Al Gore Is Fat, Therefore Global Warming Doesn't Exist
April 12, 2013 9:42 AM   Subscribe

When conservative pundits write about climate change, they're more likely to mention Al Gore than science.
posted by kuujjuarapik (64 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Al Gore is certainly something of a recurring theme in these newspaper cartoons...
posted by lucien_reeve at 9:45 AM on April 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


They're also more likely to mention 14th century guilds, the mating habits of the yellow necked hummingbird, and the relative merits of the different flavors of UNIX.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:46 AM on April 12, 2013 [14 favorites]


It's the "Al Gore invented the Internet" joke for the fascist classes.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:47 AM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sigh.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:47 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hurf durf he's fat, lol, therefore climate change is a myth.

You can't argue with that logic.
posted by tommasz at 9:48 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


“I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change, and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:49 AM on April 12, 2013


When you can't pound the law, pound the table.

When you can't pound the climate change science, pound the bogeyman.
posted by jaduncan at 9:50 AM on April 12, 2013


Oceans continue to warm, especially the deeps
posted by Artw at 9:53 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be fair, when liberals talk about the Middle East they're much more likely to mention Bush than the Book of Revelations. So it all kind of evens out.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:55 AM on April 12, 2013 [15 favorites]


Navelgazer, Gore didn't choose to invade the arctic with space heaters, and Bush didn't merely indicate that there was a war in Iraq. There is that little matter of causal connections to consider.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:00 AM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


You'd be amazed at how common a meme "ManBearPig" has become in comment sections, in spite of it being terribly unfunny.
And I dont mean its not funny because its shocking or goes too far or whathaveyou. I mean the mechanism by which humor occurs is nowhere present in its DNA.
Its baffling to me.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:01 AM on April 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


To be fair, when liberals talk about the Middle East they're much more likely to mention Bush than the Book of Revelations. So it all kind of evens out.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:55 AM on April 12 [1 favorite +] [!]


Is this satire?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:02 AM on April 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


But, but, scientists used to believe in global cooling!! They don't know what they're saying!

Oh, we didn't mean you, scientists developing prescription drugs and life-saving treatments for old people. You're not like those other scientists. Please keep our voters alive!
posted by almostmanda at 10:06 AM on April 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


clearly it's satire.

"Lighten up, Francis." is more than just a pithy one-liner from an old Bill Murray movie. It's a manual for life.
posted by notyou at 10:08 AM on April 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Sad to see the truth of that quote played out over and over again.
posted by Mooski at 10:09 AM on April 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


...when liberals talk about the Middle East they're much more likely to mention Bush than the Book of Revelations.

I dunno. Anti-christ, whore of Babylon, etc.
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the article:
One of the most striking examples came from Ann Coulter, who wrote in a column in early 2007:
The only place Al Gore conserves energy these days is on the treadmill. I don't want to suggest that Al's getting big, but the last time I saw him on TV I thought, "That reminds me—we have to do something about saving the polar bears."

Never mind his carbon footprint—have you seen the size of Al Gore's regular footprint lately? It's almost as deep as Janet Reno's.
She was on a roll! Not only did Ann mock Gore, she tossed in Janet Reno, and the the (later verified) drowning polar bear scientific article/topic. She should really think of taking her act on the road. She could probably get that guy with the "dead terrorist" puppet to open for her.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:13 AM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can use this fat hominem attack on 70% of all Americans.

Spread it around like butter.
posted by srboisvert at 10:15 AM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Al Gore is certainly something of a recurring theme in these newspaper cartoons...

Weird. Mixed in with all the "hurf durf" cartoons is this one, which is either a really subtle way of marking the whole thing as satire, or just went totally over the head of the blogger.
posted by bjrubble at 10:16 AM on April 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Current US Senator Al Franken wrote a book called "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot" and it wasn't exactly boiling over with erudite arguments...so fake outrage continues to be fake outrage.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:19 AM on April 12, 2013


Your logical fallacy is ad hominem.
posted by Chuffy at 10:21 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


uh,

I read Franken's book. Which was a comedy book, albeit about politics.

Where was the outrage in Franken's book and why was it fake?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:22 AM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Agreed, Franken made fat jokes about Limbaugh, but he was mostly devoted to calling out his lies as lies and backing up his own claims. If Coulter et. al. are doing that I haven't seen it.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:23 AM on April 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible...

