Word to the wise: Never get on the bad side of the National Audubon Society. It just flipped Jonathan Franzen the proverbial bird.
In response to a piece Franzen published in the New Yorker, asking the question “Has climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?,” a piece that included such astounding sentences as “Last September, as someone who cares more about birds than the next man, I was following the story of the new stadium that the Twin Cities are building for their football Vikings” (“football Vikings?”) and “Maybe it’s because I was raised as a Protestant and became an environmentalist, but I’ve long been struck by the spiritual kinship of environmentalism and New England Puritanism. Both belief systems are haunted by the feeling that simply to be human is to be guilty” and “Rarely do I board an airplane or drive to the grocery store without considering my carbon footprint and feeling guilty about it” and then went on to imply that the National Audubon Society was giving carte blanche for “eagles and condors” to be shredded in wind turbines in the name of stopping climate change, an impossible amorphous problem that no individual act could do anything to solve.
Not so, wrote Audubon’s Mark Jannot, who proceeded to do to the Franzen effort what a raptor does to a carcass, pointing out that “the very examples he cites in his piece of the kind of retail, grassroots protections we should be offering to birds (and the very kind that would presumably be subsumed in a wave of climate neurosis) were spearheaded by . . . Audubon.” Among other things.
Which of these are real phrases included in an Audubon Society retort to Jonathan Franzen?