October 11th, 2011
The DVD of “An Inconvenient Truth” needs to come with a sticker that says, “WARNING: Cod Liver Oil Inside”
SCARRING A GENERATION
This essay isn’t driven by me — it’s driven by the people who send me emails. Last week I received yet another email from a college instructor who said, “These poor kids have to watch ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ during their lab.” She’s in Rhode Island. I can put you in touch with her if you need a validation of this. And lots of the other folks who write to me saying the same. She was asking me to give her a copy of my movie “Sizzle” as the antidote for the students.
This isn’t an exaggeration. I get a lot of these emails (along with the comment, “thank you for bringing some humor and lightness to this painful topic”), plus we hear it at Sizzle screenings, and during my university visits. Yes, I know I’m supposed to be a cheerleader for the climate movement and not be so critical. And I am still cheering for Al Gore — I think he’s the only true POTENTIAL leader in the movement, as I’ve said here and here. But his movie is bad news. Plain and simple. No two ways about it. And it’s damaging the psyche of an entire generation by forcing kids to watch a movie that begins with maudlin music talking about the mid-life depression faced by a tired old man after he got cheated out of the White House. Once again (I’ve said this MANY times) it is NOT a movie for children. It just isn’t.
When the National Science Teachers Association refused to distribute the 50,000 free copies of the movie that producer Laurie David tried to give them, they stated “non-endorsement” as their major criteria, but they really should have cited “child abuse.”
A handful of hardcore nerd kids love the movie — but they are already obsessed with the topic. The problem is what happens with the rest of the kids. It’s bo-ho-horing to the nth degree. And that’s what they will associate with the entire topic of global warming and climate science afterwards. Which simply should not happen.
LIKEABILITY — THE MOVIE LACKS IT, BUT IT’S ESSENTIAL
Last month I spent a wonderful week at Cornell University doing all sorts of talks, screenings and discussions. One of the highlights of the week was visiting their Science Center. It’s a really great facility. One of the most interesting things I heard about was the sort of phenomenon of “resonance” (or whatever you want to call it) that happens for them with kids who grow up going to the Science Center where they always have a huge amount of fun. When they get to college, they come back to visit and feel a warmth and nostalgia for the place. They end up coming back and working as volunteers, saying they love the place because of those great childhood memories.
THAT is the sort of conditioning you want to achieve. Which is the complete opposite of college kids hearing about global warming and thinking, “oh, crap, that makes me think of that depressing adults movie they forced us to watch in 7th grade.”
Nothing like turning off an entire generation to what has been billed as the greatest threat to humanity.