The Story of Noah: It is impossible to read this story or to hear this story or to tell this story without very clearly understanding that this story is saying that: 1) humans are uniquely capable of destroying all of creation; and 2) humans are uniquely responsible to care for all of creation.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:24 AM on April 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have no opinion on whether or not it was boiling over with erudite arguments, as I have not read it, but regarding the title, Franken has actually directly said that it was intentionally meant to mock Limbaugh's means of debate.

Also, in fairness, Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot
posted by Flunkie at 10:25 AM on April 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


My point was that people who are outraged by "Al Gore is fat and so global warming isn't true" are faking it just as much as the people who are outraged by "Rush Limbaugh is fat so his political opinions are invalid"
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:25 AM on April 12, 2013


Confess, Fletch: "Current US Senator Al Franken wrote a book called "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot" and it wasn't exactly boiling over with erudite arguments...so fake outrage continues to be fake outrage."

what does this even mean.

are you even trying
posted by boo_radley at 10:25 AM on April 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


My point was that people who are outraged by "Al Gore is fat and so global warming isn't true" are faking it just as much as the people who are outraged by "Rush Limbaugh is fat so his political opinions are invalid"

Zero people have claimed that Rush Limbaugh is wrong because he is fat.
posted by almostmanda at 10:29 AM on April 12, 2013 [15 favorites]


"My point was that people who are outraged by ""

No one is outraged.

We are just pointing out that conservative media pundits are more interested in making fun of Al Gore then they are engaging with the issue of global warming.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:29 AM on April 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Franken has said that he chose to make the book's title an ad hominem attack as "an ironic comment on the fact that Rush makes ad hominem attacks all the time"
Do Coulter et al admit that they are deliberately engaging in ad hominems for the purpose of entertaining their viewers? Are they doing it as a means of demonstrating that Al Gore engages in ad hominem attacks? Should we compare a work of political humor to what Coulter does? Would she agree with that assessment? Would her viewers?
posted by muddgirl at 10:34 AM on April 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Big fat idiot" is not necessarily focused on the weight of the "idiot" in question, unlike jokes about the size of Al Gore's physical footprint. It's like calling someone a "big fat liar." The emphasis is on how much they lie, not really their weight. As noted above, Franken was playing Limbaugh's game against him (Google books preview).

Also I rather doubt that Coulter and others spend much time or money on fact checkers, as compared to Franken (Google books preview).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:42 AM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


See also: If Global Warming Is Real Why Is It So Cold.
posted by kaisemic at 10:51 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Celsius1414: It's the "Al Gore invented the Internet" joke for the fascist classes.
"Al Gore invented the Internet" is also their joke... because they are a subset of Idiots Who Mock Things They Haven't A Clue About.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:54 AM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Confess, Fletch: My point was that people who are outraged by "Al Gore is fat and so global warming isn't true" are faking it just as much as the people who are outraged by "Rush Limbaugh is fat so his political opinions are invalid"
Except that the latter group is fictitious, invented by you just now.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:57 AM on April 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


Nice "Both sides do it!" there, Fletch.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:00 AM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Al Gore is indisputably fat. Tell a truth before you spread a lie and people take the credibility from the former and apply it to the later lie.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:03 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Al Gore is indisputably fat.

This is fat? By American standards?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:06 AM on April 12, 2013


uh, no. This is fat.
posted by GrooveJedi at 11:07 AM on April 12, 2013


I wonder if he still gets McDonalds post-jog?

This is not a slam, I just looooove that picture
posted by troika at 11:09 AM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is it just me, or does Al Gore get drawn with a stereotypical "evil Jewish nose" a lot in political cartoons?
posted by ODiV at 11:22 AM on April 12, 2013


My point was that people who are outraged by "Al Gore is fat and so global warming isn't true" are faking it just as much as the people who are outraged by "Rush Limbaugh is fat so his political opinions are invalid"

False equivalence. More accurate would be "Al Gore is fat and so global warming isn't true" = "Rush Limbaugh is fat so vaccines cause autism."

Because the thing with the climate denialists is that they argue - smug as all fuck, I've sat through a half-dozen lectures of this type - that because Gore is fat or politically suspect or has a beard or overstated a few things in his PowerPoint, the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change is invalid. Al Gore is not a climate scientist; Rush Limbaugh is a bloviator of uninformed political opinions. See the difference there?
posted by gompa at 11:49 AM on April 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


They lead with an Ann Coulter piece published six years ago? How long has this been in the hopper?
posted by IndigoJones at 11:57 AM on April 12, 2013


Gore's Law: "As an online climate change debate grows longer, the probability that denier arguments will descend into attacks on Al Gore approaches one."

