“The problem with Mr. Gore, if it is a problem, is simply that he’s always been so good at whatever he did, so ambitious, so competitive, so sure of himself, that his presence sometimes makes lesser mortals feel, well, lesser. “
So wrote, Michael Kelly, BushCo’s most celebrated piece of roadkill, back in 1987. It’s central to this country’s rich anti-intellectual tradition — a legacy of ignorance to counter the likes of Poe, Melville, James, Twain, Whitman and that other Gore.
As Jack Schafer noted in his tribute to the pompous dupe —
“[Kelly] repeatedly tore into Vice President Al Gore, [New Republic publisher Marty] Peretz’s best pal, with a bellicosity that defied logic—or at least the standards of polite journalism as it is practiced in Washington. Gore, a very different kind of D.C. homeboy, enraged Kelly. He found the veep phony, empty, and corrupt. After less than a year, Peretz fired him. Even before Kelly died, finding a writer who would speak ill of him was almost impossible.”
(Yoo-Hoo, Jack — over here!)
What’s really almost impossible to find is anyone in the “mainstream” media with a good word to say about Al Gore. Who can forget the Atlantic Monthy cover depicting the former Vice President with vampire fangs, for a story by James Fallows calling him “a combatant who will do whatever it takes to win, and who wins ugly.”
Unlike President Low Normal who has swanned his way through politics with all the grace and charm of Brian Ahern, right? Sure he’s at 32% and falling, but in Beltwayland never is heard a discouraging word, when a world-weary sigh from Brit Hume will do.
I’m bracing for the Tsunami of bile that’s sure to hit when An Inconvenient Truth opens theatrically on May 24. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, it’s an illustrated lecture by Al Gore (half Godard, half Guy Debord, with a touch of the old “Bell Telephone Hour”) on global warming, designed to explain precisely what it is and why all should be concerned about it.
Note I say concerned rather than panicked. As Atrios says —
“I’m always a bit wary of Chicken Littles. I’ve written before about the tendency of many people of all ideologies to have an unhealthy obsession with their own personal belief in an inevitable impending End Times. Whether your favorite bringer of doom is the Rapture, environmental catastrophe, nuclear war, a cataclysmic economic event, plague, general breakdown of civil society, etc… depends in large part on your ideology. But whatever that ideology is, many people seem to have a strikingly sharp belief that the End Is Nigh unless people Understand The Truth They’re Preaching.”
But this is not the note that Al hits. The film shows him speaking to audiences with charts photographs and diagrams that explain in a calm clear voice precisely what global warming has done and what we can do to reverse it. For this is a topic of serious, thoughtful concern — not blind panic delivered in the hectoring style of the hustlers who have taken over PBS (ie. Suze Ormond) or the sob-sister histrionics of Oprah.
You can read all about it at this link right HERE.. And if you go to today’s Salon you can learn why “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” may end up as Hemingway title without meaning in 15 years.
An Inconvient Truth doesn’t present a “balanced view” — meaning the facts plus a refusal to believe them. That’s the balliwick of the writer-director of the worst motion picture ever made — whose name never crosses Al’s lips. Giving the floor to such charlatans is the job of lower life-forms like John Stossel:
“Crichton agrees the Earth is getting warmer. But he says there is little to worry about because the climate is always changing and there is no evidence to determine if the changes are manmade or natural. In fact he says, climate scientists admit they can’t predict what temperatures will be in 100 years.
“My view of this is that the media is like the guy going down the street with a sign that says ‘The End of the World is Near,’ and he picks a date and the day comes and goes, and the world doesn’t end. So he doesn’t stop with the sign. He goes home, makes another sign, puts a new date on it, and starts marching again. That’s the way the media is,” Crichton said.
He argues that researchers who study global warming often exaggerate the problem in order to get grants, often using celebrities to promote their cause.
By taking on global warming, Crichton hopes to ease some people’s worries.”
No need to mention who “some people” are.
How amusing to hear of Crichton trying to allay our fears. Only a few years ago in Rising Sun he was ladling blatantly racist hysteria on with a trowel, as he detailed how the Japanese were going to take over and rule us all.
And we all know how that went don’t we Crichton-san.
As to why we non-BushCo types should pay Looker-loo heed, Stossel notes
“The tall and handsome Crichton — he was once named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” — is a bit of a reluctant celebrity. “I don’t really like to be in public at all. I get nervous. I sweat. My face gets red. I get flushed. I’m just not a public person, if I can help it. I mean I would never, ever appear in public if I could help it,” he said.”
Tell it to Angeline Jolie!
Al Gore is neither as tall nor as comely as Crichton. But no one should have any reason to be ashamed to be seen with him anywhere. In fact there’s a growing hunger to see Al somewhere.
Like the Oval Office for instance.
Jane Hamsher insists that’s indeed where he’s headed. I suspect Al would deny it — at least in the short run. Lord knows he’s paid his dues and been put throught the mill. An Inconvient Truth revists the 2000 electoral debacle. But it also deals with family tragedy (his sister’s death from lung cancer, his son’s automobile accident) and a life of freely acknowledged privilege.
What sticks in his enemies’ craw is the notion of someone of privilege considering acts unrelated to class interest. That’s really too much for the Joe Klein’s and Mickey Kaus’ to take. They’re out to kill him.
And I’m not speaking metaphorically.
That’s one of the many reasons why the rest of us — sentient beings with spinal columns — should pay attention to Al Gore in whatever context he chooses to appear.
Call us anytime, Al.
We’ll pick up.