Movie talk

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

You know people who don’t believe in climate change. You know them for sure, you must. According to the January Harper’s Index, only 70 percent of Americans believe in global warming—and only 48 percent of Republicans so believe. Auntie Ruth has a beloved uncle who falls into the latter camp. Smart guy. Stubborn, too.

But, as compared to the 48 percent of Republicans who don't believe in climate change, Harper's reports that 68 percent of Republicans believe in demonic possession.

Demonic possession has been around as long as God, so it's had more time to hone marketing strategies. But damn: What are the demonic-possession people communicating that we climate changers aren't? Should we pause here? Is this a learning moment?

Auntie Ruth tried a schema: devil > God = climate change > Al Gore. The exercise was not clarifying.

Perhaps we suffer from a failure in cinema.

There are more salable movies on the subject of demonic possession than on climate change. Auntie Ruth consulted with one of her favorite 20-somethings—the expertise of her generation on all this is vast.

Consider the grandmammy of them all, The Exorcist—head spinning, projectile vomiting, priest killing. An Inconvenient Truth didn't have any of that. The scariest moment in AIT was when Al Gore went up on the little riser thingy and pointed at a graph line, but it wasn't Al's safety we worried about at the time. Auntie Ruth was worried about the obliteration of the Bay Area.

OK, OK: recast AIT with Matt Damon playing the Koch brothers. Both of them at the same time—and just to be creepy, join them at the hip. Maybe their heads spin in the same direction at the same time, kind of like ZZ Top's guitars. And then they spin in different directions at the same time. That would be pretty scary. And Al can just, oh, work around them.

Based on Auntie Ruth's exhaustive research into movie trailers, the similarities between demonic possession and climate change are many: It storms a lot in these flicks. There's no escape. It scares the bejesus out of you. And at some point, a priest says, “It has begun.”

Maybe we don't have a cinema problem at all, other than we spend too much time at the movies. And no happyish ending to climate change is guaranteed, eh?