Is “Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions” a climate song?

Let’s check it out.

chat Posted Aug 17, 2016 by Rezwan | Category : Narrative
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What is a Climate Change Song?

As noted in the Zero Carbon Playlist, climate change songs are everywhere, if you know what to look for.

Of course, knowing what to look for, and WANTING to look for it are two different things. Most of us don’t want to look for climate change in our songs, because frankly, we don’t want to think about it. We tune it out.

But it’s there.

Speaking of not looking, here’s “Cool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions.”

Listening with Zero Carbon Ears

On the surface, this is a playful song that mocks the absurdity of a common trope in action movies. The one where unperturbed people walk away from explosions.

Now put on your zero carbon ears, and…

This is an awesome climate change song. On many levels.

It’s not just a climate change song. It’s a double-edged flaming climate change song.

The opening verse:

Seems like these days the whole world’s on fire
Things keep blowing the hell up
And while all those rubber neckers and Looky Lou’s stand slackjawed, staring
The real men have the nuts to walk away

“The whole world’s on fire?” Check. Climate change is in progress.

“Looky Lous stand slackjawed?” Check. With climate change, most people are paralyzed by the “bystander effect.

“The real men have the nuts to walk away?” Ah! Here is the double edged flaming sword.

This song can be about climate denial.

The “real men” walking away are the people who confidently ignore climate change. Probably causing and exacerbating it. Heedless.

But at least they have some kind of anti-integrity. They are at peace with the explosion or with their denial.

The slackjawed “Looky Lous” are more problematic. They know there’s a problem and aren’t doing anything about it. Not cool.

Zero Carbon Coaching tip for Looky Lous:

Don’t feel bad. Paralysis is normal in the face of super wicked problems.

If feelings of overwhelm and guilt have you down, check in with your emotions. Process them. Climate Therapists are standing by.

Of course, paralysis also comes from not knowing what you are supposed to do. We can fix that.

Knowing there is a problem is different from knowing the solutions. And until you know the solutions, there isn’t much you can do about the problem.

The fix? Looky Lous, do what you do best. Look! At the playbook.

Check out the array of solutions and pick your favorites. And then get a move on. You are the Player.

No plays without a player. Start walking.

Of course, you are free to interpret a song in many ways. Yes, it can be about denial. It can also be about climate solutions. 

“The real men have the nuts to walk away?”

What if what the real men are walking away from is “stranded assets.” This song captures the cool, calm, collected mindset required to switch to a zero carbon economy. The chorus supports this idea.

Cool guys don’t look at explosions
They blow things up and then walk away
Who’s got time to watch an explosion
There’s cool guy errands that they have to walk to

The explosion is both the unfolding climate change, and the metaphoric explosion of long held assumptions about how to treat assets. A fortune in unburned fuel going up in flames. The cool guys don’t have time to dwell on climate change, or on agonizing over assets. They are getting on with solutions.

Walking away from climate change. On to “cool guy errands”.

Cool guy errands

OMG, of course! Errands galore! There is a lot to do to get to zero carbon! A ton of cool guy errands to walk to. Who’s got time for the explosions! Onward!

And you need to be cool to run these errands. A cool head to get through the chaos and distorted information signal and panic.

And once you make the changes, you’ll be in a cooler world.

#Obvious now that you mention it.

Keep walking, keep shining
Don’t look back, keep on walking
Keep struttin’, slow motion
The more you ignore it, the cooler you look

Delayed gratification. The longer you can lay off those assets, avoid the urge to continue with business as usual, the more sustainable your world, and the cooler you are.

Carbon Removal

And then, in an obvious nod to sequestering carbon (diamonds) and reducing your footprint, the song introduces a guy with diamonds on his shoes:

Ladies and gentlemen
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Neil Diamond
Ha ha ha, where are we?

Cool guys don’t look at explosions
They stride forward in their diamond covered boots

Step on it

In the end, the song admonishes us to hurry up and unleash the creative destruction of capitalism. Disrupt the boring antiquated economy, leave it behind and walk fast to the chill new world.

Because, Cool guys don’t look at explosions
The flames are hot but their heart is chill
Walk fast from the boring explosion
And don’t think about the people you’ve killed

The last bit about “people you’ve killed” refers to corporations. As we all know from Citizens United, corporations are people. And in capitalism, disruption happens. Corporations die. Let them burn. Walk on. New corporations are born. 

The verdict:

What do you think?

Is “Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions” a climate change song? If yes, is it a climate denial song, or a climate solutions song?

What type of cool guy are you?

Remember. You are the Player. No plays without a player. Start walking.

Explosion emoji here.

What other songs would you add to the zero carbon playlist, and why?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Notes & Related:

This just in: Bill Nye’s don’t look at explosions.

Let’s go out in a blaze of glory
Drivin’ my life away

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