Thursday, June 29, 2006

The administration that could have been

We went to see An Inconvenient Truth the other night, Al Gore’s film about global warming—or more specifically, the documentary about Gore’s ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the imminent ecological catastrophe posed by global warming. I was very interested to see this film, if for no other reason than for the press it has received well in advance of its release from the right-wing media.

Now, we all know that Gore is one of the Right’s favourite punching bags—you can practically hear them clapping their hands in glee every time he opens his mouth, and of course none of the vitriol they spew has to do with the substance of what he’s saying so much as to mock his woodenness, his lack of charisma and to generally throw the 2000 election in his face again. So we of course expect an escalated attack when he has the temerity to be in a film, and to talk about an environmental issue! And those expectations were not disappointed … based on what O’Reilly, Coulter, et al had to say, you’d think this film was a collaborative project between Michael Moore and Leni Riefenstahl after they’d smoked a pound of crack. Tucker Carlson called Gore a “zealot,” a “Bible-thumper” and a “wide-eyed religious nut” whose religion “is the environment” (always interesting to see the proponents of the far right using accusations of religious zealotry against progressives—check out Coulter’s new book); conservative think-tanker Sterling Burnett compared Gore to Goebbels; Glenn Beck went one further and compared him to Hitler; Ann Coulter called Gore “clinically insane”; and Chris Matthews says of the lecture series on which An Inconvenient Truth is based that it is a result of Gore having “lost it” after the 2000 election, that he became unhinged and embraced environmentalism—which ignores the fact that Gore has been an advocate for action on climate change since the mid-70s, when he was first elected to Congress.

So what of the film? As it turns out, it is an understated, intense and measured discussion of the basic tenets of the science behind climate change; it presents its case firmly and systematically, eschewing alarmist rhetoric in favour of considered arguments. Gore doing his lectures is relaxed, even funny at times; he radiates a sense of calm but impassioned purpose, he is articulate, and above all, his displays at once a deep intelligence and a willingness, an eagerness to learn and engage in discussion.

And I kept thinking to myself: why in the name of all that is good and holy is this man not the president???


kodak said...

I was one of 8 people in the theatre to see it one night last week. That itself gives one an idea of how people view a movie like this. But I also thought it was a fine film with great visuals and graphics to drive home the information we have been hearing for decades. For me, it was just as "dramatic" as 95% of major movie releases anyway. I also did a write-up on this in case you're interested. "An Inconvenient Truth: Not All Gore"

Lesley said...

You know, this movie is kind of like the other movies that come out that are panned by almost everyone but turn out to be really good movies in the end. I've been waiting to see it for a while, guess I'll just have to head out there to check it out.

And yes, I agree, why wasn't this man elected? Oh right...a reason I don't think I should really speak out loud...might get arrested or something...

andrew said...

i thought it was really good too, and i like that ebert said "In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to."

the only thing i didnt like was that he was vice president for the 8 years when global warming was beginning to escalate, but that wasnt focused on at all. seems like there should of been an explanation for why he couldn't do anything.

Joyce Schwarz said...

Hmmm I've just been wondering what someone from Newfoundland would think of this movie! I'm in Los Angeles --heading to Newfoundland for the project beginning June 17. When I saw the film in Marina Del Rey (near Venice Beach, CA) it was like 4 p.m. in the afternoon and the theatre was packed -- all ages -- people clapped, people stood and talked afterward and even the ladies chatted in the WC later! Amazing stuff. Thanks for your input and opinion., Joyce Schwarz

Anonymous said...

It is always adorable to see such nostalgia for the fictional regime of Bill Clinton's 'wooden'VP. thE Newfoundland sea air may do something for your sensibilities, perhaps make you aware that you can back your own version of Gore right here in Canada: the fatuous Stephan Dion