Friday, June 22, 2007

Review :: Rival Factions by Project 86

Some bands early in their careers release an album that is so great that the rest of their careers often seem like awkward attempts to recapture that early greatness. Some manage to do it and become legends; others fail and become a bit of a depressing joke. While I've never been disappointed in a Project album - in fact, I have truly enjoyed each and every album they have released - I have always been forced to compare their new releases to Truthless Heroes (2002), their magnum opus, and have always found that they don't quite compare to that early greatness.

That being said, Rival Factions is perhaps their most immediately arresting and interesting album since 2002. It is not so much a re-invention as a re-tooling of the band's sound and they seem to be experimenting with a few things. The songs are shorter and more focused: each word, each chord, each note is deliberate, honed and razor sharp - there is no excess here. This is a leaner, meaner Project 86. The songs come quick and hit hard with some massive hooks. Andrew Schwab, the band's frontman, also seems to be playing around with what he can do with his voice. Vocally, this is his most diverse outing. He is singing and being melodic more than he used to be; at the same time, though, on some songs (such as the wonderfully titled "The Forces of Radio have Dropped a Viper into the Rhythm Section") he screams even harder than he used to. And on "Molotov" he even seems to be channeling a bit of David Bowie, which is an amusing and very pleasant surprise. Most band's need to progress or they run the risk of becoming stale; Project 86, far from becoming stale, have progressed in a logical manner, one that does not feel forced but natural. There's enough growth here to inspire confidence and enough similarity to remind fans why they loved them in the first place.

Unlike Truthless Heroes, which is concept-oriented (and so works best as a complete album), Rival Factions is song-oriented. There does not immediately appear to be a running concept stringing the songs all together (though perhaps as I listen to it more a theme will emerge); rather, these songs seem more to be individual efforts. I've always been bothered by the feeling that, since Truthless Heroes, Project 86 has been trying too hard to find their next concept. With Rival Factions, I think they have finally shed the last bits of that attempt and have settled into a more comfortable style of songwriting, one that does not feel as if it needs to be epic and grandiose. This does not mean that the album, taken as a single creative effort, lacks cohesion; far from it. It only means that the album is not thematic and does not tell a story, which is fine by me.

As anyone who has ever listened to them knows, Project 86 is quite cynical and angry but, to me at least, their cynicism and anger is the lamenting and heartbreaking voice of the prophet, the voice that calls in the wilderness to an unhearing, uncaring generation. Rival Factions continues that acerbic, unrelenting criticism of half-truths, of wolves in sheeps clothes, of corrupt and corrosive culture. Some songs, like the opening "Evil (A Chorus of Resistance)" unflinchingly punches holes in the humanist dream that all people are good and can save themselves while a song like "The Sanctuary Hum" continues Project's critique of false leaders, especially church leaders, who prey on the weaknesses of those they should help. "Caveman Jam," which is a story-song of a conversation between the band and their fans (and non-fans), even examines this tendency to violently criticize: "Yo, I don't understand your agitation / Why can't you write a track that's sensitive?" asks a persona in the song; "Little man / I wish I could" is the reply. Project 86 (more precisely, Andrew Schwab) feels the prophet's compulsion, the need to speak the truth in spite of resistance, in spite of hurt feelings, in spite of the neurotic democratic desire live and let live. The unfiltered, unadulterated truth saves lives, repairs broken hearts. As the story-song concludes: "I made my way back to the merch booth after / A man confronts me, smiling ear to ear / The sweat is dripping from his face in gallons / And all he wants to do is shake my hand / (Then he) stops to tell me he'd be six feet under / That's if it wasn't for our caveman jams."

In the end, I suppose the best thing to say is that I really like this album. I really like it. Their agitation refreshes me, since it is for the most part an agitation that I share. Project 86 is one of the few bands whose moral and religious vision I almost completely identify with. That sort of identification is powerful and compelling and I can only hope that Project 86 continues to make records for a long time yet.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Review :: Ocean's Thirteen

Anyone and everyone is reviewing this film, so I'm going to keep this brief.

