Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson: Strange Couchfellows
If you were to walk down the beach somewhere and see a couch, you might think "how odd…a couch on the beach." But if, as you got closer, you realized that upon that couch, dressed in suits, were the Rev. Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson, you might think: "Yep. I've had a stroke. Is this hell?"
No, it's not hell. It's wecansolveit.org, in its new project to help solve the climate crisis. Having Revs. Sharpton and Robertson on the same couch is disconcerting enough, but seeing as how Al Gore brought them together…well, that’s just the weird-ass trifecta, isn't it?
It's admirable, of course, that these men are doing what they can to work to help combat the climate crisis. Especially Robertson, who's been a non-believer in terms of climate-change in the not-so-recent past. But sitting them on a couch, having them joke with each other as though they didn't completely and utterly believe that the other was a raving lunatic leading part of the population into the bowels of damnation? Somehow, that doesn't say "climate conflict resolution" to me.
It doesn't help that the image of them on a couch on the beach makes it look too much like one of those "one of us has herpes…and one of us doesn't…and we want to keep it that way…" ads. And I'm casting no aspersions as to which of the two might be the viral sufferer, mind you. Good arguments can be made on either side. But it's admirable that they're taking the issue seriously, and responsibly. Climate change, I mean. Not the herpes.
The strategy here is obvious. We're supposed to be struck with the disparate world views coming together to solve this global issue. But is that the most effective choice? When I watch this commercial, I'm not thinking "wow, if these two men, coming as they do from diametrically opposed philosophies, can come together in the spirit of global citizenry to help solve a problem we all face, then maybe it's time I get involved, too." Instead, I'm just sitting there, stunned, watching Al Sharpton call Pat Robertson "Reverend Pat", wondering if Gore could have landed two less-ridiculous figures to put on that loveseat. Like maybe some muppets.
Seriously, Statler and Waldorf, on a couch in the balcony? Or Ernie and Bert, in their apartment? They already have a couch, even. That's money in your pocket, Mr. Gore, to make more well-meaning commercials like these. Ones that won't bring together the religious equivalent of matter and anti-matter, and threaten to open a pin-sized hole in the space-time continuum that threatens not just the global climate, but the fabric of the universe as we know it.
-- Teague Bohlen