On Wednesday afternoon, a nightmarish video issued forth from the Twitter account of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an oversight committee responsible for well, regulating energy. As Brian Kahn, managing editor of Earther, clarified for me in a Slack message, FERC “has a huge sway on whether we burn to a crisp or not.”
The video is just four minutes of your time, and features Democratic Rep. Sean Casten—a self-described “climate nerd”—opening with a clumsy attempt to prove that the members of the House are not wizened dinosaurs.
“Madame Speaker,” Casten says from the House floor, “I’m sure you and your colleagues have heard of Hot Girl Summer and the broader Megan Thee Stallion ouevre. Well, I rise today to declare the start of Hot FERC Summer.”
Respectfully, Rep. Casten—what the fuck are you talking about and why?
Thankfully, Casten already anticipated this question: “Well, to paraphrase Miss Stallion, because now that FERC has ‘put in all that work, it’s time for them to be the MVP,’” Casten said, quoting Megan Thee Stallion’s 2019 single.
What follows is some light boilerplate about what FERC actually is and what they might be doing to ensure that the future my colleague Kahn predicts—that we all burn to a crisp—doesn’t come to pass. Since even reading the acronym “FERC” is enough to make one’s eyes glaze over, I see why Casten is reaching for pop culture references. FERC’s purpose is, as I said, largely regulatory, which is by far the most boring part of government. But it is the stuff that makes the few nice things we have remain so: If FERC didn’t exist, the ice caps probably melt much faster than they already are, for example. Though there is comfort in death’s inevitability, I imagine that most people on this planet are interested in living for as long as they’re able. What I’m saying is: We need FERC. We need FERC awareness. We may even need a FERC rebrand. But is this the way?
Casten’s five minutes on the House floor quoting Megan Thee Stallion were indeed alarming enough that he got my attention. This is partly because Sean Casten, doing a bit of cheek, made some intern print the art from “Hot Girl Summer” and cram “FERC” in there with some rudimentary Photoshop work. I will freely admit that it’s almost cringeworthy enough to be endearing.
During a Hot Girl Summer, you wear thongs as pants, expose the underside of your titties and pour tequila down the throats of your (consenting) friends on a Tuesday evening when there’s nothing better to do. It’s a vibe that is the direct opposite of FERC’s, which is staid and boring. Following this line of reasoning to its logical endpoint, the audacity embodied by Casten’s appropriation of a thot anthem for climate change is patently ridiculous, so much so that it crosses the line of propriety and circles back to embody the spirit of Hot Girl Summer. It’s a marvelous bit of mental gymnastics that somehow works? Tits out for saving the planet!