I've been having a hard time trying to come up with something to say about Ocean's Thirteen and I've concluded that there really isn't a whole lot that can be said. Ocean's Thirteen is rather uninspiring and dull third entry in an otherwise witty and clever franchise. While the film has its moments of cleverness and charm, it constantly feels as if it is banking on the reputation established by Eleven and Twelve.

This time around, Clooney & Co. find themselves once again planning a major casino heist in Las Vegas. It seems that one of their own (Elliott Gould) suffered a major heart-attack after being swindled by a ruthless hotel mogul (Al Pacino) and so, none too pleased about this, the gang decides to set things right, well-dressed-thieves style. Everything from the previous films is here: the quick and energetic cuts, the snapping dialogue, the obvious charm and charisma of the cast. Unfortunately, none of it ever seems to add up to much and the film just seems to lay flat on the screen, smirking at the audience rather self-referentially.

The problem with this film is the problem with almost all sequels, that they borrow too heavily upon the experience of the previous films. Soderbergh seems to be hoping that we'll forgive him for the film's lack of inspiration simply because we like the characters who, admittedly, are pretty cool. Soderbergh is great director; unfortunately, he seems to be slumming it a little with Thirteen. It feels as if he was going for the guaranteed money of a franchise sequel and just telephoned in a by-the-numbers, entirely derivative sequel. It is not as if Ocean's Thirteen is a bad film, it just fails to bring the same level of wit and fun as the two previous films did. Fans of the franchise will likely enjoy this sequel, if for no other reason than that the gang's all here (with the obvious exception of two female leads). In a summer of disappointing trilogies, Ocean's Thirteen continues the trend of failing to deliver. Here's hoping that The Bourne Ultimatum will not sully its franchise too later this summer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gethsemane in Microcosm

I'm a critic. I read books, poetry and plays. I watch movies and television. Literature and art is my life. I love to sink into a text, to absorb it and meditate upon it. I love to reflect upon the representation and imitation of life in modern cinema. I'm fascinated by the intricacies of language, especially past language, and the possibilities, ambiguities, and pleasures this brings. I'm also devoted to responsible hermeneutics, to understanding what an author is actually saying and to not only grasping at what modern theory thinks he might be saying. I think art, both literature and entertainment, print and film cultures, can make us better people, can humanize us. If art does not do this, it is not necessarily a failure on art's behalf but on the behalf of people who are unable or unwilling to be taught - people who have grown dull to the voice of intelligence and morality.

Lately, I suppose, I've been in a bit of a depressive funk. Our culture seems to have no place for the moral critic, for those who think great art can make us better people. Most people don't even listen to critics and so prefer to watch CSI Miami instead of Dexter; prefer to read The Da Vinci Code instead of Hamlet. Today, you can get a degree in English Literature without ever having read Paradise Lost. Without reading The Iliad. Without The Divine Comedy. The great works of literature are being forgotten in a pale wave of democratic enthusiasm, which prizes the lowest common denominator, the easily marketable.

I guess today is just one of those day when you look at what you're doing and find your faith in your ideals or your hopes shaken, when you wonder just what the hell it is you are doing. These days creep up on you, like cancer - an invasion from within rather than from without. It's not as if a major crisis inspires them. You just wake up one morning and find yourself quietly drifting into despair and doubt. Then, the next morning, you're back to normal and know what business you are about. These are Gethsemane days. As a kid, only 12 years old, Jesus was steadfast and knew that he must be about his Father's business. But then, eleven years later, there came that terrible night in Gethsemane when his Father's business suddenly looked very different. Today's a Gethsemane day, I guess, which I know is a rather pretentious metaphor. On these days, the days that you question who's business you are doing, it's sometimes hard to know who your father is. These days of doubt and terror pass, I know; unfortunately knowing that they pass does not make their passing any easier. We still weep and sweat blood at the prospect and uncertainty of our futures.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Slaughterhouse-Five (excerpt)

I've been reading Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five (I've been reading a lot of novels lately). For those who don't know, the novel's about a man, Billy Pilgrim, who has become "unstuck" in time and keeps jumping back and forth between moments of his often-horrible life. In this passage, he's watching a World War II movie, but because he's "unstuck" in time, he is seeing it in reverse. Enjoy.

