The coal industry just badly tore a nail while desperately scrabbling for a handhold, trying to keep itself from sliding down a slippery slope to oblivion. Okay, that "oblivion" bit was wishful thinking on my part, coal will be with us for a while yet, for while it yields the dirtiest form of energy in so many ways, it's also the most plentiful and the cheapest.
But it is, as the Guardian points out, a sign of the coal industry's desperation that it feels the need for a charm offensive. The most recent is the "Coal Is Amazing" ad from the Minerals Council of Australia.
The ad features suggestive landscapes in shades of charcoal grey, with a soft-spoken female voiceover whispering seductive things about coal.
In response, Australians have taken to Twitter and subverted the #CoalIsAmazing hashtag with their own take, peppered with plenty of black humour. Or should that be anthracite humour? All the sarcasm stops have been pulled out in this reaction, the outpouring of disgust completely eclipsing the original intent of the hashtag.
Here are a few samples:
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Coal is amazing. #coalisamazing— Jake Lil Black Rock (@jaketheyak) September 6, 2015
Referring to the child labour practices of the 19th century when coal drove the Industrial Revolution:
In response to the claim that is it now "40 percent cleaner":
There are, of course, movie references:
But it is this tweet that definitively puts coal with other things that people once thought were a good idea but turned out to be a very bad mistake:
Go ahead, read the #CoalIsAmazing feed for yourself. I bet there are more gems in there.
Is this outpouring of sarcasm going to take down the Australian coal industry? I don't think so. But like any torn nail, this one will annoy the coal lobby for a long time. Because the crowd's countercampaign is sticky. I for one will remember it.