Who wants to spend a beautiful summer evening inside an overly-air conditioned concert hall listening to a washed up politico, some gadget nerds, a NASA guy and a couple of Hollywood producers talk about the environment? Apparently, everybody. WIRED Magazine threw just such an event in New York City last night, occasioned by this week's release of Al Gore's global warming doc, An Inconvenient Truth, and judging by the clamoring crowds that spilled out of Town Hall onto 43rd street as far down as 6th Ave fifteen minutes before showtime, it was the hottest ticket in town. Boldfaced names in attendance reportedly included director Darren Aronofsky and his Oscar-winning baby mama Rachel Weisz, and Chelsea Clinton, who Gore took pains to point to from the stage as "a friend of the family".
But if we're talking about "hot" -- and, considering the bounty of temperature-related puns the topic at hand brings to the table, we most definitely are -- could anyone hotter have been in attendance than the guest of honor himself? Though it's way too early for it to mean anything (or, at least, for it to mean anything good), the liberal media is currently under the spell of a debilitating case of Gore Fever, They've got it bad, got it bad, got it bad - they're hot for an aging also-ran who won't even admit to thinking about running for President in 2008. Or maybe they're just, understandably, hot for the idea that liberal passion could actually mean something again. Or maybe -- and this is the one I'd like to believe -- we're talking about social movement that ostensibly thrives on dissent; Gore not only stands for the opposite of everything the current administration has come to represent, he's also the Anti-Hillary. You don't have to know much about global warming to warm to the appeal of the presumptive Democratic nominee's polar opposite.
The evening certainly wasn't billed as Al Gore's Coming Out Party -- in his opening remarks, WIRED editor Chris Anderson labeled the event as a celebration of "a new kind of environmentalist" he called the Neo-Green, a gadget-savvy do-over of the spacey hippie drip of olde, one "that realizes that technology doesn't only create problems - it solves them." But from the standing ovation that met the Vice President's entrance, to the thunderous applause with which the audience punctuated his every minor point, it was clear that the mass assembled were there to hear a statement of intent.
They didn't quite get that, but most in attendance seemed happy enough with what they did get. At the very least, the event showcased an Al Gore to which jokes involving the words "bore" or "snore" did not apply. At most, it was a chance to contemplate a rabblerouser in the body of an elder statesman, and that in itself was a spectacle rare enough to rouse my interest.