   American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
   The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.
   When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the rack and shipped back to the United States, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous content into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anyone ever again.
   The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (excerpts)

I've been reading Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the Jeff Lindsay novel that the Showtime series Dexter is based upon. It's a darkly comic and ironic examination of human life from the perspective of Dexter, a sociopath and serial killer who, instilled with a hard-line sense of morality by his adopted father Harry, only targets other murderers. It's an interesting examination of conditioned morality and ironic detachment. Enjoy.

I secured the priest to the table with duct tape and cut away his clothes. I did the preliminary work quickly; shaving, scrubbing, cutting away the things that stuck out untidily. As always I felt the wonderful long slow build to release begin its pounding throughout my entire body. It would flutter through me while I worked, rising and taking me with it, until the very end, the Need and the priest swimming away together in a fading tide.

And just before I started the serious work Father Donovan opened his eyes and looked at me. There was no fear now; that happens sometimes. He looked straight up at me and him mouth moved.

"What?" I said. I moved my head a little closer. "I can't hear you."

I heard him breathe, a slow and peaceful breath, and then he said it again before his eyes closed.

"You're welcome," I said, and I went to work."


"What do you remember from before?" he asked. "You know. Before we took you in."

That sill hurts, but I really don't know why. I was only three. "Nothing."

"Good," he says. "Nobody should remember that." And as long as he lives that will be the most he ever says about it. "But even though you don't remember, Dex, it did things to you. Those things make you what you are. I've talked to some people about this." And strangest of strange, he gives me a very small, almost shy, Harry smile. "I've been expecting this. What happened to you when you were a little kid has shaped you. I've tried to straighten that out, but -" He shrugs. "It was too strong, too much. It got into you too early and it's going to stay there. It's going to make you want to kill. And you can't help that. You can't change that. But," he said, and he looks away again, to see what I can't tell. "But you can channel it. Control it. Choose -" his words come so carefully now, more careful than I've ever heard him talk, "- choose what... or who... you kill..." And he gave me a smile unlike any I have ever seen before, a smile as bleak and dry as the ashes of our dying fire. "There are plenty of people who deserve it, Dex..."

[Lindsay, Jeff, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. New York, NY: Vintage, 2004. 12-13, 43]

The Perils of Knowing Thyself

I am not accustomed to failure. I normally excel at the things that I choose to do and am normally quite adept at avoiding situations where I am uncertain of my abilities. The Greeks have an important proverb, perhaps their most important, and they inscribed it upon the Oracle of Delphi, the omphalus or navel of the world - in Greek the proverb reads γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton), and in the more famous Latin it reads nosce te ipsum. "Know thyself." Self-awareness, understanding one's identity and being comfortable with it, scrutinizing yourself rigorously and mercilessly - this is what it means to know thyself.

This spring and summer I have been taking two classes at the University, an elementary Latin course and an elementary calculus course. These two classes, in their own way, reflect my own self-awareness - they represent the highs and lows of my academic ability. As a life-long student of the humanities, it was an academic and personal inevitability that I would one day study Latin, the great language of the Classical and Renaissance thought. I have already spent three years studying Koine Greek, so Latin isn't even a difficult subject for me. My education in it has been refreshing, energetic and entirely enjoyable. A whole lot less inevitable (or so I thought) was the notion that I would return to a study of mathematics. Much more so than Latin ever was, math is a foreign language to me. I suppose it was some misguided admiration of Renaissance humanists that inspired me to attempt a course in calculus. Mathematics is, after all, a classical discipline and a part of the Quadrivium - the "four ways" of eduction that were required to complete a study of the liberal arts and which included arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Part of knowing thyself is a willingness to alter yourself. Knowing that you do not know something should become an opportunity to familiarize yourself with it, to better yourself. And so I took a class in calculus, knowing full well that I knew next to nothing about math. Knowing yourself is a painful process, filled with humiliation and embarrassment. Like I said, I'm not accustomed to failure or with academic frustration. It is, of course, necessary to occasionally have your ego bruised. A healthy dose of reality is required should anyone truly desire to know himself. However, no matter how necessary they are, bruises still hurt.

