Saturday, June 03, 2006


Automobiles. Electricity. Indoor plumbing. Private ownership of property. Steady employment. Food. Americans have selfishly enjoyed such extravagances for decades, and the environment has suffered for it. Now, Mother Nature is beginning to strike back. Powerful hurricanes descend on the tranquil Gulf Coast region every year, so numerous that we have run out of names for them. The glaciers have retreated from Mount Kilauea, backing over scores of poor, inner city Blacks on the way out. Drought sweep across the land, and entire crops of glaucoma medication vanish from my porch overnight. We are facing what could very well be the end of civilization in our lifetime, and the blame belongs to America’s selfish insistence on remaining an industrialized nation.

That’s the “inconvenient truth” that Al Gore tries to awaken us to in his monumental new film. A triumph at Cannes even without any gay sex scenes, An Inconvenient Truth features a colorful ensemble of A-list climatologists and environmental experts, their weighty words and elaborate costumes lending credibility to what would otherwise be blown off as just another bearded lady in the circus sideshow of Al Gore’s mind. However, it is Al Gore himself who steals the show as the reluctant hero who would save humanity from its own greedy excesses, even as he fights his own personal demons. Fitted with a pair of recycled aluminum claws, Gore slashes his way through the veil of right-wing lies and exposes the world to the hard, inconvenient truth they’ve ignored for far too long. Where was this Al Gore during the 2000 presidential debates? Where was he during the entire election? No matter. The same Al Gore whose rugged outdoorsy machismo and pressed flannel shirts won the hearts of butch lesbians everywhere has returned…and with a vengeance.

The inconvenient truth of Gore’s film is also an undeniable one. If we are to save the planet for future generations, we must sacrifice a few of the guilty pleasures we’ve grown so accustomed to over the years - such as eating regularly and crapping indoors. Most importantly, we must end once and for all our unhealthy obsession with the internal combustion engine. It’s high time for we as a society to squeeze our obese behinds out of our gas-guzzling, smog-belching SUVs and learn to use other alternatives, such as those funny things on the ends of our legs. By “we”, Gore of course means “YOU”, for we simply can’t have the once and future President walking around to all his lucrative speaking engagements like a common peasant.

Enlightened nations like China and France have already become signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, but the United States has yet to answer to the UN for the unforgivable sin of prosperity. To prevent an environmental apocalypse, Al Gore inists that we must. But it won’t happen as long as there is a Republican in the White House, waging endless wars and handing out tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. Unless we surrender ourselves completely to our benevolent progressive leaders and reject the right-wing's use of fear as a means to control us, civilization as we know it will cease to exist.