All Gore, All The Time

There’s a professional wrestler named Rhino (or sometimes Rhyno) whose finishing move is the dreaded “gore”. You know he’s about the deliver the move when he retreats to a corner of the ring and sinks into his 3-point stance. The crowd responds by chanting, “Gore! Gore! Gore!”

Methinks Rhino may have to retire the move soon, if the former future President continues his meteoric rise to the pinnacle post-political stardom. (And descends again, as I predict, to seek the highest office in, perhaps, the world.)

I saw the movie last night. I am a scientist, but I’m not a climatologist, so I cannot authenticate the details of Gore’s theses on global warming. Having followed the issues for a few years, though, I can say that most of what he talks about has, in fact, been vetted in the crucible of peer-reviewed science, which is usually good enough for me.

I am an epidemiologist, however, with some experience in outbreak origin work. So Gore’s suggestion that the emergence of new diseases, specifically Ebola and Avian Flu, are due to global warming strikes me as a bit odd. Though, I suspect he’s talking more about how global warming increases desertification and flooding, reduced arable land, moves large numbers of people into marginalised areas… and thus will increase their probability of encroaching upon previously unsettled (and largely unsettlable) lands, many of which are the breeding grounds of new and terrible diseases; this might be how Ebola came about, for example, with marginalised people beign forced into close association with previously isolated disease vectors.

But no matter. Despite appearances, the movie is not about global warming. It’s about Al Gore. It talks about his youth as a tobacco farmer, almost losing his son, and the death of his sister. It makes sure to flame Bush and the neocons at every turn, but rarely puts those criticisms in Gore’s own mouth. It touches upon his loss in 2000, making sure to include the quote about him not agreeing with the Supreme Court’s decision. This is clearly a campaign video, especially given the inclusion of the latter, which makes sure to send the message that Al Gore didn’t give up in 2000, he conceded for the good of the country, or some such.

An Inconvenient Truth is Gore’s Profiles In Courage, a pre-Presidential intellectual product (also likely written by committee) designed not only to push a policy item, but also to re-position its ostensible author as an intelligent and moral leader.

Combined with Gore’s recent Tonight Show appearance, in which he was brandishing one-liners which were clearly prepared by a comedy writing team, the movie sends one message that is clear, at least to me: the man is running for office in 2008.

Other Matters

Meanwhile, Harald sends us this story about yet another Nobel laureate laying into the Shrub. There’s a strong trend I’m noticing: the smarter the person, the more intense his hatred for the Bush II regime.

Hot off the presses…. the debate to end all debates…. the battle of armchair critics… the one blowhard vs blowhard argument I’ve been itching to see for years is finally going to happen this coming Thursday in Manhattan. In fact, I’m trying to figure out if I can rationalize taking a day off work to fly down just to see this: Eric Margolis vs Christopher Hitchens! The debate will take place after a screening of the new film, American Zeitgeist. If any of you is in New York, please go see this debate and report back to me!
Bye for now.