I’m exaggerating slightly:
When I said I was going to a press screening of “An Inconvenient Truth,” a friend said, “Al Gore talking about the environment! Bor…ing!” This is not a boring film. The director, Davis Guggenheim, uses words, images and Gore’s concise litany of facts to build a film that is fascinating and relentless. In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.
Let’s try that again. If you don’t see Al Gore’s movie, you should justify your actions to your lineal descendants.
“What should we do today, grandpa?”
“Well, Billy, I suppose we could see ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ But frankly, I find Al Gore sour and pedantic, and whatever the merits of his argument, I’d prefer not to subsidize the work of a cretin who thinks nothing of undermining our government overseas by groveling to primitive Wahhabist degenerates. Also, my prostate hurts.”
“Duly noted, grandpa!”
By the way, not once since 1967 has he told his readers “you owe it to yourself to see this movie”? They didn’t owe it to themselves to see Star Wars or The Godfather? If I have three hours left to live, I’ve got to go pull An Inconvenient Truth down off the shelf instead of The Empire Strikes Back?
Ebert does cop to being a liberal at the beginning of the review, though. As they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
Meanwhile, I was going to do a post yesterday on John Updike’s interview with the Times over the weekend but I got sidetracked and Geraghty beat me to the punch. Read it for yourself. I won’t pronounce judgment on a book I haven’t read, but I did read the Times’s report, and errrr…
When Mr. Updike switched the protagonist’s religion to Islam, he explained, it was because he “thought he had something to say from the standpoint of a terrorist.”
He went on: “I think I felt I could understand the animosity and hatred which an Islamic believer would have for our system. Nobody’s trying to see it from that point of view. I guess I have stuck my neck out here in a number of ways, but that’s what writers are for, maybe.”
He laughed and added: “I sometimes think, ‘Why did I do this?’ I’m delving into what can be a very sore subject for some people. But when those shadows would cross my mind, I’d say, ‘They can’t ask for a more sympathetic and, in a way, more loving portrait of a terrorist.’ “
“Nobody’s trying to see it from that point of view” except Chomsky, Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag (past tense), Jane Smiley, Arundhati Roy, 90% of the American media and professorate — basically, his entire professional peer group of litterateurs and their core readership. So in fact, as far as he’s concerned, everyone’s trying to see it from that point of view. When you look at it that way, his bold act of empathy with a moral monster seems a bit less transgressive.
He also calls the adhan “God’s language.”