December 19, 2007

Al Gore as the Powerpoint Jesus


Ev'rybody's building the big ships and the boats,
Some are building monuments,
Others, jotting down notes,
Ev'rybody's in despair,
Ev'ry girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here,
Ev'rybody's gonna jump for joy.

-- Bob Dylan

TIME HAS SPOKEN and the suspense is over. America can breathe again. Vladimir Putin is the "Person" of the year according to the once-influential Time magazine. Last year it was "You." This year it is about the man who has absolute control over hundreds of millions Russian "Yous." A reminder that dictators trump technology, every time. The universe is balanced once again. Except for one man. One lonely uncelebrated man, Al Gore.

This has got to grind Al Gore's grits since it has denied him the Trifecta: First runner-up for "Person" of the Year just doesn't fit. Gore, Oscar Winner, Nobel laureate, and.... Runner-up.

But all is not lost. Al has garnered a Time-published tribute from the world's number one environmental lickspittle, Bono. Bono has, not to put too fine a point on it, a big moist crush on Al, and he's not shy about gushing.

Reading Bono's "I'm writing as bad as I can" paen to all things Al in Time clearly shows Bono buffing Al for the Powerpoint Jesus of the Brave Drowned World.

"Al Gore is the kind of leader these times require. Not as President -- God and the Electoral College have given him a different job."
Yes, it is Al, anointed by God who personally sent chad-confusion into the minds of Florida septuagenarians because He had bigger plans. But lest you think that all is mush inside the Bono intellectual juggernaut where the neurons have no name, he's quick to correct you.
Gore says it's going to take "a shift in consciousness." This isn't loopy Sixties stuff, or I wouldn't tune in.
Not loopy at all. Not our Al. He's not going to make that mistake. He's going to use facts, his facts. And history, his history....
Al is tough-minded. He marshals history to make his argument...
Ah, I can just envision Al, marshaling History's battalions and making them march to his orders. One hopes there's a battlefield command there for Bono Braveheart.

Bono also notes that just commanding facts and marshaling history is only a prelude for Al. Al is here for something larger, a grander role, a lead role in the cage of Climate Armageddon....

For Al, 2008 is a rendezvous with destiny...
And his "destiny" contains within it
an appointment with the enemy.
Bono also sees the aura of holiness arising around Al like the bright blue flames of intellectual flatulence:
His language is pretty Biblical, but, then, doesn't the Bible say something about floods?
Well, Bono, lest you be labeled as "Dono," I shall stipulate that it does. Lots of stuff in the Bible about a flood, although it is so far in the past-tense I might assume that the carbon footprints of SUVs had little to do with it.

It matters not one whit to the autodidact of rock and roll. His fevered vision of Gore the Glorious has him in its grip like some juked-up John on a rye ergot jag taking dictation for a new Book of Revelation. And held in the grip of that Apocalyptic hummjob Bono sees Gore as only the stoned see him:

He is like an Old Testament prophet amped up with PowerPoint
asking with breathless prose how to see Gore,
Is he Noah or are we King Canute?
Humm, hard to know how to answer a question like that. A question that makes (repeat it three times in your mind) absolutely no sense whatsoever. It's the kind of line that comes from too many years of scribbling out rock lyrics which do not have to be true or make sense, but only be glib.

But it is not questions that have no answers that make Bono break into a sweat, it is the Horror, the Horror, the vision of the Horror to come:

If the tide should rise by 3 ft. (1 m), there could be over 100 million climate refugees in low-lying areas such as Bangladesh. If the tide rises 20 ft. (6 m), it's not just the summer homes of rock stars that will take sail; 400 million poor people could be uprooted and at sea.

And one man's flood is another's drought: as coastal areas in Africa are drowned, travel inland and anything that isn't underwater will be even more parched than before.

And if the tide rises by three inches? Bono is such a piker as a prophet, stopping at a mere 20 foot rise in the tides. Perhaps we should just posit that the tide rises 1,000 feet and all start building big ships and boats while making Waterworld into a training tape. Perhaps, but I'm not ready to get the gill implants at the Kevin Costner Medical Center just yet.

After his ecospasm of the vision of the tides passes, Bono wipes himself off with a damp towel and closes with a post-coital sigh about the object of his affections.

Over the past year, "mild green" (me) and "khaki green" (him) have talked about how the fight against extreme poverty in the developing world and the struggle against climate change can reinforce each other.
It's nice when people have things in common to keep their flame alive in the twilight of life, isn't it?

