Friday, July 21, 2006

Whaddya Know?

Am I the only who hasn't seen An Inconvenient Truth because I'm afraid I can't handle the horror of the ice caps disappearing and out of control weather? I guess that makes me an ostrich. Whether I pay attention or not, the future will arrive. Of course, by ignoring it, thinking it's other people's problem, thinking I'm doing as much as I can and laying the problem at Bush II's feet, I absolve myself. I don't think this is entirely irrational, but it is irrational not to watch a nonfiction film because I'm afraid the truth will be too much to bear.

Similarly, as the mideast plunges deeper and deeper into war and chaos, I mostly scan the headlines. "Israel Hints at Full-Scale Attack" and the like are enough for me. I glean that the situation is devolving by the second and leave it at that. Would knowing more about the situation help? Or would it just help me perform better in debates about whether such and such action is justified? Will I feel better or worse being fully informed? Is it always desirable to be fully informed?


La Misma said...

Surprisingly,the movie isn't as frightening as it could be. Gore has no need to use shock tactics. The information is presented calmly and factually. Yes, it's grave. Yes, it's scary. But the most important thing you can take from the movie is awareness that your actions are important. Everyone's are.

I didn't want to go to it either. It was a "should" movie like Hotel Rwanda (which I never saw). I went in a group with my family but I was riveted and moved. And, oddly, encouraged.

Don't be afraid of the truth, mister!

Anonymous said...

I once knew an old Greek guerrilla fighter, he was in his 90s, who said the only solution for the world's problems was a benevolent dictator.
I took this idea with a grain of salt.
But, short of a benevolent dictator, it is increasingly clear that humanity cannot save itself. We could add the problem of cheap do-it-yourself bioterror kits to add to the consternation. Or, consider the unforeseen consequences of genetically engineered plant and animal life escaping into the environment.
Man does't have the power to control the genies he unleashes -- though he might suffer from the delusion that he does.
So what benevolent dictator would you trust?

La Misma said...

A benevolent dictator is a more comforting notion than the idea of depending on other people's cooperation. But humans have controlled the genies they've created. The nulclear bomb has only been used once. Hitler was stopped, not soon enough, but he was brought down. The hole in the ozone
used to be an alarm-bell-ringing problem but it was reduced by people's awareness and cooperation.

I don't want to sound like Pollyanna, but it has been done and throwing up your hands at this point isn't just cynical, it's immoral.

Oh, and wasn't there a river that caught fire that's now one of the cleanest in the U.S.?

La Misma said...

Pollyanna here. Just wanted to add that my second post is mostly made up of Al Gore's talking points from the movie.

vacuous said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I want to. Hearing Al Gore in the trailer, I can't help but be impressed by how intelligently he comprehends the issues. The media hated Al Gore in the 2000 election, in no small part because of his intelligence. Bush was a lot more charming and friendly in person, but his ignorance has cost many, many lives.

Anonymous said...

OK. I didn't say I was a fan of dictators. Rather, I was saying that humanity can't save itself. So where to turn?

beckett said...

Has the ozone hole problem been "controlled"? Or is it one of those problems we've just wearied of, and moved on from?

La Misma said...

Gore said the ozone hole had been reduced to non-threatening proportions and incredibly, the U.S. had led the way in the effort to reduce it.

vacuous said...

After the ozone hole was discovered, the CFCs which caused it were banned pretty quickly. These mostly arose as propellants in aerosol cans, but other propellants were used instead. I think refrigerants are another main source of CFC pollution.