Apocalyptic and millenarian prophecy has been around since the time of Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather. But it is a risky business. Exasperation with Old Testament prophets became so intense their claims were compared to the “babbling of fools and children”: a cautionary lesson for prognosticators – especially climate alarmists and eco-disaster producers.
Hollywood has had a long affair with biblical epics and disaster movies. In the beginning was the wordless output of Cecil B DeMille (1881-1959). His first version of The Ten Commandments was released in 1923. The King of Kings, a film about Jesus Christ, followed in 1927; then The Sign of the Cross (1932) and Cleopatra (1934). DeMille’s most successful film, The Ten Commandments, was released on November 8, 1956, being a partial remake of his 1923 silent version. Filmed in Egypt, Mount Sinai and the Sinai Peninsula, it won seven Oscars, including special effects.
DeMille was involved with a darker epic, too — helping to propagate the Red Scare in the 1950s. Quite a few show-biz types were “outed” for allegedly being closet-communists. Today’s eco-epic crowd propagate the Green Scare, with climate “deniers” and “contrarians” as the villains. Both Darren Aronovsky’s $125 million-plus Noah (premiered worldwide on March 28) and James Cameron’s $20 million Years of Living Dangerously nine-part series (US cable Showtime Sundays, premiered on April 13) – sans a title hat-tip to the late Christopher Koch — try to constellate fears of annihilation: the former with a deluge in CGI (computer-generated imagery), the latter with a celebrity cast keen to save humanity from itself.
Meanwhile, Captain America is gazumping both at the box-office. Fighting other foes is more fun, apparently, than a climate-crusade with a bunch of other comicbook heroes.
Noah exited Weekend Box Office’s top 5 in mid-April to sixth spot, with God’s Not Dead seventh. It will still be a big success. As of April 24, Box Office Mojo ranked Noah ninth, with total US domestic earnings of $95 million and “total lifetime grosses” worldwide of $302 million. Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains in the top spot, with worldwide earnings of twice that figure, $ 614 million.
Set in a “time when wickedness was so great in the world, so was the response,” Aronovsky’s eco-parable portrays Noah – played by a deeply troubled Russell Crowe — as the “world’s first environmentalist”. He has been chosen by “The Creator” – no mention of God – to protect the “innocents of creation” (the animals) from a BIG extreme weather event (EWE) designed to destroy humankind.
And it came to pass that the Contrarians were multiplying on the face of Gaia, and there was fear among the Alarmists and Zealots throughout the land.
The Creator saw all the wickedness – and wackiness – that was on Gaia. And it grieved him in His heart. He tore out some of His finite hair.
And He said: “I will destroy man whom I have created on the face of Gaia.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of The Creator (Genesis 6:1-8).
He commanded him to make an ark, and fill it with two of every living thing (Genesis 6:11-22) but not with any other descendant of Adam and Eve except for Noah and his family; because he was a just man who walked with The Creator.
And Noah lived after the Flood three hundred and fifty years. All his days were nine hundred and fifty years, yet he celebrated not one Earth Hour. But plant a vineyard he did, and drunk of the wine and became uncovered in his tent.
Visually impressive, according to a BBC Radio 4 interviewer, but she “could have done without dialogue much of the time. Are there words to match the world being submerged” by fifteen (plus) cubits of water? (One biblical cubit is about 450 mm.)
BBC: Was the environmental aspect something you wanted consciously to highlight, because it is not particularly there usually in retellings of the Noah story?
Darren Aronovsky: But it is there. He’s saving the animals, for goodness sake. If that’s not an ecological message, then….He’s not saving all the innocent human babies that are out there. He’s saving the animals” – not the human ‘corrupters of the Earth. (5.45min.) … What is so interesting about the Noah story is that it is mythical. It is a cautionary tale; one written long ago. Yet here we are today and the UN [IPCC] releases a statement about how we are in a very, very critical time and the water is rising. I mean … the irony of it. Being here right now able to talk to you [about it] is just insane.” (7.14min.) … This film needs to be marketed because the expectation out there is it’s a nursery rhyme, and that’s not the story in the Book”.
And The Creator said to Prophet Al-Gore: “Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?”
And Prophet Al-Gore said to The Creator: “I see the wickedness of Man is great within Gaia and it grieves me in my heart.”
And The Creator said: “Fear not, for as long as I am the Way, you will be The Inconvenient Truth for all the days of your life.”
And he went out from the presence of The Creator, and dwelt in the land of Sod-It, to the east of Eco-Eden.
Albert Arnold Gore is also a big fan of Noah. With an “unshakeable belief in God as creator” and the “revelatory power in the world”, Gore was struck by how many Judeo-Christian prophecies used images of environmental destruction to warn of transgressions against God’s will.
“Noah is commanded by God to take into his ark at least two of every living species in order to save them from the Flood,” Gore explained in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance. This was “a commandment that might appear in modern form as: Thou shalt preserve biodiversity. Indeed, does God’s instruction have new relevance for those who share Noah’s faith in this time of another worldwide catastrophe, this time one of our own creation?”
For those who believe in the literal truth of the Bible, it is hard to read about the predictions of hurricanes fifty percent stronger than the worst ones today, due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases that we have fostered, without recalling the prophecy of Hosea: ‘They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind’.”
