Washington Post film critic Desson Thomson respectfully endorsed Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" Friday, even if he saw it as more a movie about Gore's reinvention that the planet's doom. While he admitted the film was "hagiographic," Gore wasn't wooden, he claimed: "If all college courses had presentations this evocative and sophisticated, no universities would hurt for enrollment."
No, the real Post film critic going goo-goo for Gore was Michael O'Sullivan, who was granted an interview/shoeshine with Gore for the Post's Friday Weekend section:
I begin by reading aloud from an e-mail sent out by the office of Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in response to a letter from a concerned constituent (and film critic pal of mine), urging her senator to support "green" legislation.
"Thank you for contacting me regarding greenhouse emissions," Allen's message begins. "I appreciate your concerns and value your input on this important matter. Although the human contribution seems minimal, I'm glad . . . "
"Oh God," interrupts Gore, cutting the performance short with a weary sigh at yet another example of what he likes to call the "global warming deniers" -- people who may have come around to the acceptance of global warming as real, but who still cling to what he calls the "manifestly untrue" explanation that it's all, or mostly, the result of natural causes.
So, does a 58-year-old former U.S. vice president who's been trying to get the world to wake up to the threat of human-induced climate change ever since he first heard about rising carbon dioxide levels from one of his Harvard professors ever feel like he is butting his head up against a brick wall? "Just for 30 years," he says, with a laugh...
As far as Sen. Allen is concerned, Gore has this to say. "I think that, at some point, people like him who say these things that are manifestly absurd, when you actually look into them, will be confronted by their constituents, by their friends, by their family, by their ministers, by people they respect, who say to them in a quiet moment, 'By the way, you should know that what you're putting in this e-mail to your constituents is idiotic, and more and more people who read this may think you're an idiot.' "
Rather than just pointing fingers at others for not seeing the light as early as he did, though, Gore accepts a large degree of personal responsibility for not getting the word out better -- or earlier. "As I have said, I feel as if I've failed," he says, "and I feel as if . . . not being able to get this message across in a clear, more forceful way earlier has had consequences. It has put us at a higher risk."
...The issue of global warming, he believes, is no longer one of science, but has become, like the civil rights struggle did, one of morality. "This is being redefined as a choice between good and evil," Gore says unequivocally. As for his own role in the crusade, he describes himself less as a leader than as a simple "messenger." When it is pointed out just how, um, Christ-like that sounds, he demurs, hemming and hawing with an embarrassed laugh. "I'm sorry. I'm not intentionally trying to put myself in that....Puh-lease ."
So George Allen does not just sound like an idiot, but an evil idiot. Gore's filmmaker, Davis Guggenheim, who said he was first riveted by Gore's lecture at a Michael Milken event, but:
...[he] resists comparisons with Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," a film he says he hates for its dishonesty, despite loving its politics. Any "reasonable" person who sees his film will become "fired up," says Guggenheim, speaking with "100 percent certainty." Yet his interests are more personal than political. "If we keep on this path," he says, "my living room in Venice, California, will be under water. My living room's on the second floor."
The Post headline on all this was "Gore and Guggenheim: Speaking 'Truth' to Power." Hmm. I would like to headline it "Mudslinging Arrogance On Parade."