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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Funny, you don't look like Rachel Carson....

Just saw Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", and I have to ask whether this documentary might possibly be the Silent Spring of today. As a committed environmental skeptic and political cynic, I have to say that I was impressed and even motivated by this presentation to change both my views on global warming (if I ever had any) as well as my cultivated detachment from overt political activity.

The "crowds" were thin -- perhaps a dozen folks at the most -- but it was the early afternoon screening and hardly anyone was in the multiplex theater (which has eight screens). And it is probable that Gore's "slide show" (and accompanying book) is another example of a liberal "singing to the choir" -- especially here in Massachusetts....

As noted a couple of posts back, the gutsy essay by Jim Hansen got me into the theater, and sure enough the movie included a clip where then Senator Gore is browbeating Hansen in 1989 to get him to confess that the then Bush (41) Administration was determining the content of scientific reports. Luckily for us, the Hansens of the world are no longer accepting such repression from the current Bush (43) Administration; and as lucky, Gore has found an effective voice and platform for putting forward his message.

Randi came away from the movie even more upset with Gore for not pushing his 2000 presidential bid further, and it is increasingly clear that the Al Gore we see in Inconvenient Truth is a good deal more dynamic and interesting than the guy who ran for office back then.

It is interesting to speculate whether this docmentary will launch a new environmental reform movement, or if Gore will even come close to having the impact that Rachel Carson did in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Even more interesting is the speculation about whether this will re-launch Gore's political career as we approach the start of the long 2008 presidential race (but see contrasting view here). While Gore has responded that he has no interest in 2008, he does leave open the door to another run in most interviews (listen to Fresh Air interview). If that is one of the consequences of this slicked up slide show presentation, it would be interesting to see if he might run a presidential campsign based on the same polished, powerpoint-based -- but informal -- approach. Perhaps this is the new "fireside chat" format for the 21st century.

In any case, whether you like Al Gore or not, whether you are liberal or not, this is a must see movie.... Also, do visit

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