Earth Hour and a life in ruins


My Life in Ruins (SABC3, 7pm); The Bank Job (e.TV, 8pm); The Voice (M-Net, 8pm). These are the shows you’ll miss, partially or completely, during Earth Hour on Saturday March 24. It’s noticeable that all three shows relate to the event, so let’s have a closer look.

The Voice is in its 13th season and therefore thoroughly missable. The voices in your head during Earth Hour will not be. Sitting in the dark, a strong voice — this you will identify as the voice of reason — will tell you what you are doing is admirable and “for the greater good”.

The voice will quickly morph into a much stronger, whiny sort of squeal that this is insane.

What difference does it make globally, the voice will say, to have a few appliances turned off for an hour? You’ve had a hard week, it will tell you, you deserve to be entertained.

Besides, it will go on, climate change hasn’t been proved beyond doubt, has it? Sure, there are signs — no polar bear should swim for 100km nonstop — but was the summer really that hot? And don’t they have hurricanes in the United States every year? And what does “in living memory” really mean?

(Hey, it’s the blind auditions, the voice goes, and you decided long ago that that’s not a confusing, borderline-offensive title. So you listen, get up and the turn on the TV and draw the curtains so no one can see. No one can see that when it comes down to it, you feel in your heart of hearts the Earth can suck it.)

The Bank Job is a movie starring Jason Statham about a 1971 bank heist in London. Earth Hour was launched in 2007, which makes it unlikely the heist was carried out during Earth Hour. (Heists have been carried out during Earth Hour since, which raises some questions about how this author thinks.)

Plans or no plans, a blackout will suck the energy right out of your Saturday night, leaving you with nothing else but to ponder the wider, ever-expanding ruins of your life seemingly with no end.

My Life in Ruins — Hollywood movie; happy ending — is the perfect antidote for such existential angst and available for free on SABC3. But as is the case with all movies, it demands a power outlet and at least a 200-watt supply.

Yes, Earth Hour may be a New Year’s Eve in reverse; the global celebration shrouded in darkness devoid of fireworks and live music. But rejoice, after 60 minutes of quiet contemplation listening to the house settle, the lights will come back on, the fridge will whirr — there is life in the kitchen! — and the sound of modems, TVs and hi-fis powering up for 365 more days of uninterrupted service will make it seem like the whole ordeal was just a bad dream.

Until next year, of course, when you’ll have to pit the future of the planet against your happiness once more.

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