Opinion » Bill Cope

Sequel Time, Al

Truth for inconvenient dummies


Last week, we discussed why people on the right have such a difficult time comprehending what's going on in the world. At the time, I put much of the blame on the Internet, which I regard as culpable of disseminating at least as much crap as reliable information. If you doubt what I say, Google up "chupacabra" or "Obama + antichrist," and you will soon realize how many people there are who seemingly have little else to do than shovel more meaningless bullshit onto endless piles of meaningless bullshit.

But with another week to think about it, I have come to the understanding that we can't blame every epidemic of conservative ignorance on the Internet. We must give some measure of credit to the right's natural propensity to always be on the slippery up-slope of the Bell curve. And as recent meteorological events have shown, there is no subject on which they are more decidedly slippery than the matter of Global Warming.

(Note to copy editor: I capitalize "Global Warming" as I believe everyone who is serious about it should, to give the situation the gravitas it deserves. In fact, as the threat deepens, we should consider capitalizing all the letters and adding a series of exclamation points, as in "GLOBAL WARMING!!!" It may not help, but it can't hurt.)

Of course, I speak of the cackling from high-profile fowl--the most concentrated collection being in the Fox News coop--who acted like they had invented the concept of irony when much of the East Coast was hit by record snow storms. In the minds of Beck and Hannity--if "minds" is the proper term when applied to those gentlemen--20 inches of white stuff in Washington, D.C., proved that Al Gore is a fraud. You know ... as though they understood what Gore was saying in the first place.

Never mind that at the same time the snow was falling in the East, California was doing a downhill mud run because years of drought and wildfire have left that state the poster environment for climate change. Never mind that as the Winter Olympics opened, they were trucking snow to Vancouver because Ma Nature wasn't providing it for them. Never mind that meteorologists have been predicting from the beginning that Global Warming will bring extreme conditions at both ends of the thermometer. To the geniuses at Fox, decades of research by actual smart people were wiped out by a couple of snow days in Baltimore.

What I have decided is that Al Gore must put together a sequel. An Inconvenient Truth II, if you will. Only this time, he has to film it so that even Republicans can understand. No more graphs and charts and fancy talk from professional climatologists. No, he must use those tricks that educators have employed for years to give particularly slow children a chance to learn something. Starting with: puppets!

As Global Warming deniers seem to have the most trouble when it comes to holding in their brains two contradictory conditions, I would--if I were in Al Gore's shoes--start with a pair of lovable fuzzy faces. Bert and Ernie, sort of, only I would call them Dry and Wet. In their adorable way, little Wet and Dry would start out bickering, each insisting that the other does not represent anything of conclusive value. Example: Dry says, "Al, I think you should kick Wet out of the movie because there is no firm science that proves he belongs here!"

To which Al answers, "Well, what about huge hurricanes, Dry? And what about rising sea levels and blizzards in unusual places?"

Wet says, "Nyah nyah, Dry! It ain't me that shouldn't be here. It's you that should get fired!" To which Gore answers, "Now, now, Wet. That's not true, either. What about prolonged drought and enormous wildfires? What about glaciers and the polar ice shrinking? That's all Dry's doing, you know. And fellas, try to remember, the conditions we're worried about go all the way around the world. We can't talk about just what's happening in your neighborhood."

Obviously, no movie that will hold the attentions of conservatives can be all dialogue. To provide bright colors and shiny objects, there would have be other characters who (using only one-syllable words) demonstrate stuff like the greenhouse effect and the impact of fossil fuels. I envision a clown from the mythical land of Exxon who stomps about the set (in size 27/quadruple E carbon footprints), foolishly declaring that no one can prove Global Warming is a result of human activity. Just when you think the clown might prevail, a heroic cowboy (in a green hat, of course) rides in, saddlebags packed with irrefutable data.

I would also include animated characters (in the manner of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) who wouldn't say much, as they all have their heads crammed up their hilariously fat cartoon asses. On their shirts would be written their names--"Imhoff," "Ricky Perry," "Limbaugh," etc.

In the surprise ending--which I would ask that you don't reveal to your conservative friends--it turns out that Wet and Dry are two noggins on the same fuzzy dilemma. Like a two-headed worm, maybe, only they don't know it until Al shows them their indivisibility. As they all hug in understanding, Dave Matthews sings the movie out with "It's a Small World After All."

You get the general idea. Something excruciatingly simple. I have serious doubts it will help, as there is no way Al Gore could make himself simple enough for anyone who would listen to Hannity and Beck. But then, it couldn't hurt.