Appalachian Basin

(UPDATED!!) Going Gaga Over the “Conscious-Raising Social Event of the Season”

The old line that “you couldn’t possibly make this stuff up” is one of my favorites, truth being so much wilder than fiction in many cases.  A recent solicitation from the Catskill Mountainkeeper proves the point.  It should be the illustration next to the term “trendy” in one of those old dictionaries.  I did think about it adding it to the Wiktionary definition but ran out of time.

What makes this solicitation so hilarious?  Well, here’s what it says (just above the “DONATE NOW” button:

Woodstockers are sending a loud and clear message to us in our new office at 34 Tinker street: Don’t Frack with our Water! So if you want to make your voice heard with your friends and neighbors…

Join mobilized energized community members for an evening with core members of the Catskill Mountainkeeper team as we discuss the current issues and concerns facing our beautiful mountain home and beyond.

July 8th at 6:00 pm at the home of Abbe Aronson, 35 Abbey Road in Mount Tremper (off Wittenberg Road).

Cocktails, appetizers and some very special entertainment!

We hope you’ll join us for THE conscious-raising social event of the season. So many of you have asked, “How can I help?” CMK Woodstock has an action plan in place and your participation is much needed and so meaningful in our effort to say “No frackin’ way!”

Now, those of you who don’t know much about Woodstock in Ulster County, New York, may recall it is the location for which the Woodstock Festival of 1969 was named, although the event actually took place in Sullivan County (part of our region) after being rejected by others.  The town has long been known as an arts community and even has an Artists Cemetery for “Woodstock artists and luminaries.”  It has been a mecca for artists, crafters, poets and  utopians for many decades.  It is as trendy as you can get without being in Greenwich Village.  It also has an estimated 2010 per capita income of $39,562, some 48% higher than the U.S. average, and a median home value of $312,718, some 98% above the U.S. as a whole (Source: ESRI).

These Woodstock folks are anything but your normal starving artists.  Indeed, one could say they are the blueblood artists and THIS is where the Catskill Mountainkeeper has recently decided to open an office (good for donations, apparently).  The economic contrast with the nearby Towns of Deposit and Sanford could not be more clear as the chart illustrates.   Deposit area residents have incomes just about half of what Woodstock residents earn, so one might think a socially conscious organization would strive to balance its environmental concerns with this economic reality.

Instead, the Catskill Mountainkeeper joined hands with the Delaware Riverkeeper (a director of whom is John Adams, father of the Mountainkeeper’s Executive Director) to appear at the DRBC hearing in Deposit in opposition to XTO’s water withdrawal application, which would allow for natural gas and economic development sorely needed by Deposit area residents.  The Delaware Riverkeeper bussed in metro area residents for the hearing free of charge and the Catskill Mountainkeeper appeared as its loyal ally to speak up for the interests of these “haves” against the interests of the “have not’s” who actually reside in the area.  But, I digress…

The Mountainkeeper’s dedication to appeasing these “haves” is epitomized by its appeal to the blueblood artists of Woodstock to join it for “THE conscious-raising social event of the season.”  If I didn’t know otherwise. I’d think it was a some scene from “Dharma and Greg” where her aging hippie and his snob parents have morphed into one new set of psuedo-adults with the worst characteristics of both.  The “conscious-raising social event of the season?  Who the heck talks like this?  The answer is obvious – the kind of immature individuals who think a crudity such as “No frackin’ way” is a stroke of brilliance.

Also revealing is the location of this social (snob) event of the season – the home of Abbe Aronson, self-described as “legendary hostess and party promoter, knows everybody who is anybody and is a modern day ‘yenta extraordinaire’ — constantly introducing people, products and publications to each other with magical results. And Lady Gaga takes her calls.”  Well, that certainly denotes seriousness, doesn’t it?  Abbe offers services such as “artful schmoozing,” which, come to think of it, is a large part of what the Mountainkeeper does, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, for the Mountainkeeper, there is life beyond Woodstock.  There are places where real people struggle daily in the real world to put food on the table for their families.  They don’t have time to attend “conscious-raising social events” because they’re too busy working and caring for the communities where they reside.  They don’t have time to run around telling others how to live their lives so they can display their social consciences to the world and relieve their guilt at having done so undeservedly well on the backs of others.  They might like Gaga’s music but they surely wouldn’t waste time talking with anyone who wears ‘meat dresses.”  Fortunately, for them and all of us who protected this area long before the Woodstock generation appeared on the scene, natural gas development is in our future and nothing the Mountainkeeper or the Riverkkeeper or any of their other trendy friends are going to do to stop it.  It is coming!

UPDATE I: A good friend observes that the hardcore members of the Woodstock generation are now  aging radicals. Sadly, these wilted flower children have never grown up.  The only difference between then and now for them is that whatever they smoke now has to be organic.  They blithely ignore the 37 recent European deaths due to organic bean sprouts while demanding health impact studies of natural gas drilling, which has been done safely for decades.

UPDATE II: Another friend observes that you can always recognize the aging Woodstock types at anti-gas events because they’re always in uniform – long hair, long dresses and long faces.

UPDATE III: Let’s also not forget the Delaware Riverkeeper had advance notice of the XTO hearing details and distributed them to its friends prior to the DRBC releasing the information – talk about being connected!



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