thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Monday, January 09, 2006

I think I must just be too cynical or something. Here I am, about 12 years after an enormous oil spill off the coast of Scotland (Shetland Isles to be precise) thinking that oil companies are just a nasty bunch of people. I thought they are in part responsible for Global Warming, indirectly hiring paramilitaries and many other crimes and misdemeanours but it turns out I am all wrong. You see unknown to me oil companies have really been saving the planet.

Whenever I thought of Shell in Nigeria I would think of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other activists from the Ogoni peoples who were executed because of their opposition to Shell destroying their traditional land without a decent amount of recompense. It turns out I got it all wrong. I just looked at Shell's website for Nigeria and it turns out that some of their 'Key values' are

Honesty and integrity
Personal development
Being a good citizen

I would be interested to know how one is supposed to develop after one has been executed?

Over in Ireland the 'Rossport Five' know better than most about how Shell are good at teamwork. They were imprisoned for not being on Shell's team. They obviously don't know better than everyone as the pic on the right shows.

But it's not just Shell I was wrong about. Take BP, the second largest oil (sorry, energy) company in the world (after Exxonmobil), who are now calling themselves 'Beyond Petroleum' and will be spending at least $150 million this year to make us believe it. The second item on the front page of their website is 'Environment and Society' (after 'About BP') this must show how seriously they are taking it. Or does it? In 2005, at the same time their television commercials were emphasising the minor part of their business (renewables) BP was "privately lobbying in Washington to block legislation to introduce a mandatory curb on greenhouse gases."
It is not just the oil companies that are engaging in this sort of thing now. McDonalds had an advert with the phrase 'We're Listening' shortly after 'Supersize Me' came out. Presumably that means that they listen before they try and dupe you into buying unhealthy and horrid food rather than just trying to dupe you straight away.

Another advert I saw was a Honda engine flying through a nice pastoral scene with green fields and cows and flowers. No one in the advert was getting a melanoma the size of an apple hacked off of them or being pulled out the wreckage of a burning car.

There are 3 ways to look at all this. Either the companies have turned over a new leaf out of the goodness of their hearts and are starting to make changes (unlikely). Or it could be that the companies are running scared because some of the anti-corporate activism is really beginning to hit home' and they are therefore trying to substantively change their modes of operation and output. Or, it could just be a big advertising campaign.

It could be seen as a sign of progress that the corporations now feel it necessary to put out this sort of greenwash, but then, the world governments felt it necessary to jump into bed with the Make Poverty History campaign in order to water it down and eventually nothing was done.

The corporations are worried and that's why we are seeing this change in their advertising. The trouble with all this is that people may believe something substantive is actually happening a la Make Poverty History. Activists won't be fooled by this greenwash bullshit but quite a few people might be so people have to keep the pressure up. As is pointed out in the film 'The Corporation', it is not the job of companies to decide what is socially responsible behaviour. That is everyone's job, and if we don't like them, we should tell them

At the least, email them and see what lies they send back to you....

Shell UK

You should also look at and
posted by michael the tubthumper @ 3:39 pm  
  • At 7:52 pm, Blogger Nölff said…

    That logo is B.A. That stands for bad ass.

  • At 7:55 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    lots of things like that at
    art not oil

  • At 5:08 am, Blogger GraemeAnfinson said…

    Just think, corporations were started with public interest in mind, not stockholders. Now a corporation has more rights than we do.

  • At 7:36 pm, Blogger Neil Shakespeare said…

    That movie's been playing on IFC so I've seen it a couple of times recently. Highly enlightening. I didn't realize how unwittingly the world had created that monster. The fringe is getting smaller! They've driven us all up here on the Net!

  • At 1:06 pm, Blogger Cinnamon Doughnut said…

    Saw the BP ad yesterday, and felt physically sick. I'd like them a lot more if they actually showed footage of the oil spill. 'Yes we're money-grabbing bastards, but you need us, bitch.' - that sort of thing. Gotta appreciate the honesty.

  • At 1:13 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    honesty in advertising. it's a novel concept

  • At 4:50 pm, Blogger Drew said…

    Great article, Michael. I blogged about "BP"'s dishonest green propaganda campaign a while back myself, but I didn't do near the amount of homework on it that you did. Good job!

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What is Tubthumping and who is doing it?

Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
See my complete profile

Thumping The Tub Video

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I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc

  • Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition
  • This was a REAL song from World War 2. I was so stunned by it I had to make a movie

  • How Far Is It From Here to Nuremberg
  • This is my attempt at a video for the excellent, if worrying, David Rovics (see links) song

  • What You Like
  • I believe the word for this is "splenetic". Only 20 seconds long.

  • Imperial Measures
  • What is going on in Iraq? Some things you knew, some you didn't. A couple of bits of info are out of date now.

  • Wish You Were Here
  • Wish You Were Here is a 6 minute film about the unprecendted rate of animal extinction we are currently experiencing

  • Gorillas and us
  • I don't like creationism, neither did Douglas Adams

    Recent Thumping
    Older Thumping

  • spinwatch
  • adbusters
  • internet archive
  • art not oil
  • blairwatch
  • bushflash
  • camcorder guerillas
  • corporate watch
  • campaign for press freedom
  • noam chomsky
  • common dreams
  • counterpunch
  • cost of war
  • david rovics
  • democracy now
  • dissident voice
  • the dossier
  • downing street says
  • etims
  • robert fisk
  • food not bombs
  • global research
  • gmwatch
  • impeach blair
  • indybay video
  • killing hope
  • lobbywatch
  • mediachannel
  • medialens
  • mickey z
  • mixed up records
  • george monbiot
  • mark thomas
  • john pilger
  • radio 4 all
  • schnews
  • snow shoe films
  • sourcewatch
  • tom englehardt
  • ukwatch
  • video activist network
  • howard zinn
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    some of the blogs I look at
    Arse of the month

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    The inaugural 'Arse of the month' award goes to our very own Scottish First Minister Jack (Joke) McConnell. He seems to spend a lot of his time sucking up to english politicians and yet it appears they don't even know his name. Follow the link to see..

    It's All Gone Scottish

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    A list of some other Scottish sites and blogs most of which, if not all, are pro-independence. I don't agree with content on all of them obviously. Some are Scots at home, others abroad.

  • The Scottish Patient
  • Kim Ayres
  • Our Scotland
  • average tosser
  • 1820
  • big stick small carrot
  • J. Arthur MacNumpty
  • World of Jack McConnell
  • The Firefox Chronicles
  • Independence 1st
  • Radio Free Scotland
  • Scots and independent
  • Scottish Independence Guide
  • Small Nation
  • Inveresk Street Ingrate
  • Radical Glasgow
  • Want to Swot?

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    If you like this site and think it is time to start getting informed here are a few real favourites of mine that will help you blow away the corporate and government propaganda you are constantly bombarded with. It is added to every so often.

  • politics and the english language
  • Beyond Hope
  • the gore exception
  • your tax dollars at work
  • a cultural chernobyl
  • choose life (not trainspotting)
  • shooting an elephant
  • a war crime within a war crime...
  • the menace of liberal scholarship
  • the modern era of law
  • naming the problem
  • the four ages of sand
  • a news revolution has begun
  • come september
  • money is the cause of poverty
  • countering corporate power
  • Other Stuff

    Who links to me?

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