I like to refer to it as argumentum al gorum.
posted by JHarris at 12:00 PM on April 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Rush Limbaugh is fat so vaccines cause autism."

This is so much funnier if mistakenly read as "Rush Limbaugh is so fat vaccines cause autism."
posted by Navelgazer at 12:33 PM on April 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


It's the "Al Gore invented the Internet" joke for the fascist classes.

"Al Gore invented the Internet" is also their joke... because they are a subset of Idiots Who Mock Things They Haven't A Clue About.


I've always responded to that particular quip thusly, "If Vint and Bob credit Al Gore as the 'Politician Most Responsible for The Internet As We Know It, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO DISAGREE?"

The response "Vint and Bob? Who are they?" illustrates their cluelessness.
posted by mikelieman at 12:47 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you follow the social science research on American's trust in science, you will see that there was a national consensus on placing great faith in science in the 1970s, and that this has remained constant for liberals and moderates, but has declined significantly among conservatives.

Part of this is a rejection of the whole Enlightenment ideal of rationalism/empiricism among religious conservatives. This is nothing new (but was perhaps superceded during the 1940s-1960s when patriotism and scientific progress were so strongly linked in the public imagination by the Bomb, the space program, etc.). Religious conservatives tend to reject science to the degree it is framed as countering Biblical literalism.

What is new is that among neoliberal conservatives, science is embraced in the industrial realm, but rejected wherever it links to regulatory policies--and the more educated a neoliberal is, the more strongly that person is likely to reject science that links with regulation, such as climate science. This is purely political: anti-science as a form of rhetoric, deployed to support the economic interests of business class. It seems to a large degree cynical to me--a tactic for generating mass conservative support in order to benefit the few, who themselves actually rely upon and trust science implicitly when it comes to inventing new products, treatments, etc. that can be made profitable.
posted by DrMew at 12:48 PM on April 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well I guess Al Gore got what he wanted: his name associated with the fight against Global Warming.
posted by grahamsletter at 2:09 PM on April 12, 2013


Yeah, like the Peace Prize and Oscar winning documentary didn't do that already.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:14 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's what I meant. Al Gore wants to be the Guy who Helped Stop Climate Change. He wants accolades and a legacy. But his motivations aside, he did/is doing good work.
posted by grahamsletter at 2:17 PM on April 12, 2013


Al Gore wants to be the Guy who Helped Stop Climate Change. He wants accolades and a legacy.

What makes you think that? I'm pretty sure he just wants to be a guy who helps stop climate change.
posted by troika at 3:27 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty skeptical of politicians' motives in general, but Al Gore is one who gives me that sort of vibe.

Whether I assume he's in it for the social capital or that he's in it because he's just such a good guy, I'm still making an assumption. I wouldn't put any weight on it or use my hunch for anything, like I wouldn't go out of my way to not donate to an Al Gore global warming fund (if I had money to donate), but I can still be skeptical.
posted by grahamsletter at 3:44 PM on April 12, 2013


Being a Republican is solely and entirely about projecting disdain onto outsiders.

(It's the only way they can tell who they are, anymore, given the record of folks like Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, et al in the Bush era).

"Al Gore is fat" is a convincing argument among conservatives.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:47 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Polar Distress
posted by homunculus at 3:54 PM on April 12, 2013


I'm pretty skeptical of politicians' motives in general, but Al Gore is one who gives me that sort of vibe.

Gotcha. I don't mean to discount your feelings - I just wasn't sure he hadn't said something, been caught on tape, etc revealing ulterior motives.
posted by troika at 4:00 PM on April 12, 2013


We interrupt this thread to point out that Mother Jones is holding a fundraiser. Consider chipping in $5 on behalf of the 47%.
posted by moorooka at 6:23 PM on April 12, 2013


Al Gore was pretty heavily invested in Green Energy. Dunno if that's still the case.

But that would be an example of the American System working as its designers hoped (or said they hoped) it would (private gain aligned with public good).
posted by notyou at 6:52 PM on April 12, 2013


Being a Republican is solely and entirely about projecting disdain onto outsiders.


Being a partisan is solely and entirely about projecting disdain unto outsiders. That's one of the things that happens when you let that partisan label become such a central part of your identity that the label becomes more important than the ideas that are (or were) associated with it.