The quest to know thyself is perilous: like Ulysses, you might encounter your own emotional Charybdis, a ravaging psychological cyclops, or vengeful mental gods. Like Ulysses, though, cunning and courage can lead you home, which in this case is a greater understanding of yourself. Of course, I'm pretty sure that Ulysses never had to find the domain of an logarithmic function or graph a quadratic equation.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Review :: Eli Roth's Hostel: Part II

[It's hard to legitimately review a horror film. It's aimed at a very specific audience, most of whom will see it no matter what critics say. So let me just disclaim this: I like horror movies. Some of my favourite directors have worked in horror, such as Stanley Kubrick and David Cronenberg. At the same time, though, I want more, much more, than just blood. Horror can be a legitimate genre only in as much as it has wit or intelligence. I liked Hostel. I thought it was clever and so I went into Hostel: Part II hoping for a decent film that had some chills and some interesting social comments. Now, on to the review... ]

The last several years have seen the rise of a new sub-genre within the larger realm of horror movies, the so-called "torture porn" or "gorno," films such as Saw, The Devil's Rejects and, of course, Hostel, the most obviously exploitative of the three. These terms are often used derogatively and with great moral outrage and yet Eli Roth, writer and director of the Hostel movies, is likely right to say that this it is an an unfair term, one that deliberately fails to recognize these movies as legitimate attempts to create art. Horror, especially good horror, is often rather more intelligent, subversive and ironic than most critics and pundits ever give it credit for. That being said, it seems to me that in horror movies there is in fact a very fine line between art and pornography, wit and exploitation, actual intelligence and raw bloodlust. And all too often, that line is crossed as soon as a film becomes a franchise and spawns sequels.

In Hostel, three American men travel to Amsterdam to enjoy the thriving sex trade; while there, they are told of a remote, little-known hostel in Slovakia that is supposedly home to some of the most beautiful women in Eastern Europe, towards which they immediately set out. Of course, the hostel is a front for something far more sinister and they soon find themselves in the clutches of an evil syndicate of wealthy businessmen who, bored with their own excesses and with more traditional forms of exploitation, such as prostitution, have turned to human torture and murder as a form of entertainment. As one character in the sequel describes it, murder is the "next level." The obvious connection between the flesh trade and the new flesh-torture trade were readily apparent, if not a little on the nose. As a comment upon exploitative American tendencies, Hostel was clever enough and so, in its own eyes at least, it provided a fair enough justification for its sequences of brutal violence.

Hostel: Part II, follows much the same premise except that in this iteration its justification is rather more thin and less obvious. The movie follows three American women who seem to be in Europe getting a taste of the Old World. Unlike the men from the first movie, though, nothing these girls do could be construed as a reason, metaphoric or otherwise, for what will befall them. They are average, regular college-type girls doing average, regular college-type things. More interesting than them, though, is the two American businessmen on whom the movie also focuses, clients of the hostel that come to Slovakia with the express purpose of torturing and murdering these girls. Roth is surprisingly deft at portraying these two men and what, I suppose, could be the psychology of the decisions they make. Roth tries to make some comments upon sexual politics and male insecurities but, really, there isn't much here by way of social commentary that hasn't been said before or said better.

And that's the problem I have with Hostel: Part II, or with any horror movie sequel for that matter. In almost every case, sequels are redundant and nothing is done in them that hasn't been done in the first one. Sequels just add more blood. Sure, sometimes they try to be clever and fiddle around with the tropes and conventions established by the first one. Here, for instance, Roth changes the protagonists from men to women, which affords him the chance to make a few interesting changes. More importantly, he almost found a new angle by focusing of the torturers. And had he focused exclusively on the American businessmen and their psychology/psychosis, Hostel: Part II might have been an interesting film. Instead, however, we are given a film that is predictable and, unfortunately, not scary. Perhaps I'm jaded, but I was never once scared. A bit nauseated and uncomfortable in some sequences, yes, but never scared. While the first film had a growing sense of dread built around this mysterious and menacing place, the second film has all its cards already spread on the table. We know what the hostel and the factory are and we know what to expect. Devoid of any real scares and without any interesting social comments (aside from several thin feminist themes that have run through horror for a while now and which have been treated so much better, such as in Death Proof most recently), Hostel: Part II comes dangerously close to actually being this so-called "torture porn."

