October 9th, 2006

benpeek

An Inconvenient Truth

In An Inconvenient Truth, Australia warrants one significant mention: it is one of the two first world countries who have refused to sign the Kyoto Agreement.

(The first, of course, is the United States. According to the film, a lot of the States, however, have pledged to sign up to it, a thing that I am not aware of any of the States doing here.)

As a whole, however, the documentary functions as a tour guide through climate change, narrated by the man who could have once been President, Al Gore. Gore reveals himself to be a warm voice, fatherly with its Southern twangs to hide his intelligence, and he is careful not to point the finger at various political factions (one suspects that he is aware of the hypocrisy if he did). Still, the attraction of the film is not Gore, since, in truth, any individual with a hint of performance could have done his job. Rather, it is the astonishing images of decay and loss that draw you in: the snows from Kilimanjaro disappearing, the packed ice in Greenland dissolving, scenes from New Orleans during Katrina, smoke ridden oil refineries, and parts of Africa so dry the ground is like a warped jigsaw puzzle. It's true that it is a very American centred view, and that none of these places are given an actual voice, but if the statistics in the film are right about America's status as the leader of greenhouse gases, then perhaps it should be.

Is it a film worth seeing, despite that?

Yes.

I don't know much about science, and indeed, I don't know much about the climate change debate. I read an article that the film is quite accurate, if occasionally simplistic (the rise in birth rates in poor nations is simply glossed over, for example), and I thought the film could have made more out of the political decisions to throw doubt and ridicule scientists findings--for example, they could have used one of these scientists in place of Gore's own life, which doesn't really have a lot to do with the film at all. But the film does succeed in giving someone like me--no nothing, not going to dedicate his life to the cause me--a reminder about cutting down on the type of wastage that already takes place. Every now and then, I figure it's good for me to have that reminder.

And what I figure is good for me, I figure is good for you.
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Nuke Boy!

Well, it seems there are a bunch of confirmed and unconfirmed reports about North Korea testing a nuclear weapon. The TV is all over it, of course, and as I flipped through the American news channels, one reporter was asking if America could front a third war effort with or without a draft.

Classy, huh?

Anyhow, below is the cover for Lydia Millet's Oh Pure and Radiant Heart:



I loved the book, and I wrote a review for it for Strange Horizons. It's a brilliant book, really, it is, and one of the best things I've read in years; I recommend it to you all without fault. But more than that, it actually contains a history of American nuclear testing in it, and the horror's that have followed over the years. I'm not a fan of nuclear testing, and I don't want it anywhere, and the book will show you why... but as America gets all up in the oh no, not a nuke kind of TV that they will undoubtably have (as will other Western countries), the book shows you where it came from. A little bit of thought for today, perhaps.
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