American Chemistry, First Responders, and a bloody stupid blogger.

I'm not sure how I missed it when it first appeared, but it seems that a few days ago one of the other bloggers on this network - Greg Laden - wrote a post that discussed some of the advertising that you may have noticed here recently. I just noticed and read the post, and I honestly wish I hadn't. I'm not entirely sure what point Greg was trying to make with his post, but in his efforts to reach the point he said some things that are amazingly..... I don't know, I'm honestly at a loss for an appropriate word here.

Greg manages to more or less start off on the wrong foot. Most of the ads feature first responders - police and firefighters (although there's also one that features an astronaut). To Greg, this means that the ads are all about 9/11:

But what I want to draw your attention to is the ubiquitous use of the imagery of first responders in those ads. The message is obvious: Without chemicals, first responding itself would be impossible" which equals "Without the American Chemistry Industry, Osama bin Laden will eat your next born" or words to that effect.

Funny. When I look at those ads, I don't really see Osama. Terrorism is not the first, third, or eighth thing to pop into my mind. Of course, terrorism is also not the first, third, or eighth thing to pop into my mind when I see a picture of a firefighter or a police officer. (If you're curious, the firefighters who ran into my burning apartment building when I was a kid are usually the first to pop to mind.)

Of course, my own impartiality is somewhat in doubt here. I know quite a few first responders. My favorite grand-uncle was a first responder. A lot of my friends are first responders. My wife is occasionally involved in that field. I was an EMT for a few years. That might be why this little part of Greg's post sent me right on through the roof:

I've noticed as well that first responders have taken a different tact in their field operations lately. I do enough highway driving to have a sense of this; I think first responders at accident scenes are taking up more space (closing more lanes) and taking up more time (having their post-disaster cup of coffee, etc. while the barriers are still up) at accident scenes.

I sense that they are strutting. And I find that annoying, if it is true.

Oy friggin' vey. I honestly don't know if Greg was joking or not, and I don't really care. If he was joking, the joke is in amazingly bad taste. If he's not joking, then he's a complete jackass. In either case, he needs to grow up.

Greg, speaking as someone who has taken vital signs on panicking patients while vehicles whizzed past my ass at near-highway speeds on more than one occasion, I would have to say that it is not ever, under any circumstances, possible to close too many lanes of traffic. Seriously: police, firefighters, and EMTs are killed or injured with appalling regularity while working at accident scenes.

But, obviously, safety is much less important than making sure Very Important People get to their Very Important Places without being inconvenienced.

More like this

If "is the scene safe" aren't the first thing you say on arrival, I'm flunking your ass. And your hands had better damn well be up in the "I am gloved" sign, too.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink

I recall a TV ad, must've been over a year ago now, where they took a day-to-day scene and then removed all the plastic, to make the point of just how much of your life was provided by modern chemistry. Maybe the web ad was a variation on that theme.

I thought the ad was effective, but I don't remember it being particularly focused on 9/11, first responders, or anything like that.

My problem is not with the *first* responder, but with the second or third. At least in my town - a suberb of Los Angeles - Any bit of police activity gets about 3 - 4 cars even if it appears to be a simple traffic stop + search that is well under control - i.e., the single driver is handcuffed and sitting on the curb.

However, For accidents and fires and true *emergency* situations I am sure that the more help the better.

Typical Laden. He doesn't think before he writes and then claims that anyone who disagrees with what he writes is 'misreading' it. He wrote a similar post in which he claimed that he opposed torture, as evidenced by his opposition to prosecuting torturers. He was quite upset when his inconsistency was pointed out to him, claiming that there was no inconsistency and that anyone who thought otherwise was full of shit.

(A friend of mine used to work as an EMT. Getting hit by a car and dragged nearly fifty feet messed up that career. Clearly "taking up more space (closing more lanes)" is a really bad idea because, as you noted "safety is much less important than making sure Very Important People get to their Very Important Places without being inconvenienced", as demonstrated by Laden seeing an EMT drinking coffee.)

By anonymous pseudonym (not verified) on 29 May 2009 #permalink

Not that I am really commenting on 9/11 or anything like that,but my best friend in 7th and 8th grade had no father. His father (an EMT) was killed while attempting to help an individual contemplating suicide on a bridge. A driver who valued his salvaged minutes more than any salvaged life drove around the emergency vehicle striking the first responder breaking his neck and killing my friend's dad instantly. This scenario happens more than we like to think. Maybe it really isn't a vast conspiracy of local police and government to waste the drivers "valuable" time but a matter of safety procedures that save moms and dads from negligent homocide.

By Nashville (not verified) on 29 May 2009 #permalink

Greg Laden is the laughing stock of ScienceBlogs. In his fantasy world, his "gonzo" writing style makes him appear to be some sort of Indiana Jonesesque masculine virile field anthropology manly man. In reality, he is a sad ineffectual near-illiterate buffoon who couldn't write his way out of a wet paper bag.

And it is pathetic that he continues to give the impression--with all his talk of his "students"--that he is a faculty member at his institution, when in reality he is nothing more than a low-level administrative functionary wiping snot off the noses of 18-year-old children. Everything about him is fraudulent.

By Friend of Scie… (not verified) on 30 May 2009 #permalink

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