In the end, the film is a lot less clever than it thinks it is, is more disgusting than the first one, and comes off, unfortunately, as a rather obvious and mediocre sequel. It felt like Saw II: bigger, bloodier and less intelligent. Roth has stated that this will be the last Hostel film. Personally, I hope he remains true to his word. I had high hopes for Roth after Hostel. Perhaps his next film will be better.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Review :: Eat Me, Drink Me by Marilyn Manson

You wear your ruins well
Please run away with me to hell.
-"Putting Holes in Happiness"

In 1996, Marilyn Manson released Antichrist Superstar (or Antichrist Svperstar, if you prefer) and sky-rocketed into the galvanizing and ambivalent aether of media attention: almost overnight he became a sensation, loved by the self-proclaimed disenfranchised and hated by almost every authority that ever felt moved to express outrage. In 1998, he released Mechanical Animals at the height of his popularity/infamy. Fans are split over which of the two albums are better. Both express deep disillusionment with traditional political and religious power structures and both embrace Nietzschian philosophy and morbid sexual ambivalence. It's hardly an understatement to say that Manson's credibility - and dare I say, relevance - rests solely on these two albums. Since then, nothing he has recorded has really been all that interesting. It has been mostly self-conscious, narcissistic, tired and drenched in excess. However, unlike Blake's proverb, this road of excess did not lead to the palace of wisdom.

With Eat Me, Drink Me, Marilyn Manson finally takes his first real steps in a new direction and while he's still the same androgynous, freakish self-proclaimed hierophant he has always been, he seems finally to be aware that he must re-define himself or fade away and be remembered as a past-century curio. With Ear Me, Drink Me he has stripped back some of the musical excess that plagues his last couple albums, aiming instead at a leaner rock/metal sound; the so-called goth style seems to have given way to a more later-Bowieesque sound, less like Ziggy Stardust, though, and more like Outside. This musical transformation is welcome, especially since The Golden Age of Grotesque, Manson's last album before this, felt so musically and creatively stunted, as if the band could not get past the departure of Twiggy Ramirez.

Thematically, Manson again follows his master David Bowie's steps, a la Diamond Dogs, and explores sexual ambivalence and dark seduction. Many of the songs, such as "If I was Your Vampire" or "Evidence" burn and curl in morbid and stained desire - their prurience and nihilism is almost unrestrained. At the same time, though, Manson seems to be aiming at a type of solace. In their own way, these are love songs - not of beauty and the beast but of the beast seducing beauty, subjugating and degrading her and, nevertheless, loving her. This is Milton's Satan as he would have been if he had actually had his way with Eve.

Manson has always surrounded himself with an almost messianic aura; even the title Eat Me, Drink Me has obvious Eucharistic overtones. However, unlike Nine Inch Nails' newest album Year Zero, which provided an Orwellian vision of the future and did so with great intensity and prophetic clarity, Eat Me, Drink Me, doesn't really seem to have a clear voice. Is Manson calling us to his dark vision of desire and seduction or warning us against it? It is unclear. It does seem, however, that Manson enjoys being in the dark corners of American culture and relishes dragging others into the dark to be alongside him. All too often Manson's dark corners are disconcertingly appealing, at least in a nihilistic, self-loathing kind of way. Like Spike once said to Buffy, "I may be dirt but you're the one that likes to roll around in it."

It remains to be seen whether or not Eat Me, Drink Me can bring Manson back from the brink of irrelevance. Stylistically, he seems to be maturing; thematically, he's playing it safe with his almost routine over-developed sense of nihilism and cynicism; culturally, he may be past his prime. Regardless, Eat Me, Drink Me should appear as a welcome return to form for those who may have lost faith in his ability to write compelling songs.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Satire and the Death of Irony

A friend used this quote from Dryden as the basis for his review of Fido, which can be read here (mine is in the archive). I love this quote. Dryden perfectly captures the spirit of satire.

