Tuesday 29 December 2009

one hurts, the other's mad

One notable moment in Copenhagen came when Senator James Inhofe, who describes climate change as the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people, was told by a Der Speigel reporter: 'You're ridiculous.'

This puncturing remark suggested it was possible to see the conflict between climate scientists and climate 'sceptics' as a version of the familiar dramatic clash between reality and fantasy. In this case, one view was based on a vast amount of painstakingly-researched peer-reviewed evidence, and the other ... wasn't.

Dramas often show that making the transition from fantasy to reality is a painful process. Escapism is so much more attractive. Climate 'scepticism' is a kind of escapism. We'd all prefer it if we could live in a world where facts didn't intrude too harshly, one that's a little more like the movies.

In Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), these two worlds collide when a movie character steps out of the screen and enters everyday life. In Purple Rose, a waitress Cecilia (Mia Farrow) is in love with this movie character and has to choose between the on-screen character and the off-screen one. Cecilia chooses the latter, but he abandons her.

In a recent collection of interviews, Woody Allen has described this conflict in the movie in typically gloomy terms. He sees the choice between reality and fantasy as a lose-lose situation.

My perception is that you are forced to choose reality over fantasy and reality hurts you in the end, and fantasy is just madness.

pic: Mia Farrow as Cecilia, Purple Rose of Cairo

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