Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back to reality

Last night I watched a genial romcom called 'The American President'.  Usual stuff. Boy (widowed prez) meets girl (environmental activist/ lobbyist). They flirt. They think it's a 'bad idea'. They say 'what the hey'. It is a bad idea. His ratings plummet because he is now exposed to 'character issues' (maybe he should have taken up smoking cigars) and ends up having to do for political reasons something he promised not to to survive, which kills off her cherished vision, her job and, of course, the relationship. He has an inspirational moment about democracy and in the course of a very nice speech puts it all to rights and gets back the girl.

It was interesting to watch, because at around 10 years ago I was surprised to note that the issue at hand (well, at least as the girl's 'cause') was global warming, and a few quite strident predictions and warnings were already being made. They all got rather swallowed up in the relationship stuff, but they were there. And I think the boy was a Democrat.

Of course he ends up 'doing the right thing'. And that's where as a year-end wish you do find yourself rooting for the message. In fact the movie did try, at least initially, to address the fact that at high political levels there are all sorts of competing interests, that to buy off Peter you need to pay Paul, and that the electorate tends to vote with pretty much anything other than its brain.

So I went to bed smiling, but then awoke to open the online news to find that the UK's Green Belt is being concreted over faster and faster, for all sorts of reasons that made no sense to me. 

I guess that's what movies are for; they give you a brief respite from reality.