Bit of an argument at dinner last night

So Jerry York is a total global warming skeptic. Doesn’t even try to be polite about it. Just scoffs openly and taunts the shit out of Al Gore — who, as it turns out, is staying with us for a while since he and Tipper are having some problems again. So last night Jerry was in town and came over for dinner and he starts going on to Al about how it must have been pretty embarrassing to have that global warming concert wiped out in South Africa because of record cold temperatures and unprecedented snowfall. He says, You know, Al, I was looking at the climate trend data in South Africa, and one day last week the temperature was fifteen degrees lower than on the same date last year. Which means if this trend continues for another twenty years the average temperature in South Africa will be two hundred degrees below zero all year round, and the country will be covered by an ice sheet fourteen feet thick. Scary, right? I mean, we’ve got to do something!

Al sort of chuckles like he’s already heard this one way too many times and as if Jerry is just some poor retard who doesn’t understand science. He says, Jerry, see, this is why we’re now focusing on climate change rather than global warming. People got this idea about global warming in their heads and that’s really not the problem at all. Some parts of the globe are getting warmer; others are getting colder. It’s the change that we’re focused on, and in particular the severity of that change.

Jerry says, Well, um, excuse me, but if people somehow got the wrong idea that we were supposed to be worried about warming, isn’t that kind of your fault? Because I’m pretty sure you’re the one who got the warming thing going with that movie of yours, talking about how the atmosphere was acting like a greenhouse and the whole planet was getting warmer and warmer. But now if some parts of the globe are getting colder, that kind of destroys the greenhouse metaphor, doesn’t it? I mean, you don’t hear about greenhouses where over in some corner the air’s getting freezing cold, do you?

Al says, I actually never talked about global warming. That’s just not what I said. Jerry says, Actually that is exactly what you said, but anyway, if you’re going to weasel out of it now and talk about climate change, okay, be my guest. But tell me this. If you don’t like change, what are you advocating? That the entire planet’s climate should remain exactly the same forever and ever amen? No change at all in any direction can ever be allowed? Or what is it? We could have a little change, but not too much? How much would be okay? And who’s going to decide this? You? Or some panel at the United Nations? You really think we should get involved in trying to micromanage all these little microclimates and if they’re deviating in any direction, up or down, we’ve got to keep pulling all these levers and changing our behavior trying to just keep the entire planet the same, temperature-wise, for the rest of all time? One year things start to get too warm, we cut back on fossil fuel usage, but then if things get too cold, we do what, we burn more gas or something to try and bring things back to normal? And if Africa’s getting cold while we’re getting warm do we burn more gas in Africa but less gas here or what?

Al says, Jerry, you aren’t seriously suggesting that there’s not a problem, are you? I mean every scientist in the world who’s got half a brain has already signed off on this. I mean, you and I can sit here debating the science till we’re blue in the face but let’s be honest we’re not scientists and we don’t know what we’re talking about.

Jerry says, Well it’s refreshing finally to hear you admit that. Al says, I was talking about you, not me. Jerry says, Well, if you want my opinion I think you just want something big and scary and invisible that you can use to scare the shit out of people and get them whipped up behind some cause. It’s the oldest trick in the book. You create some big terrifying boogeyman. It’s what the Bushies have been doing with the rag-heads. But let’s be honest. Your real cause, at the end of the day, is “Cause I want to be president.” And since we’ve been drinking and since I’m so rich that I don’t give a shit who I offend let me say that I actually feel kind of bad for you, Al. Because you’re basically a nice guy with modest talents and a decent, though not outstanding, brain, and you had all sorts of unrealistic expectations placed upon you and had every advantage given to you but in the end you just didn’t have what it takes to fulfill your father’s ambitions.

Jerry says, It’s tough, I agree, to grow up in a rich Southern family with a daddy who’s a U.S. Senator and who gets you into Congress at 29 and the Senate at 36 and paves the way for you to become president. But eventually you bumped up against your own limitations, and unfortunately you had to do it on the biggest stage in the world, and you failed and got humiliated in the most public way possible. I felt bad for you in 2000 and I feel bad for you now. You had a good run with this global warming thing, and now that half the planet is freezing instead of warming you’re trying to call it climate change, but come on, that’s just clumsy and awkward and it smacks of bad PR — it sounds, in fact, like the kind of “pivot” you used to use in your campaign in 2000. Worse yet, the only thing you can possibly accomplish here is to fuck up our economy while doing nothing about the climate. So please, Al. Go do something else to win your daddy’s love. Lift weights. Make a billion dollars. Grow your hair, buy a guitar and make a rock and roll record. But not this.

By this point Al was in tears. And Jerry goes, You see? You see what I’m saying? How you going to run for president and stand up under that heat when you can’t even take a little crap from me? Jerry says, Steve, what do you think? Am I right or am I right? Don’t you agree? But I just put up my hands and beat feet out of there. The fact is, I love Al Gore. He’s like a brother to me. I think he’d be a great president. And I friggin hate Jerry York. If I didn’t need him to protect me on this SEC thing I’d bounce his ass off the board today.