Friday, August 25, 2006

Prig Alert 1

In her essay Puritans and Prigs, the great Marilynne Robinson writes of priggishness, " is highly predictable because it is nothing else than a consuming loyalty to ideals and beliefs which are in general so widely shared that the spectale of zealous adherence to them is reassuring." Prigs, in short, are people who use their adherence to easy, conventional ideas as a way of asserting their moral superiority. There are right wing and left wing prigs, stupid prigs and clever prigs. They are everywhere. So I propose to introduce occasional Prig Alerts to Though Experiments, sticking as closely as I can to wise Robinson's profound understanding of the phenomenon.
My first alert is here. This is a site set up to register a rather contrived protest against McDonalds for their current promotion in America which involves giving away model Hummers - giant SUVs - with their Happy Meal. Hummers are, of course, spectacularly bad for the environment, so this prig wants to advertise his adherence to this conventional wisdom and acquire moral stature by doing so. In fact, the Hummer idea looks to me like a deliberate joke - 'Let's see, how can we make McDonalds even more offensive to the greens? I know...' Circumstantial evidence for this theory comes from the fact that Mike Roberts, president and CEO of the company, has just stepped down. Judging by his picture, he has a sense of humour. This was just one Mike gag that went too far, but, at least, it flushed out a prig.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder has anyone any use for the slogan, "They hate us for our Freedom Fries and our McChicken Burgers. Not to mention our Happy Meals."?