7.02.2006

The Mark of Gore-o

The credits told me to tell all of my friends and family to see this movie. I always follow orders when a screen instructs me to do something.

Last night I took in Al Gore’s flashy new campaign video, An Inconvenient Truth. Viewers be warned: this movie can be confusing if you’re not paying close attention. As the title indicates, the movie focuses on an inconvenient truth, meaning that it is one of several truths in the world which may cause you inconvenience. There are several points in the movie when it appears that the most important of these truths is that George Bush claimed Florida’s electoral votes and became president. In these moments, one can’t help but feel that Al still feels that the Supreme Court’s hiring decision back in 2000 totally inconvenienced him. Such moments do pass; however, and it becomes evident that the primary truth in question is about earthly warmness. Once that truth misunderstanding is out of the way, look out. You are in for 98 minutes of an indefatigable firebrand preaching to choirs the world over, telling rapt sympathetic audiences of the impending cataclysm and how he invented the ecosystem. In fact, when not being presented with tableaux of global warming's destruction, we are met with one unassailable fact: Al Gore lost in 2000 not because of his inability to distinguish himself personally or politically or because Bush stole the election. No, Gore lost because the small screen on which he campaigned and debated was too small to convey his charismatic swashbuckling gravitas. It is no longer a mystery to me why Gore was called the Tyrone Power of Environmental Politics. The only difference between Gore and such chivalrous heroes of the Golden Age of Cinema, is that, instead of a scabbard at his side, Al fights evil with a iBook slideshow.

In all seriousness, once I got past my initial poster peeve* I thought it was a good film, basically a concise lecture from Environmental Apocalypse 101. Trouble is that, like, say, anything with Michael Moore's name at the top, I can't imagine this reaching the audience it needs to. The one thing that gives me a wee bit of hope is that Gore is taking a page from The Book of Rove and trying to undertake some interesting positioning. A number of times in the course of his lecture (and that's basically what this movie is), he refers to climate change as "a moral issue." Now, he unfortunately confounds "moral" and "ethical" which belies the fact that the Conservative strategy of incessant repetition is in the hands of a novice, but he's on the right track.

If real change is going to take place with regard to American consumption and pollution it's going to have to emerge from a realignment of political alliances. One catalyst of that shift has to be the idea that humans are not merely transforming the earth through our actions, but that we are destroying Creation. This is not an original thought by me. I was delighted to read a few months back that Rick Santorum, junior douche bag from the Great State of Pennsylvania, was assailed in absentia by environmental evangelicals at a screening of The Great Warming at Messiah College (sadly not one of the schools I considered for undergrad). Saying that I’m optimistic is a stretch, but it’s at least a flicker of hope.

*Nerdy Gripe Note: Below is the poster for An Inconvenient Truth. I think that the design is extremely effective, but I was confused by one thing.


You'll notice that the hurricane features clockwise circulation. This struck me as odd. Clockwise circulation is the hallmark of low-pressure systems which form in the Southern Hemisphere, as opposed to the counter-clockwise systems in the Northern Hemisphere. Considering that the target audience and the bulk of distribution for the film is in the North, as are the most culpable polluters, why choose a Southern storm? I haven't tried to get this question answered. It's possible that they used the image of an anomalous storm which hit Brazil and has been attributed to global warming. That'd be an acceptable rationale. In any case, I was stopped in my tracks when I first saw this poster's layout, as I'm sure you were too.

8 Comments:

At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Shannon said...

I think I might be slightly ashamed to say that the poster of An Inconvenient Truth bothered me as well, although I couldn't put my finger on why.

 
At 6:06 AM, Anonymous Rev Transit said...

The two of you are hopeless nerds. You'll never be cured, as inconvenient a truth as that might be.

 
At 7:43 AM, Blogger evandebacle said...

Shannon, I am so proud of you right now.

 
At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Rev Transit said...

I'm not.

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous shannon said...

Perhaps, Rev, we don't WANT to be cured! How's THAT for truth? Huh? Huh? Perhaps I shall subject your gluteous maximus to a demonstration of Newton's third law using my foot to initiate the reaction.

 
At 6:41 AM, Blogger OrangeMoJoJo said...

We saw Superman over the weekend, which was a really good movie off the bat because Margot Kidder was NOWHERE In the film. Like By Gore-y!'s movie, Superman's also sparked alot of debate and Webbernet conversation. One alert Chicagoist reader, known only as NSH ("No Shit?!?! Huh!") believes Superman may have actually been the cause of global warming back in the late '70's when he spun the earth backwards:

http://www.chicagoist.com/archives/2006/06/27/why_the_world_needs_superman.php

 
At 7:42 AM, Blogger evandebacle said...

Jojo - the commenter makes an interesting point. While a sharp reversal in the earth's rotation may not change the concentration or composition of pollutants in the atmosphere, it would change their movement and distribution. It may also drastically disrupt ocean currents which would wreak havoc on climate. Further, a reversal in rotation would cause a similar reversal of the Coriolis Force which would, you guessed it, clear up my poster peeve.

Thank you for bringing this important finding to light. I think we finally have the kind of scientific proof for climate change that will satisfy the rigorous standards of the Bush administration.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Butternugget said...

I want to cough the word "dorks" under my breath but the kettle can't call the pot black.

 

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