— Al Gore, 1992
Like many eco-priests, Gore wants a new religion, an “environmentalism of the spirit”: “But for the separation of science and religion, we might not be pumping so much gaseous chemical waste into the atmosphere and threatening the destruction of the Earth’s climate balance” (page 257). The battle to restore this alleged balance could be won and a “ecological holocaust” avoided -but only by transforming ploughshares into carbon credits, re-sanctifying the Earth, identifying it as God’s creation, and accepting our responsibilities to protect and defend it.
Nietzsche has a different perspective. Do not, he warned, be taken in by “the theologian’s trick” of mingling scientific knowledge with superstition. Religion and real science “live on different stars.” Religion should not pass itself off as science. Conversely, (post-modern) science should resist the temptation to proselytise – or allow “a religious comet to trail off into the darkness, making suspicious everything about itself that it presents as science” — especially where its arguments lack clarity or evidence (Human, All too Human, 1878, section 3, 110).
The Gore-Aronovsky nexus prompts this question: Was he – and perhaps Secretary of State John Kerry– involved in some way with the $125 million epic? Kerry, the wealthiest US Senator, also wants a UN climate change agreement in Paris next year. He met his second wife, Teresa Simões-Ferreira Heinz, a former UN interpreter, at a 1990 Earth Day rally and again at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Seven years ago, they released: This Moment on Earth: Today’s New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future. “The environment brought them together, and together they have brought out a book on the environment,” wrote a reviewer on March 30, 2007.
It came to pass that their spirits were troubled, so they sent for all the Alarmists and Zealots in the land of Sod-It.
And The Creator said to Prophet James: “Wherefore look ye so sadly today?
And Prophet James said to Him: “We have dreamed a dark dream, but there is no interpreter of it amongst us.”
And The Creator said: “Do not interpretations belong to me? Did I not form you the dust in the ground? Are the laws of heaven not my laws? Are its changes not my changes?
And a great silence fell upon them, and there was much gnashing of teeth and lamentation in the land of Sod-it.
James Cameron’s YOLD is described here as a “groundbreaking documentary event series that explores the human impact of climate change”. It “combines the blockbuster storytelling styles of top Hollywood movie makers [Cameron’s oeuvre includes Terminator, Titanic, Avatar] with the reporting expertise of Hollywood’s brightest stars and today’s most respected journalists.”
Cameron’s Law: Every regional or global calamity is – by definition – caused by dangerous anthropogenic climate change (aka global warming), from the current conflict in Syria to drought in North America, an alleged sea-level rise in Kiritimati and so on.
Paradoxically, the first three episodes of the “biggest story of our time” have struggled to attract viewers, despite a “future-is-now” and “over-the-edge” urgency. So why is the series adrift in the docu-doldrums, given the pulling-power of Harrison Ford (with earring) and the YOLD team? (Episode 1 can be viewed here. A review by Lubos Motl is here.)
Perhaps US cable audiences feel duped: instead of a balanced account of a controversial subject, they have been served a “wailing-in all-the-streets” remake of Jeremiah’s Lamentations. The team, including billionaire co-producer Jeremy Grantham, presumably wanted more celebrity moralising and less CGI.
Jeremiad, n.,1. Late 18th century: from French jérémiade, from Jérémie ‘Jeremiah’, from ecclesiastical Latin Jeremias, with reference to Lamentations of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. 2. Long, mournful complaint or lamentation; a list of woes; eg: “the jeremiads of puritan preachers warned of moral decay”; “there is not only irony but danger in offering such a public jeremiad against jeremiads”. 3. A mode of discourse that urges folk to change their ways to avert or avoid threatened changes or upheavals, such as the allegedly “dangerous” consequences of anthropogenic climate change and global warming. See scare-mongering.
Perhaps they do not accept the “conservative projections [not predictions] by the world’s leading scientists” that unless anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, in 2100 North America will be like Phoenix, Arizona (10.00 min.)
Perhaps they read US climate scientist Judith Curry’s Climate Science and the Uncertainty Monster and What we know posts – or Dr David Whitehouse on climate models behaving badly – and switched channels. Or perhaps they could not reconcile Harrison Ford’s “things-have-got-to be-done-now” concern about Indonesian forest fires and relentless spread of palm oil plantations with his lavish lifestyle and frequent flying. Ford remarks at the beginning of this official YOLD promotional video that he needed something outside of himself “to believe in” and “found a kind of God in Nature”.
Perhaps they noticed there was no mention of population growth. Yet in 1950, there were only 80 million people in Indonesia, today there are 245 million. By 2050, it could be the world’s fifth-largest country,with over 300 million inhabitants – on a planet with at least nine billion.
Perhaps they were too stunned by “evangelical climate scientist” Catharine “of course God’s in control” Hayhoe’s attempts “to explain climate change to people of faith” (38.37 min.) – “I had never heard of climate change until I heard Catharine. Wow!” — For is there not something odd about a scientist trying to convert Texas Christians to the Cargo Cult of Climate Alarmism?
Contrarians interested in self-preservation, nevertheless, should not miss episode 3, where Chris Hayes goes “shadowing a climate sceptic”.
Given Hollywood’s gloomy prognosis on our played-out planet, maybe it is time for a new start. Fortunately, an exo-planet much like Earth has just been located only 500 light-years away, Kepler 186F. The Creator sure works in many strange ways.
Michael Kile, April 2014