a short comedy break

They gave Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize.

*audience laughter*

No, seriously.

*more laughter*

I’m not quite sure why they did it. I guess a powerful commitment to making yourself the centre of attention by pretending you are the great crusader for the environment – after you’ve spent eight years as Vice President doing nothing about it – does pay off.

Seriously, people. There are certainly more disgusting figures than Gore – Bush, Kerry, Blair, etc. But just because he’s occasionally put forth an idea which isn’t catastrophically idiotic (Bush), appallingly opportunistic (Kerry) or just butt-crawlingly evil (Blair), doesn’t mean he should be elevated to being the god of the Vaguely Progressive There’s Something Wrong With The World But We Refuse To Use Our Brains To Analyze It movement.

Oh well. Back to Desert Bridge.

UPDATE: Strangely enough, some people linked to this post. Even stranger, though, is the fact that they only quoted the penultimate paragraph, and in some cases seemed to think that my opinion is somehow right-wing. Which, I guess, might happen if you don’t actually read the paragraph above. My point is that Gore is a hypocrite, not that doing something about global warming isn’t important (is is, in fact, one of the most important issues in human history). Furthermore, an in-depth discussion of global warming must delve into political matters – after all our policies and methods of production are a large part of the problem. So no, Mr. Gore, it isn’t just a moral issue – it’s also very much a political one.

UPDATE II:

Posted by Jakob

I just have to ask, what is your opinion about the film “An unconvenient truth” by Al Gore? (I don’t know if you have seen it but you have surely heard about it) I haven’t seen it yet but from what I have heard it seemes like it makes peoples eyes open up for the problems with nature.

Even if he sometimes indicates that it is worse than it actually is..

My problem isn’t that the movie makes global warming seem worse than it is. It doesn’t. Global warming is a HUGE problem. Probably worse, actually, than the movie predicts.

My problem is that the movie is all about Al Gore being the superhero of environmentalism. And he isn’t. The man was Vice President for 8 years. What did he do in those years to help stop global warming? NOTHING. And don’t tell me about Kyoto. Kyoto was a joke, nowhere near what needs to be done, and in fact the United States pushed to weaken it, not strengthen it. And I repeat: Gore was Vice President. He was one of the most powerful men in the world. And he did NOTHING.

So the very idea that he is this great crusader for the environment is basically just spin. And that’s what he got the Nobel for. Not for what he did, but for what he claimed he did. Which isn’t much. Except support the illegal and immoral war in Kosovo, in which radioactive weapons were used. Like the German Greens, who also supported that war and now portray themselves as a power for peace, that sort of screws up his credibility.

Beyond that, An Inconvenient Truth does not really talk about the causes of global warming on a political level. It more or less fails to mention, say, giant corporations and their policies. In fact, Gore’s often-repeated message that “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level” is a wonderful way of avoiding the truly inconvenient truth: that to battle climate change, we must change our socio-economic system. Changing the way we live as individuals isn’t enough. Recycling soda cans or not washing your hair too often or using better light bulbs will not save the planet. Even Gore’s own film makes it obvious that the problem is huge – and it follows logically that the measures to combat it must be of equal scope.

But Gore is ultimately a representative of the very system that has for so many years prevented people from taking global warming seriously, and his main interest is in making himself appear oh-so-wonderful. It’s just PR.

It makes me miss Carl Sagan. Now there’s a man who was capable of explaining the scientific aspects of an issue in a fascinating way while also not neglecting its social and political implications.

UPDATE III: I just realized that I barely mentioned how ludicrous it is to give Gore the Nobel Peace Prize, given his support of so many wars. So I’m going to steal this quote from the WSWS:

Vice President Gore, however, is hardly to be identified with the cause of “peace.” One of only ten Senate Democrats who voted for the first US war against Iraq in 1990, he was second-in-command of an administration that dispatched US troops to Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia, financed death squads in Colombia, bombed Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, maintained an economic blockade of Iraq that caused the death of an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children, and waged a devastating air war against Serbia.

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