So Said Tony Hayward
A music video featuring imagery dredged from the internet, based on a song I wrote in July 2010. It’s a tango about the BP oil spill and its disastrous impacts on the environment. Watch video »
William Carroll, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria (email@example.com) — September 9, 2010.
“So said Tony Hayward” is a music video featuring imagery dredged from the internet, based on a song I wrote in July 2010. It’s a tango about the BP oil spill (Apil 20-July 15, 2010) and its disastrous impacts, focused around the story of BP CEO Tony Hayward’s hapless efforts to spin and manage a massive, and televisually spectacular, environmental catastrophe. It’s a mediation on neoliberal capitalism’s indifference toward human lives and ecological health. “You know, I’d like my life back.”
So said Tony Hayward before taking to his yacht for some R&R in the midst of the crisis – personifying the ethically rudderless professionalism of the executive suite. By chance, on April 22, 2010, the same day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig ceased burning and went to bottom, the Peoples’ Conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia, reached an historic People’s Accord – a ‘Manifesto for Mother Earth’ and ‘a clear anti-capitalist analysis reinforced by a sketch of an alternative life-centered, democratic world’ (Turner 2010). The music video trades on this coincidence to shift from a somber and occasionally satirical account of the disaster to a hopeful conclusion.
I think of this production as an socio-poetic initiative in public sociology: advancing an accessible, hopefully engaging analysis within an artistic medium – as a way of provoking reflection and discussion in various movements and publics. I hope activists and educators will find it useful in classrooms, meetings and other contexts. The YouTube version is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=4li0MzzRXMU.
A good source of information and insight on the Deepwater Horizon disaster and its aftermath is the series of articles by Kate Sheppard and Mac McClelland in Mother Jones (April 2010 until present). On the Peoples’ Conference in Cochabamba see Ian Angus’s “Cochabamba: Climate Justice Has a New Program and New Hope for Victory“ (The Bullet No. 347, 29 April 2010), part of which I have paraphrased in the lyric. Terisa E. Turner’s ‘From Cochabamba, A New Internationale and Manifesto for Mother Earth’, a more in-depth treatment, will appear later this year in Capitalism Nature Socialism.
- “BP CEO Tony Hayward says he’s really motivated. He really wants to get this disastrous oil leak in the Gulf Coast plugged. After all, that’s the only way he’s going to get his life back. Tony Hayward announced over the weekend that while he’s ‘sorry for the massive disruption’ the oil spill has caused, ‘there’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do.’ ‘Y’know, I’d like my life back,’ he said.” TPM Livewire, 31 May 2010, accessed 20 July 2010.
- “Tony Hayward, the beleaguered chief executive of oil giant BP, has claimed the company’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is ‘relatively tiny’ compared with the ‘very big ocean’.” Guardian 14 May 2010, accessed 20 July 2010.
- On Wednesday, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told reporters in Washington: “I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people.” 16 June 2010. Yahoo news accessed 20 July 2010.
- These lines paraphrased from Ian Angus, “Cochabamba: Climate Justice Has a New Program and New Hope for Victory,” The Bullet No. 347, 29 April 2010.