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June 2, 2006

A Global Warning

Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore's global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (IMDB), Finally hits Washington, DC, today, and the Washington Post offers an interview with Gore and Guggenheim in addition to a positive review from Desson Thomson. Both the interview and the review are interesting reading, in part because they so clearly negotiate the narrative of Gore the Politician (stiff, boring, you know the drill) with Gore the Global Warming Guru (compelling, humorous).

Eric Alterman, perhaps better than anyone, has documented how unfairly Gore was treated during his run for president in 2000, citing instances in which the press openly jeered Gore during his primary run against Bill Bradley. Alterman also quotes Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank who observes that "Gore is sanctimonious, and that's sort of the worst thing you can be in the eyes of the press. And he has been disliked all along, and it was because he gives a sense that he's better than us--he's better than everybody, for that matter, but the sense that he's better than us as reporters."

This narrative presists in semi-hostile "reviews," such as Gregg Easterbrook's Slate article, in which Easterbrook can't resist reviving all the tired jokes from the 2000 election (thankfully Media Matters takes Easterbrook to task). Essentially, Easterbrook implies that the film's cinematography isn't exciting enough (read: Gore is dull) and that Gore, in a documentary about global warming, comes off as too informative (read: Gore is sanctimonious). Easterbrook also tries to suggest that Gore overstates the effects of global warming (read: Gore the liar/exaggerator), when as MM points out, it's Easterbrook who has a history of downplaying the effects of global warming.

Of course it's impossible to separate Gore's film his reputation as a politician, but I'm intrigued by these competing narratives and how they're shaping the discussion of the film and the topic of global warming. I'm seeing the film tonight, so I'll have a review up asap.

Posted by chuck at June 2, 2006 9:20 AM

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