Case in point: global warming. Carbon taxes are an idea derived from the writings of Charles Pigou, a conservative. How conservative? He was the "outdated economist" that John Maynard Keynes was hinting at in his General Theory. So pretty damned conservative. Cap&trade is also hatched from the right wing. 20 years ago, columnists in the National Review were writing about both policy ideas, and mocking Democrats for speaking of pollution reduction in terms of government fiat, while they, the conservatives, were speaking of specific ways to bring it about. (A silly piece of rhetoric, but that's political bloviation for you.)

How else to address global warming? Oh, yes, infrastructure reform. Where once again, user fees, be they for gas, mileage, or congestion charges, are meant to discourage driving, and other forms of transportation are to receive the same level of subsidy as driving instead of being treated as red headed stepchildren. Since such policies stand to undo the gutting of AMerica's cities in the 1960's, they amount to another form of turning back the clock. So we're talking about market-based policies and turning back the clock, both of which are ideas that are inherently appealing to conservatives.

Well, president Obama stole all these ideas. I say this, as probably the most right-leaning MeFite, to praise Obama. Mediocre politicians borrow ideas. Good ones steal them.

The ideas are gone. All that's left is the label. And so you see this disgusting behavior from the republicans. Me? I care about the ideas. I'll wear the R label again when it stands for something besides running cap in hand to the Koch brothers and acting like middle schoolers. Just don't think this kind of failing doesn't happen on the left. It does. And it will again.
posted by ocschwar at 7:14 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rush Limbaugh routinely shines the light of truth into rooms darkened by stereotype. For example, he wrapped some Percocets in bacon, sat down on the common portrayal of opiod addicts as emaciated, and crushed it.
posted by kengraham at 7:19 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Confess Fletch: Franken's books have provocative titles, but are quite well researched political humor.
posted by grudgebgon at 8:11 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, Michael Moore is fat, so anything he's ever said is wrong.
posted by emjaybee at 9:32 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just don't think this kind of failing doesn't happen on the left. It does. And it will again.

Oh, for sure. It's just rather new in US history for pure partisanship to constitute 100% of what a party has to offer-- which is where we are with today's GOP. Hasn't ever been thus, shall not ever be thus, but it's where we are for now. It's rather a suboptimal state of affairs.

(And I can't see how the GOP gets out from under it anytime soon. In a party based entirely on identity politics, criticizing the party's stances (well, more accurately, attitudes) is proof positive that you're not really conservative enough. It's going to take some more electoral thrashings before they can begin to come to terms with the fact that the problem isn't their marketing, it's their worldview and their message).
posted by ibmcginty at 4:47 AM on April 13, 2013


I'm curious about why the "Al Gore is fat", or just as often "because Al Gore!!" thing is seen as any kind of contribution to a discussion. I always though it was just a dog whistle for the believers. Or maybe it's one of those phatic elements like

"Fuck." "Al Gore."

"I know! Fuckin' A. " Al Gore anyway!"

"I hear you Man."

"Fucking Al Gore."

"I know, right?"

"ALGORE!"

This is partly because you see Al Gore held up up in exactly the same way here in Canada, where it makes quite a bit less sense in terms of actual argument (although we're happy to have the Internet too...). Here we have David Suzuki, who gets more or less the same treatment as "Nutzuki", but I don't think it's as effective because he's not a politician. He may not be fat, either , but I understand he has flown somewhere in the last 20 years, so he really IS the Satan of GloBULL Warming.
posted by sneebler at 7:15 AM on April 13, 2013


No one is outraged.

We are just pointing out that conservative media pundits are more interested in making fun of Al Gore then they are engaging with the issue of global warming.


To be fair, I am pretty outraged. And increasingly so. Roughly half the members of the political class have decided that they can't be bothered to have an honest discussion about the most serious threat humanity faces today.

People ought to be outraged at this behavior. It is incredibly irresponsible, harmful, and stupid.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:42 AM on April 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Mind Of The Climate-Shange Skeptic
More recently, we have conducted a series of studies corroborating the hypothesis that system justification motivates skepticism about climate change. Specifically, we have found that the denial of environmental problems is facilitated by information-processing distortions associated with system justification that affect evaluation, recall, and even tactile perception (Hennes, Feygina, & Jost, 2011). In one study, we found that individuals who scored higher (vs. lower) on Jost and Thompson’s (2000) Economic System Justification scale (which measures responses to such statements as “If people work hard, they almost always get what they want,” and “It is unfair to have an economic system which produces extreme wealth and extreme poverty at the same time,” reverse-scored) found messages disparaging the case for global warming to be more persuasive, evaluated the evidence for global warming to be weaker, and expressed less willingness to take action to curb global warming.
via The Situationist
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:54 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


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