When I was first asked to help with the launch of the movie Greedy Lying Bastards, I really wasn’t too sure of the title.
Would people be turned off by the aggressive tone of calling people like David and Charles Koch and other individuals behind the attack on the science of climate change “bastards” “liars” and “greedy”?
Are the people featured in the film, like Fred Singer, who pretend to be experts on everything from the links between cigarettes and cancer, near-earth asteroid disasters and climate change, actually bastards? Are they greedy liars?
Is it a fair claim?
So I looked up the formal definitions of the words to see if they fit.
Let’s start with the claim that climate science deniers are bastards – the most inflammatory claim.
Bastard: ”1: an illegitimate child; 2: something that is spurious, irregular, inferior, or of questionable origin; 3: an offensive or disagreeable person —used as a generalized term of abuse.”
The first two definitions don’t fit (maybe the second one in some cases), but the third seems to fit quite nicely for someone like Christopher Monckton, who at the 2009 international COP15 climate summit in Copenhagen, repeatedly called a group of young climate campaigners the “Hitler youth” – even after being told by one young person that he was Jewish and his grandparents had escaped Germany during World War II.
Here’s a video of that incident. I am sure most people will agree that Monckton is “an offensive or disagreeable person” (and if you honestly disagree, please, oh, please try to justify your point of view in the comments below):
If the shoe fits the bastard, then…
The definition of “lying” is pretty straightforward. ”Disposed to or characterized by untruth.”
Now this claim is actually a little trickier than the bastard claim.
I am convinced that after a while, and enough money from the fossil fuel industry, I think a lot of these fake climate change experts start to believe their own lies.
After all, someone like Fred Singer, a long time professional climate change expert-for-pay who receives speaker fees, free trips and upwards of $5,000 a month in funding from oil-company front groups like the Heartland Institute, is more than a little likely to enjoy the taste of his own Kool Aid after a while.
So yes, conveying “untruths” does fit very appropriately, at least initially when someone begins a career as an expert-for-hire.
Finally, greedy. That’s the most appropriate label of the three when documenting the history of the attack on climate change science.
Greedy is defined as: “Excessively desirous of acquiring or possessing, especially wishing to possess more than what one needs or deserves.”
Two of the richest billionaires in the world, David and Charles Koch (the main subjects in Greedy Lying Bastards) fit the bill. Not only has their greed led to excessive fortunes, beyond belief, that greed has also led them to pump millions into groups that attack the science of climate change and fight tooth-and-nail against regulations proposing to limit climate change pollution.
So is everyone in Greedy Lying Bastards a “greedy, lying, bastard”?
As you can see, some are likely just liars, others greedy and some bastards. But as a whole, this is a group of people that has purposefully fought, funded and profited from the attack on climate science. Their activities and the impact they have had on delaying regulations on climate change pollution emissions are well documented in this film.
And I wouldn’t suggest changing the title in a million years.
Rent or buy Greedy Lying Bastards today. Please support the film, it deserves all the attention it can get.
*Ed. note: DesmogBlog founder Jim Hoggan is a featured interviewee in the Greedy Lying Bastards film. (We think he nailed it!)