Saving the planet has never been such a thankless task. It began with the demonization of Al Gore, continued with the railroading of Van Jones, and now it’s trickled down to James Cameron, whose eco-minded Avatar is drawing the Right’s wrath.
One pundit dismissed the film as “socialism-disguised-as-nonsense enviro stuff,” and in the same motion dismissed the whole green movement as straight-up fraud.
“They get rich off of it,” author John Nolte said, “but they don’t believe in it.” He then offers the “Malibu mansion-dwelling” Cameron’s “jet set lifestyle” and “carbon-spewing profession” as proof, advising readers to “look how the experts’ live.”
This argument is just about as weak as they come. At worst, Cameron’s lifestyle leaves him open to charges of hypocrisy. It does not (and cannot) change the empirical proof of climate science. If the Surgeon General of the United States starts smoking, it doesn’t mean tobacco is safe. If my dentist neglects to brush his teeth, I still need to worry about cavities.
But even these analogies are too generous. The bottom line is that Mr. Cameron is a director. He makes movies, and his latest movie happens to carry an environmental message. That the opposition would (mis)characterize him as an “expert” shows how weak its position is. And Cameron agrees.
“I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads,” he said. “Anybody that is a global-warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their ass I’m not sure they could hear me.”
No doubt this will bring a fresh round of abuse from the right, which I suspect will bother Cameron very little. Some flak is to be expected when you’re waging a war on climate change.
“At this point I’m less interested in making money for the movie and more interested in saving the world that my children are going to inhabit” Cameron said. “How about that?”
That sounds pretty good. Just don’t expect anyone to thank you for it.
- Lance Steagall
Photo: James Cameron and leading man Sam Worthington on the set of Avatar (via Slashfilm)