But, as they part, Bono and Al exchange soft sophistries as love tokens:

Desmond Tutu often uses the word ubuntu, meaning "I am because we are." It's my favorite epithet, an ode to interdependence. When I told Al that, he responded with Gandhi: Satyagraha, meaning "hold tight to the truth."
Don't you just love it when grown men swap sloppy blessings like that? Still, Bono must do one chorus of "Never Can Say Goodbye:"
As Al leaves our house, I fall over myself to explain that my fancy car runs on ethanol, then laugh nervously, like when you meet a parish priest in the supermarket and it turns into confession.
But like Jesus, Al is all about forgiveness:
Al isn't like that at all. He leads from the front, and if some sheep in the family stray, he's not stressed.

Al is the soft prophet, He who has been given to us by the God of Florida chad:
He's not a zealot. Leaders often shout orders; generals bark; bellicose preachers, to save our souls, get gothic on our asses.
Not Al the only begotten Son of Gaia:
Al speaks in measured tones. He shows slides. Leaders often shout orders; generals bark; bellicose preachers, to save our souls, get gothic on our asses.

He has an almost embarrassing faith in the power of facts to persuade both believer and skeptic.

His enduring and overarching trait is, as it turns out, the pursuit of truth ... scientific truth, spiritual truth. That -- and grace.

But Al is even bigger than that. Al is, well, America itself.
Right now, he is an America the world needs to meet. 
Go forth then Al the Holy with thy Commandments of Powerpoint. Go forth and cleanse the world of all those that walk in darkness. Bring the world the light as thou hast brought it to thy foot servant Bono. And be not angry with Bono for blowing your chance to be Time's "Person" of the Year.

Yes, it was, in my analysis Bono himself who caused the editors of Time to back off giving Al the garland this year. It is quite clear that those editors, during the final meeting to decide who would get the fools' gold from Time, looked at their options -- Gore or Putin, Putin or Gore.

It was a tossup until one junior editor pointed out that if they went with Gore, "We'd have to tag it with that piece of crap Bono turned in."

Nods all around. Case closed. It's good to know that even today the editors of Time have some standards.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 19, 2007 10:07 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I guess Bono delivered this speech immediately after spilling out of Spicoli's veedub van, right?

Posted by: TmjUtah at December 19, 2007 11:28 AM

It's getting harder and harder to simply enjoy the music. I really wish he'd just shut up and sing.

Posted by: Julie c at December 19, 2007 11:30 AM

Bono asks:

"Is he Noah or are we King Canute?"

NO, Bono, AL GORE is Canute. Like the apocryphal story of that king and the waves, he thinks he can command the climate to change back to what we've been used to for the last 250 years since the end of the "Little Ice Age."

As for Gore's "embarassing faith in the power of facts," I only wish it were so. If he used real facts instead of his manufactured ones, there would never have been "An Incovenient Truth."

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at December 19, 2007 1:31 PM

Rock stars... Is there anything they don't know? --Homer Simpson

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at December 19, 2007 5:00 PM

Benjamin Franklin said it best in "Poor Richard's Almanack",

"The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned; but still 'tis Nonsense."

Posted by: Jeff Crump at December 20, 2007 4:30 AM

Comparing the prophet of Bore to the Gospel of Christ, I am struck by several things: Luke opens the story of the birth of Christ calling it 'exceedingly joyful' and 'good news of great joy.' John Piper describes every true believer's duty as one of utter delight---from that delight-first then flows delightful repentance, delightful obedience, delightful service and giving, not the other way around. Because the underlying gift of Christ's birth and sacrificial death on the Cross for our sins is ineffable joyful truth. We are to keep our eyes first and foremost on that delight, even in dark times.

Al's message of doom, on the other hand, has no element of delight. Instead we are yolked with a Nostradameus-like horror from which we can never escape. We are told/lectured to fall in line and obey out of duty, not delight, and morality for its own dreary sake. A One World godlike government will be happy to help us poor wretches adjust.

There's nothing winsome or attractive about Al or his minions' bonofied message. Only a dreadful, grim bind from which he predicts we can never
escape. And then we die on the desert as the ever evil sun turns us all into beef jerky and food for cockroaches.

Among many other things, Al Gore is the least attractive man on the planet as far as I'm concerned and his grim message is the anti-gospel.

Posted by: Webutante at December 20, 2007 7:04 AM