Saturday, May 29, 2004

So I had a flak (short for public-relations pest) call me earlier this week trying to badger us into taking part in a 'teleconference' to deal with the 'important issues' raised by the brain-dead new disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow." I declined, needless to say, since I've got several zillion other things more important at work to do than participate in some special interest press event.

It's funny, though, how a movie like this, which is getting pretty critically panned and comes from the brilliant directors who brought you the philosophical masterpieces "Godzilla" and "Independence Day", has been appropriated by both the right and left as a "hot issue" movie. The movie loosely uses the idea of global warming as a setup for its disaster-movie clich├ęs, but few scientists would say the portrayal here is entirely accurate. To the left, it's a rallying cry even if the movie itself is hokey by-the-numbers garbage, and to the right, it's another one of them "lib'rul conspiracies."

Of course it's entirely possible that all the "hot issue" debates in this movie are actually being force-fed to willing ears through the action of endless flaks whose bottom line is making sure the movie opens to a gazillion dollars this weekend. If the flaks are calling admittedly lower-level newspaper editors in podunk Oregon like me, you know it's a serious campaign. The flaks don't really care about global warming. They care about selling tickets. Unfortunately all the carefully orchestrated press coverage, pro and con, you're seeing of "The Day After Tomorrow" is much more about making money than it is any serious debate. It's public relations masquerading as public information. And that's why I won't waste my time seeing it this weekend.

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