Beating Up Al Gore

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The conservative robots, especially those on Fox News, are in a hysterical tizzy because Hollywood embraced Al Gore and the theory of global warming.

They are calling Gore a hypocrite because he leads a normal life. It is not necessary to abandon one’s possessions and live like a hermit in order to advocate policies you think will help preserve the planet. I think it’s a safe bet that the millionaires on Fox News have not abandoned their expensive pads or their first-class seats on commercial aircraft — which naturally burn far more fuel than a private jet.

The documentary narrated by Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, is not accurate, but that only puts it on par with The New York Times and Fox News. Accurate data and reasoned discussion are the endangered species of intellectual life these days.

Nevertheless, it is a good thing that Hollywood has embraced global warming. It can at least afford solar heat and hybrid-powered limousines. I expect a rash of movies in which climate change will play the role of villain. No doubt some Hollywood stars will rush down to the Antarctic and adopt a penguin or two. Global warming will also give them another reason to castigate George Bush, who needs castigating anyway for not solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, among other things.

Since most of us now live in urban environments, it will probably be a good thing if Hollywood can, with its magic and imagination, cause us to look up at the sky once in a while to see if it’s still there. I know that as I walked out of the theater after seeing "Twister," my eyes automatically looked up to check the sky for funnel clouds.

Hollywood isn’t all bad, though conservative ideologues — at least those who make a living being ideologues — will beat up on Hollywood, liberals and Democrats no matter what they do or say. You’d think these ideologues would realize how tiresome and predictable they’ve become, but, like Hollywood, they have their audience, and they pander to it.

Personally, I don’t think there is much we can do about global warming, if indeed it is occurring. One has to remember that the Earth is several billion years old and has experienced both ice ages and warm periods several times with no input from humans. On a scale of several billion years, five warm winters is not a great marker for change.

Besides, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to dislike cold weather more than I used to. I’m sure some of the folks in the Midwest and Northeast, battered with blizzards and ice storms, are wondering just what happened to global warming. As for rising seas, I’ve always wanted to live on the water but couldn’t afford it. Maybe my present place, 50 miles inland, will one day be a beachfront property.

By and large, climate is one of those things we can’t do much about. If indeed cosmic changes are a-coming, trading in your sport utility vehicle for a Mini Cooper is not going to stop it. The world is running out of oil, but all that is going to do is create a hot market for coal, which still exists in plenteous quantities.

So while I think it’s OK for Hollywood to have a new idea to play with, global warming is way, way down on my list of things to worry about. It’s so far down, I don’t even remember what number it is.

As for Al Gore, look at the bright side: The guy has developed a sense of humor. That’s not a small accomplishment.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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