Smitty, at The Other McCain, brings us the profoundly depressing news that Al Gore's puffy paws have typed out yet another volume in his ongoing series of Cli-fi pot-boilers.
Perhaps it will cheer us up if we revisit the occasion of Al Gore's Nobel prize fiasco.
* * * *
The auditorium was alive with a steady murmur, as the audience waited in excited anticipation for the proceedings to commence. On the dais sat a trio of stout, elderly men in baggy, full-evening threads; with their bald heads, neat beards and flashing spectacles, they lent a mildewed academic air to the event. Seated apart from them, in an ornately-carved chair resembling a throne, was another elderly man, of regal aspect, decked out in what appeared to be the uniform of a French admiral from about the time of the Franco-Prussian war – but since this was Norway in the year 2007, it was obviously King Harald V.
One of the stout little men in rumpled suits approached the podium, and held up his hands, prompting silence from the audience. He thumped the microphone once, which elicited a loud, but brief, hum from that instrument, and then opened his mouth to speak. But he held his tongue and listened in perplexity as another, disembodied voice was heard throughout the auditorium, apparently coming from behind the curtain, stage left.
“It is a great honor . . .no, no, no . . . It is a great honor . . .yes, that’s better . . . It is a great honor . . .What? My lapel mike is switched on? Dammit, why didn’t somebody tell me?”
A ripple of gruff Norwegian laughter swept the audience, and the man at the podium smiled. “Vell, by golly, I suppose it’s natural for a feller who’s bein’ avarded de Nobel Peace Prize to haff a case of de yitters!” His smile disappeared abruptly, and he assumed a mien of great dignity, as he began his prepared remarks.
“Ladeeeeez and Yentlemen! As chairman of dis here Nobel Peace Prize Committee, I haff de honor of introdewcin’ dis year’s vinner, Mee-u-ster Albert Gore!”
From behind the curtains, a somewhat sheepish-looking Al Gore advanced onto the stage, to thunderous applause. Overwhelmed by the tumultuous welcome, he swelled with pride, looking, in his white tie and tails, like one of those gargantuan birds from the Paleocene epoch, a sort of giant, flightless magpie.
He approached the chairman, who escorted him to the chair upon which was seated His Majesty, King Harald. His nibs rose, smiled, and pumped Al’s hand as if he were jacking up a car preparatory to changing a flat. Then Al was bustled by the chairman back to the podium. Al stood by, basking in the moment, as the chairman cleared his throat theatrically, and read out a laudatory description of his achievement.
“Mee-u-ster Gore, ve, de Nobel Peace Prize Committee, take great pleasure in presentink to yew dis here avard, in acknowledgement of de contribyutions yew haff made to vurld peace by losin’ de yew-ess election in de year tew tausand, by yiminy!” Beaming, the chairman handed Al a box covered in blue velvet, containing the coveted medal.
In a long history of wooden public appearances, Al Gore had acquired the reputation of being rather like a tree; he was now demonstrating another aspect of arboreal similitude by imitating the effect of the change of seasons. The color of his face underwent a series of kaleidoscopic transitions, in a manner suggesting time-lapse photography, from a whitish green, to pink, to heliotrope, to a vivid crimson. His prepared speech forgotten, he muttered, almost involuntarily, into the microphone the only Norwegian words he knew, comprising an expression he had learned on this trip when he had inadvertently stepped on the foot of a bell hop at his hotel: