Crank of the Week - October 27, 2008 - Alec Baldwin

This past weekend I had the displeasure of watching the documentary “Six Degrees That Could Change The World,” shown on the National Geographic channel. The two-hour documentary, narrated by the lugubrious Alec Baldwin, depicts the drastic consequences we face if the earth warms even a few degrees and certainly fit in with other Halloween weekend “fright theater” programing. Taking its tone from the disaster movie genre, the show paints a future where extreme weather is the norm: full of catastrophic brush-fires, hurricanes, heat waves, and continent ravishing droughts. All of this destruction is accompanied by the sonorous narration of Mr. Baldwin. The take-home message is “be afraid, be very afraid.”

A string of experts cite evidence of the toll climate change has already taken and warn of much worse to come; farmlands turned to desert, oceans reduced to acidic sewers, rainforests destroyed. One expert assesses the carbon footprint of the American cheeseburger, tallying up the energy it takes raise the grain and then the cattle, milk the cows and make the cheese, and then to “refrigerate, cook and serve drive-by burgers by the billions.” The show's stated intent, as given on the Nat Geo website, is to “light a fire under Americans who have yet to get galvanized about global warming.”

As you can see from the horror mongering intro clip above, this production is firmly in the “it's OK to lie to people in order to scare them into doing the right thing” camp. Not withstanding that most of the events depicted are at the extreme end of the impact scale for global warming as defined by the IPCC reports, the point is clear: Humanity is on its way to Hell on Earth if we don't immediately change our ways—and that includes giving up those planet ravaging hamburgers. If you want to read a more realistic acessment of the effects of global warming see TRE Chapter 16, The Worst That Could Happen.

This type of bunk is right down Baldwin's avenue, being a solid member of the excitable left-wing for all of his adult life. This is the same Alec Baldwin who blogs for the far left Huffington Post website—along with many of the other uber-cranks in Hollywood. Baldwin is an animal rights activist who follows a mostly vegetarian diet and can often be found at Peta fundraising events. He's no neophyte when it comes to narrating extremist propaganda films, having lent his voice to the Pita video entitled Meet your Meat.

Not a man of moderation in anything, he has called US VP Dick Chaney a “terrorist” and “a lying, thieving Oil Whore.” Prior to the 2000 Presidential election, Baldwin's then wife Kim Basinger was quoted by the world's news services, saying her husband would leave the country if George W. Bush won. Baldwin later denied that he said any such thing and, to the disappointment of many Americans, refused to leave the country after Bush's election.

More recently, the “30 Rock” star was forced into an act of public contrition, saying he was ashamed of calling his daughter Ireland a “rude, thoughtless, little pig” in a voice mail. Not the wisest of moves in the midst of a custody suit. The incident prompted ex-wife Kim Basinger to call on her former husband to “finally address his unstable and irrational behavior.” Clearly, in matters scientific, political or interpersonal Alec Baldwin is not someone to hold up as a role model.

Sadly, like many Hollywood stars, Baldwin is liked for the characters he has played not the person he is. A decent actor, a disaster as a human being. We are glad that this opportunity has arisen, allowing us to bestow on Alec an award that he deserves even more than an Emmie or Oscar—Crank of the Week.