Monday, July 30, 2007

I finished Al Gore's The Assault On Reason today

It took many subway rides. In the final chapter, he writes
Some [bloggers] have genuinely interesting things to say, while others do not.
It was hard not to feel a little singled out. Still, the book in general was well worth reading. The style and breadth had a lot of similarities with Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope, which my mother got me (and my roomate-at-the-time's mother got him) for Christmas, suggesting some overlap among interns. Apparently, capitalism and democracy have both been taken over by evildoers who constrict our public discourse. Who knew?

I'm a big fan of the post-Clinton Al Gore, I just can't help but wonder what he was doing while he was vice president. Reinventing government, sure, but you wonder how some people can even now say, as a dining companion did just 9 days ago, "Sure there were 70 degree days in January, but it's unseasonably cool in New York now, so I'm just not convinced about Global Warming," if the Clinton administration was giving clear signals for the eight years it was in power. What am I supposed to do, walk around with flip books of glacier satellite photos? I understand about the whole corporate control of media, but when you're in control of defense spending, you might expect to hold a little sway at GE's NBC.

He launches a lot of direct assaults on the Bush league (apparently not gunning for a post raising money during the next disaster,) which are always nice to hear, but I kept thinking back to that scene in Fahrenheit 911 when black congressmen were complaining about the disenfranchisement of their constituents and Al Gore did not allow the 2000 election results to be contested. Maybe he couldn't have changed the outcome, especially given the evident corruption of the as-yet-unimpeached Supreme Court 'justices', but I do feel like we needed him to have tried harder.

Right. So, obviously I went into this book with a lot of baggage. Anyway, besides harping on the evildoing of the current administration and the influence of corporate-controlled television -- both things that need far more harping on than they get -- Mr. Gore does get into global climate change a little.
[T]he entire Arctic ice cap could melt and be completely gone in Summer in as little as thirty-four years (p.204, Penguin Press 2007)
Now, see? We keep hearing internally inconsistent things like, "globally averaged temperatures have risen 0.3 Kelvin over the last ten years and are increasing exponentially! Sea levels might rise twenty feet in the 22nd Century or so." No Arctic ice cap in 34 years I can believe. It doesn't tell me exactly how high or when we need a sea wall around Manhattan, but at least it implies the requirement.

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