Little Aitan Grossman, just age 13, and cute as hell, has taken Honorable Mention in the 2010 Action For Nature International Young Eco-Hero Awards! A hero—an eco hero—and only 13! Applause, please.
Aitan was beaten out by Alexander James Zerphy, 13, of Maryland, who found his calling in worrying his friends and neighbors about Atlantic horseshoe crabs, and by Sarah Connor, 10, who has taken vows to support “environmental causes through her lemonade stand and Web site.” Yet Aitan’s work was still significant enough to merit mention.
What was Aitan’s achievement? Fending off the bullies who mercilessly beat or tease him for his name? No. The adults at Action For Nature instead praised Aitan’s extreme nervousness over the calamity which is called global warming.
Before we go further, it is essential to understand that I am not picking on somebody not my own size. Aitan is just a sweet-faced kid who doesn’t know better. It isn’t his fault that he wastes his youth wringing his wee hands, cowering in the corner, hiding from imaginary heat goblins.
It is his Californian—where else?—parent’s fault, probably the fault of at least one of his teachers, and certainly the fault of the supposed adults at Action For Nature. All these alleged responsible people have addled young Aitan’s mind to the extent that the poor lad was driven to seek relief in song.
Angst is always an ugly thing to see, most especially when set to music. (Right, U2?) Now, much, or even nearly all, modern pop music is, at best, nausea-inducing. But “activist” music purposely designed for political purposes, “We Are The World”-type torture tunes, are the nadir’s nadir of song.
Not surprisingly, it in this kind of music that young Aitan found his inner eco-hero, and thus his reward. Of course, it is certainly possible to compose at such a young age—Mozart started at five!—but it is highly improbable that most youthful attempts will have worth.
It is not Aitan’s fault that his horrible song found such high praise. I repeat: I am not criticizing Aitan, who is too young to have fault. But I do question the adults who have placed such foolish notions in the poor kid’s head. Here is his song (it can be listened to here).
My eyes are burning.
This is the biggest storm,
The tide is turning
I see the waiving wheat,
I see the redwood tree,
They wither in the heat.
What will become of me?
Hawk you fly into the wild.
I am like a little child.
You and I, we share the same elation.
River run down from heaven’s hill,
Ever flow I know you will,
Lasting for 100 genera—aaaaaa—tions.
All of the bread we eat,
All of our farming,
Will there be any meat?
The world is warming.
Our streams are full of tires,
Our trees are burning
In wild forest fires.
We must start learning now.
The sun shines through the clouds
And beams right on me.
I shall not put on shrouds
To weigh upon me.
Here comes the giant flood
And fifteen hurricanes.
I’ll open flower buds
With the fresh air and the rain.
The melody is nothing; certainly no worse than any other song in this genre, but no better, either. It is horrible in the same way the notes emanating from the ice-cream truck are: repetitive, sickly sweet, banal. I say nothing more about it.
But just look at those pathetic lyrics! They describe a nightmare: burning eyes, dying trees, out-of-control fires, withered forests, pollution-choked rivers, floods, a sun so fearsome that “shrouds” must be worn to protect oneself, and fifteen—fifteen! not fourteen, nor thirteen, but fifteen—hurricanes! What perplexing specificity!
These bizarreries are no different in their driving malevolence than those induced in the minds of sixteenth-century children addled by Hieronymus Bosch paintings. A song this frightening is not the product of a mind causally aware of events of the day. It is not a cynical attempt at public relations by an aging pop star. No, sir. These lyrics can only have come from a mind convinced that the End Is Near.
And just what evidence satisfied young Aitan that “It’s worse than we thought”? It cannot have been the testimony of his own eyes: the weather in California is exceptionally clement. From his web site, he appears healthy. Hurricanes have not increased, the redwoods have not withered, food production increases. Thus, his trembling could only have come from promises of future retribution.
Global warming then, as a fear, is not different in class from the threats promised by old Hieronymus. Eternal torture and clusters of fifteen hurricanes are evils that will “eventually” befall us, lest we repent and lead a sinless life.
It has long been recognized that environmentalism is a religion, and young Aitan’s song tells us that he is a dedicated convert. Given the appalling content of this song, we anxiously await intellectual Daniel Dennett’s pronouncement whether this religion, as he says of other sects, is a form of child abuse.