Tuesday, July 18, 2006

'Inconvenient Truth' Producers' Desperate Ad: A Tract for the Religion of Liberalism

by L.N. Smithee
July 18, 2006

Although it is far from the overwhelming box office success of Michael Moore's factually-challenged "documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11, Al Gore and producer Laurie David's glorified campaign ad/PowerPoint presentation An Inconvenient Truth is a hit...for a documentary. This is not surprising, because few documentaries have the backing that this one does: it stars a nationally known figure in former Vice President Al Gore (who, remember, got the majority of votes cast nationwide in the 2000 election), is co-produced by a well-known celebrity spouse (Laurie David, wife of professional schlemiel Larry David and a quasi-environmentalist who loves those fuel-burning private jets), and it is distributed by a major Hollywood studio (Paramount Pictures).

In limited release May 28, 2006, Inconvenient grossed $367,311. In expanded release a weekend later (June 4), it brought in an impressive $1,356,387, a per screen average of $17,615.42. Not Fahrenheit or Bowling For Columbine money, but not bad at all.

Unfortunately for the backers of Inconvenient, that was the high-water mark, if you will pardon the expression. It was flooded into cinemas across America in the next three weeks, from 77 theaters on June 4 to 587 on July 2, and while overall box office numbers were higher, the amount of viewers per screen plummeted. By the weekend of July 2, Inconvenient had been lost and forgotten among summer blockbusters; it was bringing in a paltry $2,879 per screen.

In preparation for the July 7-9 weekend, the Inconvenient print ad took on a cry of desperation. This is what I saw when I opened the San Jose Mercury News on Friday, July 7 (click to enlarge):

I am not a rubber stamp for conservative pundit Ann Coulter, whose opinions I more than frequently agree with, but whose rhetoric is oftentimes downright cruel. But she got one thing absolutely accurate with the subtitle of her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Liberalism -- and its pet causes -- are practiced by its devotees like the religion they fear and despise in their ideological opposites.

If you don't get my point, try this: read the ad above again, and this time, instead of the words 'An Inconvenient Truth', imagine the words 'The Passion of the Christ.' Instead of the word "documentary," imagine the word "motion picture." Imagine the word "Washington" was the word "Hollywood," and the words "dismiss this as a fringe issue" were "dismiss us as religious fanatics." Instead of the words "global warming," imagine the word "Christianity." Instead of the words "the planet's favor," imagine the words "God's favor." Instead of the words "defending the only home we will ever know," imagine "saving the only soul you will ever have."

Who thinks that an ad like that for The Passion of the Christ would run without controversy?

Is there something intrinsically wrong with the language used by the backers of Inconvenient? I don't think so -- unless they are the type that hold deeply religious people in contempt because of their certainty about their beliefs, or about the importance of evangelism and -- yes, in their words, conversion -- in order to save the lives of others.

By the way: The secular evangelism didn't help matters at the box office. Inconvenient's numbers dropped again! On the weekend of July 7-9 -- presuming none of the 587 theaters dropped it -- the movie only garnered $1998.27 per screen. Maybe the suggested act of 'converting others' goes against the grain of the movie's target audience so deeply, they couldn't bring themselves to 'make [others] see it."


Monday, June 26, 2006

"The Truth" About Gary DeBusk's World Wide "Web of Deceit"

Just so there is no misunderstanding; Gary DeBusk, a gay Tallahassee, FL pastor who has posted on the Internet the names and addresses of Floridians who have signed a petition in favor of a ballot measure defining marriage in that state as being between one man and one woman, was indeed arrested in a sting operation (or, as he puts it, "entrapment") conducted in a known "cruise spot," i.e. a place where men engage in anonymous public sexual acts.

I noted in a Free Republic post on June 24, 2006 that DeBusk acknowledged in his own bio as recently as April 24, 2006 that his cruising arrest was the impetus for the ending of his twenty-two year marriage, and linked to Google's archived snapshot of the Christ Church of Peace website to prove it. However, by the early morning of June 26, 2006, the link to the archived page with the disclosure about DeBusk's arrest had been updated, so now the link goes to his new, revised bio, which acknowledges that DeBusk 'frequented' cruise sites while he was "coping with his sexual repression," but doesn't mention that he was arrested.

It's interesting, is it not, that a man who would proudly use the Internet to expose thousands of people exercising their right to engage in the initiative process to ridicule and harassment would use his own website to hide details of his own history, especially since this was not previously his modus operandi.

Why did the archived page suddenly change from the April 2006 edition with the confession of DeBusk's cruising arrest to the June 2006 edition in which the arrest is not mentioned? It's hard to know for sure. DeBusk has no control over the Google snapshot that is archived when you do a search for his name or the Christ Church of Peace. It's possible that DeBusk contacted Google and requested that a more recent snapshot be taken so that the revised, cleansed page would turn up in a search. But the only ones who could know if that happened would be DeBusk or Google, and it's doubtful either would be forthcoming (especially Google, which has been haughtily dismissive of those criticizing it for failing to live up to its lofty corporate self-image).

Most puzzling of all is how a pastor would just change gears and cover up his past when he preached something completely different. This is a sermon DeBusk gave July 17, 2005 called "The Truth Will Make You Free";

...[W]hen one tells the truth it keeps one from getting caught up in the web of deceit. Lying leads to cover-up; which is deceit. It is the cover-up, the deceit, that generally gets people into trouble. Clear examples of this are Presidents Nixon and Clinton—due to cover up one had to resign and one was impeached. The truth could have set them free! Would there have been consequences to the truth? Yes! But I do not believe as severe as the consequences of cover-up. When will people ever learn that it is better to deal with the consequences of truth than it is to deal with the consequences of lying? “The truth shall make you free.”
Now, let me be clear: I am not accusing DeBusk of lying. He has said clearly and openly in the past that he was arrested for cruising (although he says he was "entrapped"). But in not being open as he previously was about that fact, it clear that he feels he needs to hide it. Why? Only the pastor himself could answer -- but perhaps he, after making a decision to invite scrutiny of the public record of thousands of Floridians, didn't want to invite scrutiny of public records regarding himself.

In the interest of full disclosure, which Pastor DeBusk doesn't seem to be interested in, here is a snapshot of the same bio that I linked to in my Free Republic post from a site called ZoomInfo. Archived on ZoomInfo on the fateful day of September 11, 2001, it can be found at this URL:

Click to enlarge the image.

Here is the page with the font size increased for easier reading: