Today* is the day…No doubt you’ve had January 25, 2016 marked on your calendar this last decade, waiting for al-Gore’s shining prediction at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, which actually began with one of his books in 1996. [I forget which one now, but I remember him saying we’d have to learn to get along without the internal combustion engine. And from then on he walked everywhere (small lie in aid of his larger truthiness)].
*[This post was started on the 25th, hours before the final bell. But somehow I kept writing and updating but Word Press closed abruptly, pinching my fingers…and zap! here we are at Anniversary +1. So we’ll make like al- and pretend. Don’t you wonder how he’s spending -spent – that auspicious day?]
Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” slide show was a real blockbuster back then in 2006; he was grabbing the world by the lapels to tell everyone time was running out. In ten years the droughts, floods, famines, etc., ad infinitum et nauseam, would be upon us. And all over us. The hole that was The World Trade Center would be under water.
He and his apocalypse were the humble stars of The Sundance Festival in 2006…
But what else are you gonna do when you get the presidency stolen right from under you by a dumb Texas cowboy – the all-hat-no-cattle George W. Bush, low-down election thief? You can’t stay crying in the boys’ bathroom forever.
Here’s how Al re-invented himself – though I will say this ecological alarmism had been a feature since his undergraduate days. But now he’d got a best-selling ecopocalypse on the book charts from that small germ of a worry dating back to Harvard.
So ten years after the first book, he’s a star at the Sundance Film Festival, as reported by The Washington Post, written in that special WaPo style found in its “Style” section (or maybe that’s changed since Mr Bezos purchased the paper):
Al Gore, Sundance’s Leading Man
By William Booth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 26, 2006
PARK CITY, Utah — Has ever a little indie film faced a greater hurdle? Imagine this sales pitch: Babe, it’s a movie about global warming. Starring Al Gore. Doing a slide show.
About “soil evaporation.”
Improbable? Perhaps. So it’s all the more amazing that “An Inconvenient Truth” had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday night before an enthusiastic audience that gave the former vice president and his movie a big standing O.
Among the film’s lessons: Earth’s glaciers are melting, the polar bears are screwed[note to 2016: the polar bear population has increased considerably], each year sets new heat records. Al Gore sometimes flies coach. He also schleps his own bags.(that’s what I mean by WaPo’s too-precious “Style” section -D)
The morning after his debut as leading man, Gore pronounces this whole Sundance thing “a most excellent time.” He is wearing earth tones again. He seems jolly. He brought Tipper and the kids. He is attending parties and posing for pictures with his fans and enjoying macaroni and cheese at the Discovery Channel soiree. He’s palling around with Larry David of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” who says, “Al is a funny guy.” But he is also a very serious guy who believes humans may have only 10 years left to save the planet from turning into a total frying pan.
The core of the film is a one-man, ever-evolving multimedia slide show that Gore assembled himself. A little-known fact: Since his defeat by George W. Bush in 2000, Gore has traveled the globe with his bar graphs, staging event after event for small, invited audiences. Free of charge. And he’s presented one version or another of this slide show, by his own estimation, a thousand times.
The official Sundance Film Festival guide calls the documentary a “gripping story” with “a visually mesmerizing presentation” that is “activist cinema at its very best.”
In the film, Gore presents the latest evidence to demonstrate how the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other pollutants of the industrial age are increasing temperatures. In addition to timelines and bell curves and stuff about oxygen isotopes in Greenland ice cores, Gore includes several cartoons, one featuring a Mister Sunbeam trapped by the bullies known as Greenhouse Gases.
Gore argues — with scientific evidence projected on big screens at his back — that global warming may soon lead to catastrophic sea level rises, which could inundate cities such as New York (flooding the former site of the World Trade Center), producing scary nonlinear runaway spasms of extreme weather (bigger, badder hurricanes and typhoons), global pandemics and, depending on where you live, torrential rains or decade-long drought. It is not a pretty picture.
There is much more of the same at the link from ten years ago. The reportage ends with:
“This isn’t about box office,” David says. “None of us are going to make a dime.” What is at stake, she says, “is, you know, the planet.”
[And if you believe that, I’ve got an iceberg to sell you…]
Some things don’t age well; this puff piece is one of them. In the end, or rather in 2016, both the ClimateHell story and the al-Gore life story had long since run aground, though he still has his admirers. Tipper is gone, some of his houses are gone. Sleaze stories abound.
The books are still there,
and a few others in the same apocalyptic vein and with the same food fights in the ‘reviews’.
But the world he swore would be much worse, with flooding in Manhattan, droughts and super-hurricanes? No, they didn’t happen; and that nor’easter this past weekend was within normal limits for weather. So yet again #ClimateHell has been deferred. Funny, he bought a mansion on the beach, did Al, while he swore erosion was inescapable. But then he did a lot of that – check out his dealings with Occidental Petroleum, work that bore lots of fruit and none of it ecologically sound, or so the stories report. A do-as-I-say kind of guy, methinks. And a very sad one.
Perhaps the worst of it was another Nobel Peace Prize wasted on another hollow man. In 2007, Gore shared The Peace Prize with the beloved IPCC. They beat out Irena Sendler. (She lost in 2006 and 2008, too. She died at the age of 98 in 2009 so they could finally cross her off the list.)
This woman was an authentic achiever and a real hero. She was a Polish Catholic nurse/social worker who quietly saved at least 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto before she was captured and tortured. Though she lived, those war years obviously took their toll: she married three times but never had any children. Without a doubt the PTSD from which she surely suffered – given her heart-stopping work in the Warsaw Ghetto – had a life-changing impact.
Since we’ve seen Al’s book(s), here’s one of several that have been written about Irena Sendler:
They also made a movie of her life The Courageous Heart. The title is taken from one of her awards, listed at the link below.
But Al-Gore, he got the Prize. And then he had to live with himself. By himself.
So which of the Gores got the ocean-front mansion? I do hope it’s not a glass house.