Friday, March 21, 2008

After watching Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, I'm now convinced the Americans voted the wrong man into White House.

Regardless of how you feel about Al Gore as a politician, this documentary is worth seeing because of the gravity of the issues discussed. Gore proves to be a worthy spokesman and his arguments are clear and concise at the beginning of the film. In other words, you do not need to be a scientist to understand what he is saying about the environment and the consequences of global warming. He is an effective communicator and good at explaining the problem in layperson's terms.

The problem with the film is, ironically, too much of Al Gore himself. Less than halfway through I began to ask myself "Is this a documentary about global warming or about Al Gore?" There is a shift from the message to the messenger; global warming fades into the background while Al moves to the front and center. While a brief personal portrait (family background, political career) could have enhanced the story, in this documentary the focus on Gore dilutes the film's central theme.

Towards the end, Gore's examples become slightly disjointed as he tries to "throw too much into the bag" (eg: overpopulation). I blame this more on the editing of the film than on his live presentations (people have criticized the movie as being "about a slideshow", but seeing the film made me want to attend one of Mr. Gore's presentations in person!). Thankfully, "An Inconvenient Truth" ends on a positive note. That alone makes this documentary recommended viewing.

Sample this gem of poetry: "You look at that river gently flowing by. You notice the leaves rustling with the wind. You hear the birds; you hear the tree frogs. In the distance you hear a cow. You feel the grass. The mud gives a little bit on the river bank. It's quiet; it's peaceful. And all of a sudden, it's a gear shift inside you. And it's like taking a deep breath and going, "Oh yeah, I forgot about this."

On the flip-side of the coin, sample these from Gore's nemesis:

1) "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005

2) "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." --to FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina debacle, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

3) "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

4) "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) --touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

5) "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" --in a note to to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a U.N. Security Council meeting, September 14, 2005

6) "Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled." --explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005

7) "I'm going to spend a lot of time on Social Security. I enjoy it. I enjoy taking on the issue. I guess, it's the mother in me." --Washington D.C., April 14, 2005

8) "This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table." --Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005

9) "I'm occasionally reading, I want you to know, in the second term." --Washington, D.C., March 16, 2005

10) "It's totally wiped out. ... It's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground." --turning to his aides while surveying Hurricane Katrina flood damage from Air Force One, Aug. 31, 2005

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