There is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly butchering of a man, and the fineness of a stroke that separates the head from the body, and leaves it standing in its place…. Neither is it true that this fineness of raillery is offensive. A witty man is tickled while he is hurt in this manner, and a fool feels it not.
- John Dryden, “A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire”

The death of irony is very high on a long list of post-modernity's greatest causalities. The inability to be ironic, to step back from oneself and simply enjoy the benefits of wit, sardonic or otherwise, leads to a nation of fools who feel it not. Or who feel it and take offense with it, not realizing what was truly meant. Satire removes us from the immediacy of experience; it gives us a higher ledge from which to survey our situations. A culture unable to be ironic or enjoy satire is a stunted culture unable to peer past its own nose. It screams at the slightest provocation; it bellows and grunts and snarls and never really understands another's point of view. It is solipsistic, egocentric and bereft of artistic merit.

Perhaps North America needs a healthy dose of satire and irony. Of course, that would likely only incense many people... but those are the people who need satire most of all. If everyone took a step back and looked at their lives in an ironic light, we may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly we could resolve many of our problems.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Thinking about Human Reason

Al Gore has a new book out which he has ironically called The Assault on Reason. Okay, maybe he isn't being ironic, at least not intentionally.

And I've just now alienated a great number of people, many of whom would likely now regard me as a conservative, a capitalist - perhaps even a fascist - simply because I do not consider someone who ignores or fabricates scientific facts for political or ideological ends a credible witness or someone even qualified to use such an important term as "reason." Is it reasonable to create or incite panic for political ends, even if those ends seem to be morally right? Is it reasonable to ignore the facts - or even the lack of facts - about global warming, even if the end result is that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Is it reasonable to put aside rational exploration? Is it reasonable to think that ends justify means?

For the past several hundred years, human reason and rational science - empiricism - has been the dominant Western ethos. We are trained to think rationally, scientifically about the world and humanity's place within it. There are rules governing what nature can and cannot do: nature, we are told, abhors a vacuum; gravity exists; 2 plus 2 is always 4. Then there are rules about how to properly inquire about nature: we must experiment, document and be able to reproduce the experiment. Empiricism demands a totality of relevant facts. If relevant data is missing, the conclusion can be incorrect and misleading.

After centuries of use, the scientific method should be second nature to us, should it not? As a civilization and a culture you would think that we would not accept anything without examining the science. After all, we were all willing to set aside God when science raised its head and told us that, rationally speaking, He did not exist and so should be laid to rest. A culture that does that, that willingly executes its god on the strength of rational empiricism, must truly love reason and science.

But that's the point. We aren't scientific beings and we don't love science. We don't care about bing reasonable or rational. As we've always been as a species, we simply agree with what we find agreeable. If science can "liberate" us from the confines of theology and morality, we suddenly find ourselves in love with science and proclaiming ourselves the most reasonable of people. If science gets in the way of our own personally agendas, however, we with shocking speed find ourselves abandoning our new, second love and proclaiming that science is not, I'm sorry to say, the final measure of all things. How can it possibly be that, when what it tells us is so clearly what we do not want to hear?

And that's why The Assault on Reason is an ironic title, because reason and scientific examination are far removed from Al Gore's political concerns. The science upon which An Inconvenient Truth is based is only half of the story. He has chosen to ignore and alienate a large segment of the scientific community that has deep reservations about the conclusions he is drawing. Instead of promoting scientific inquiry, Al Gore is pushing ahead with shaky science, calling to us with messianic ferocity to change our lives and live according to his own moral standards, which, by the way, is more than he himself is willing to do (just do a quick Google search for Al Gore's house to see what I mean).

Some interesting links:

Doomsday Called Off. A CBC produced documentary focused on the science Al Gore typically ignores. Available on YouTube. A great site that focuses of debunking... well, junk science. Global Warming comes up a lot.