years, with thermostats routinely set at 68deg.F, and sometimes even 65 deg., in the (far too many) hotel rooms I’ve suffered on the campaign trail.

Ah, poor baby. You had to suffer through sleeping in an account-expensed hotel room that’s a touch cool. I BET YOUR ROOM DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A BRAUN COFFEEMAKER IN IT.

“Americans seem to keep their houses cooler in summer than they do in the winter,” muses Edward Parson, an environmental expert at the University of Michigan Law School.

I have a law in my life, and that is that anyone who “muses” on anything is a douchebag. This also goes for anyone who is “bemused” at the sight of anything. “Let me muse on how these horrible people’s love of air conditioning bemuses me.” DIE.

But it’s hard to know for sure, since there are no comprehensive studies that measure air-conditioning trend lines.


I will confess a bias here.

Oh, really? Bias? From a political reporter? I’m stunned.

I love warm weather, even when it slouches toward humidity. I detest the harsh, slightly metallic quality of the air forced through even the fanciest AC systems.

Here’s another law for you folks out there. If the only thing left to bitch about in your life is this “metallic” quality of your air conditioning, then life is pretty solid. If you suddenly decide to become an air critic, demanding higher quality oxygen around you, as if it is an entrée being presented to you at Per Se, then you may be out of touch with other people.

The only air conditioner I own sits, unused, in my car;

Oooh, look at how awesome I am! I don’t use things! I think of the innkeepers! That makes me better than you!


my home is happily unrefrigerated. But given the energy mess we’re in, I can now gild my personal preference with a patina of high-mindedness: air-conditioning is bad for the planet, and for national security, and for our balance-of-payments deficit.

You see what Klein does here? He goes so far as to ANNOUNCE to you that he’s being a complete douchebag about this. “I hate air conditioning. And now that the world is conveniently melting, I get to be a bossy dick about it. Yay, me!” This is a classic dick move, announcing your own dickishness. But it gets even worse.

Unfortunately, it is not as bad as I’d like it to be

Okay, so it’s bad for the planet, but it’s not THAT bad. And you wish it was WORSE for the planet so that you could REALLY give people shit about it.

— in part because not all of our electricity is provided by fossil fuels (although coal does predominate). And also because air-conditioning represents a relatively small slice of our energy use, an estimated 4%.

SO WHAT THE FUCK IS THE PROBLEM, YOU HAIRY SHIT? You don’t like aircon? Fine. Go sit in your stupid fucking car and sweat to your heart’s content. But leave me and my beloved Siemens out of this.

But that’s still pretty egregious.

But you just said it wasn’t!

We used an estimated 4 quadrillion British thermal units on air-conditioning in 2006, which is more than the total energy usage of all but 21 countries. And a fair amount of that is peak usage — the sort that sends the electric grid crackling toward brownouts and meltdowns and increases the demand for the construction of more electric power plants (and the pollution they spew — unless they use renewable sources like hydropower or, as John McCain correctly insists, nuclear power, which should be carefully reconsidered). “A lot of utilities supplement their main power sources with quick-acting oil- or gas-driven generators on the hottest days of the year,” says Lee Schipper of the University of California, Berkeley. Schipper estimates the cost of peak usage is 20 cents per kW-h, as opposed to an average of 13 cents for “baseload capacity” usage, and it is far more carbon-intense because it is generated by oil or gas.

Schipper also estimates a savings of 4% for every degree warmer you push your thermostat. If you’re set at 70deg.F now and move it to 75deg.—a comfortable, if slightly chilly number to my mind—you save 20% of the cost and energy of your air-conditioning bill.

Okay, so why not phrase the opening of your little article, “Hey, an easy way to maybe save some money and help our energy crisis may be to watch our thermostats.” Instead of, “You people are fucking AIR PIGS, and I am not. And your taste in oxygen is subpar at best. Let me show you all the ways YOU ARE BEING A COCK.” You see the difference in attitudes there? You see why I’m inclined to not listen to any of your research because you spent the first few paragraphs of your little diatribe being such an overwhelming cocksnot?

Let’s just skip to the end.

I’d like to see both candidates call for an immediate 5deg.F thermostat adjustment

And I assume you’d like to see them banned in all cozy seaside inns. What are you gonna do if I jack up the AC after coming back from an hour outside in DC’s 4,000 percent humidity, Joe? You gonna give me a demerit? What about the elderly? Should they be sweating out precious IV fluids just because you think it’ll teach us all a nice lesson?

…just to get the conservation ball rolling — and because it would be a “personal virtue” for each candidate to ask it of us. And I’d like to wish you all a nice, warmer summer.


Hey look, I enjoy saving the planet and being a “virtuous” person or whatever the fuck that means. But you political columnists out there will never get me to do a fucking thing so long as every column your write drips with self-congratulatory bullshit. “Look at me! I have such great ideas!” FUCK YOU. Die in a restaurant walk-in freezer.

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