May 26, 2006

A Leader for Our Times: Al Gore

The new Al Gore documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, got a great review from the NY Times. And they've given his new book, also called An Inconvenient Truth, a strongly positive review noting that

Fourteen years ago, during the 1992 campaign, the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, dismissed Mr. Gore as "Ozone Man" — if the Clinton-Gore ticket were elected, he suggested, "we'll be up to our neck in owls and out of work for every American"...

No wonder Al Gore joked about attacking glaciers (after having solved the Global Warming problem as President) and a surfeit of gasoline (19 cents a gallon) when he opened Saturday Nite Live the other week. Gee, it should would be a real problem to be up to our neck in owls - because it's obvious after the last 6 years of Bush, we don't need owls to put Americans out of work.

Michiko Kakutani of the NY Times believes that Gore's message pitched to arouse but not panic people could be very effective.

For the most part, however, Mr. Gore's stripped-down narrative emphasizes facts over emotion, common sense over portentous predictions — an approach that proves considerably more persuasive than the more alarmist one assumed, say, by Tim Flannery in "The Weather Makers." Mr. Gore shows why environmental health and a healthy economy do not constitute mutually exclusive choices, and he enumerates practical steps that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions to a point below 1970's levels.

Our country has been torn apart by demagogues rallying people by appealing to our most selfish and nonrational emotions: fear of the other and hatred of those who we believe either displaced us or are so different from us that they have lost their claim to humanity. How incredibly refreshing to have a leader speak to the rational mind: here is real danger we must face, but we have the capacity to face it without resorting to creating scapegoats of others.

One thing Al Gore persists in saying is that it is not too late to mitigate the problem. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons that Al Gore is a great leader - he clearly acknowledges the danger and the problems, but is very credible when he tells us we can do something about the problem. He knows that global warming is so daunting that too many people already have given up hope that we can make a difference. Nevertheless, Gore says we can and we must make a difference.

An Inconvenient Truth is one of the most realistic documentaries I’ve ever seen—and, dry as it is, one of the most devastating in its implications. See it with your kids—and watch closely to see who attacks it and on what grounds. I differ with Gore only on his optimism. “Political will is a renewable resource,” he says. There’s no accounting for people’s nutty faith.— Reviewed by David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Indeed Al Gore knows that we absolutely can do something about the problem. All it takes is for each of us to do our part and to demand that our governments do the same.

Posted by Mary at May 26, 2006 01:59 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |

Ah yes, solving world hunger: "Let them eat owls!"

The press is getting its hatchets sharpened early, and with the polls the way they are, maybe this time the brainwash job won't take as well.

Posted by: Scorpio at May 26, 2006 08:12 AM

Gore has already admitted that he is overstating the case in order to panic people. He fails to note that the professor who inspired him to look at global warming has since backed off his predictions.

It is not leadership to tell people that they have to sacrifice while you fly around the world on your private jet and drive 500 meters to events at Cannes. It is hypocrisy.

Gore was and always will be an idiot and we are lucky he never became President.

Posted by: Miguel at May 26, 2006 11:36 AM

Miguel is and always has been a liar and a moron.

Oh damn it. What is it with people like Miguel. Al Gore is far more qualified to serve as President than George W Bush, his dad and Reagan put together. Miguel plays politics like a football game: his side must win even if it means violating codes of honor, even if it means these crooks Miguel votes into office bring us shame and destruction.

Up yours, Miguel. You're a disgrace.

Posted by: Wells at May 27, 2006 09:53 PM

Al Gore has been ahead of his times with the
internet, global warming and now TV.

From a keynote speech of his, he had this
to say on the nature of TV:

"And yet, as we meet here this morning, more
than 40 years have passed since the majority
of Americans received their news and information
from the printed word. Newspapers are hemorrhaging readers and, for the most part, resisting the temptation to inflate their circulation numbers. Reading itself is in sharp decline, not only in our country but in most of the world. The Republic of Letters has been invaded and occupied by television."

"... but it is television that still completely
dominates the flow of information in modern America. In fact, according to an authoritative global study, Americans now watch television an average of four hours and 28 minutes every day -- 90 minutes more than the world average."

"But in spite of these developments, it is television delivered over cable and satellite that will continue for the remainder of this decade and probably the next to be the dominant medium of communication in America's democracy. And so long as that is the case, I truly
believe that America's democracy is at grave risk."

For more on how television effects the brain
and society.

Posted by: Terry at May 29, 2006 11:41 AM