Colorful Commentary

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/colorful-commentary_04.html
Did you ever notice how colors evolve? I’m not talking about identity crises like orange getting a shade lighter and suddenly calling itself “Burnt Sienna.” I’m talking about an evolution of meaning, a whole paradigm shift in how we interpret colors.

Now, I’m no expert (not on colors, anyway), so I don’t want to get into the whole interior decorating/design aspect, where all the sudden we have a bushy-haired woman in reading glasses on a string around her neck standing in our living telling us not to paint the wall red because it’s too “emotionally charged” next to the “traditional peacefulness” of the olive-green couch.

No no no no no. What I’m talking about is perception; more accurately, auditory perception of colors. What comes to mind when something is described as pink? How should you feel if someone calls you blue, or yellow? Why isn’t it easy being green?

In fact, let’s start with that: green. I remember a time when I was a kid when green was grass, woods, soccer pitches, baseball infields and outfields. Then I grew up and experienced my first election as someone who actually understood not necessarily the specifics but at least what an election was and what it meant to win, and all of the sudden green became a joke. If Ross Perot was our third choice for people to be in charge of the country, and Ralph Nader and the Green Party was behind him, then how could green not become synonymous with jest?

Then four years later, there it was again. Only this time, Nader was third place and green was getting a little more serious.

2007, though, was a big year in the evolution of green. It really stepped up its act this year, making appearances on all kinds of TV shows and networks, getting buddy-buddy with Al Gore, which would not have been cool except for the amazing concert he put on in summer with hundreds of awesome bands all over the world. Yeah, green has really improved its image this year. It’s gotten hip, trendy, the couleur du jour, if you will. And all this simply because green is associated with saving the earth.

Well, I’ve never been a great fan of green. I think it’s greedy, it’s envious, it’s even kind of shallow sometimes. And that’s why I think blue is getting a bum rap.

Think about it. The earth’s surface is made up of about 70% water. So, if you were to look at a topographic map of the world, more than two thirds of it would be blue. You see what I mean about green stealing blue’s thunder? Blue should be enjoying some time in the limelight, shmoozing with rock stars, hanging with Gore, the poster child for "Saving the Planet." Blue should not have to deal with this tired old stigma of blue meaning sad and depressed.

Blue is happening, blue is alive, and blue is ready to bust out onto the world's stage. Except green is in the way, like a conniving little brother who always asks for help with school projects and then takes all of the credit for them.

Green. What a jerk.
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