And That's The Truth
Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman is an old acquaintance, but from his perch there he's been a bit too political and preachy. Take his recent review of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.
A decade ago, when "An Inconvenient Truth" made its own splash at Sundance (and was picked up by Paramount, a deal that proved instrumental in turning it into a phenomenon), the film may have been "speaking truth to power," yet there was every reason to suspect that, like too many socially conscious Sundance documentaries, it could wind up preaching to the choir. But "An Inconvenient Truth" was that rare documentary that actually achieved what these movies always set out to do: It didn't just change hearts and minds--it shifted a paradigm. The movie presented Gore as a charming dweeb professor of dire environmental warning, but it did more than offer a message. It clanged the alarm bell and brought the news. It helped to free global warming from its pesky (and outdated) leftist underpinnings, establishing the issue as a mainstream concern in the same way that Occupy Wall Street would inject the meme of the one percent into the center of the middle-class culture.
Okay, it's a political movie, so a critic might want to discuss its politics, especially in the paragraph discussing the original Inconvenient Truth. But Owen isn't just biased, he's misinformed.
He claims that film changed hearts and minds but, more important, created a paradigm shift. (Isn't that the same thing?) Except it didn't. It's easy enough for anyone to check the Gallup polls on global warming through the years, but Gleiberman is too busy spreading the fantasies that certain people wish to believe.
Truth is, Americans have had no problem believing in climate change. According to Gallup, in 2000, 72% worried about it. The number went down to 51% by 2004. The number started rising at that point, going up to 66% by 2008. An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006, and there's no evidence it created a significant bump. The number went down again to 51% in 2011, but rose significantly in 2016 to 64%. For that matter, in 1998, 69% of Americans saw global warming as a serious threat. That percentage went steadily down until it hit 58% in 2008. It went up again, and then down again, and is presently at 57%.
It's not that people don't care about the issue. It's just that when they're told the fixes will cost trillions of dollars, or their jobs, that they start having second thoughts. (And, perhaps, after hearing apocalyptic threats for more than a generation, they're fatigued.) Unfortunately, through the years, the issue has become more politicized (despite what Gleiberman thinks was the Gore effect).
If the film turned Gore into a "charming dweeb professor," he must be pleased. In fact, he's not a scientist, but is a powerful politician, who may or may not be speaking truth to power, but does speak from a position of power to hundreds of millions much weaker and poorer than he.
And while we're at it, it's hard to say what the effect of Occupy Wall Street was, though it showed the middle-class just how radical the Left is in America. I don't know if it harmed the Democrats too much, but they've certainly been doing a lot of losing since OWS started--while the Republican have been doing a lot of winning since the Tea Party started, even as the media favor the former and revile the latter.