Sunday, August 06, 2017

In which we are urged to #BeInconvenient

Thanks to a freebie from the good people of Climate Hawks Vote, I had the chance yesterday to see Al Gore's latest movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

What I liked:
  • Gore uses himself as a model of persistence when despair might seem warranted. If this man, so proud yet so often humiliated, can keep at it, who are we to shrink from dedicated resistance to mass extinction?
  • Because I am not visually inclined, my apprehension of the effects of the modern human carbon dioxide burning spree leans toward the intellectual rather than toward visual images. This film filled me with pictures to haunt my nightmares. That's a good and necessary thing.
What I'm ambivalent about:
  • If the film has a policy message, it is that curbing climate catastrophe is going to have to include making peace, "cutting deals," with the industrial and fossil fuel magnates whose pursuit of profit got the planet into this fix. That's hard. It runs against the grain, for example, of the brave, spiritual, and inspirational resistance that native people led against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Or does it? This film doesn't help resolve that question. It's probably a necessary truth, but I don't think activists yet deal easily with attempts to elide how uncomfortable it is. Nor should we.
  • Gore. After having the presidency stolen from him by Republican Supremes, the guy has had a very good, socially useful, post-electoral career. But it remains hard to identify with someone who can call up heads of state and corporate poohbahs and trust he will get some kind of hearing.
The showing at the Embarcadero was preceded by an odd series of teasers, all carefully labeled "approved by the Motion Picture Association" as suitable for showing with Gore's film. Why someone took such care, I don't know. These all looked interesting: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World; Menashe about an ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Jewish community; and the forthcoming Whose Streets which documents Ferguson, MO after the shooting of Michael Brown.

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