Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Syriana

There are many things I don't like about living in L.A., but sometimes those are outweighed by the advantages. Take this weekend as an example. I went to go see Syriana at The Grove--it was, at the time, only showing in select theaters in New York and L.A., so I got to see it before the rest of the nation.

And the film is absolutely superb. Clooney made another hit with this one in my book--it's even more compelling than Good Night and Good Luck, which is quite an accomplishment. I'm not going to give away any of the plot details--that would be spoiling a good film, and you'll have to go see it for yourself. Suffice it to say, though, that the film left me feeling both hopeful and depressed--hopeful because the message it portrays about the complexities Mid-East oil politics and its relation to terrorism will finally get a broader audience, and depressed because 1) there's not much you can really do about it to create system change; and 2) the people that really need to hear the message aren't going to go see it, or if they do, they won't really understand it. Either way, it blows the whole "export democracy to the Middle East" idea out of the water--because everyone who knows anything knows that a free and democratic oil republic, as opposed to a puppet emirate, is not in the best interests of the U.S. oil conglomerates. Just look at Venezuela. The other good sign--something that made me very happy--is that the showing was completely sold out, and the popular movies that were playing weren't sold out. People out here in this liberal bastion are paying attention. So go see it when it shows up in your neighborhood.

Despite my feelings of depression, I still do have my own weapon of jihad against the oil conglomerates--I drive it to work every day. Yep, I'm talking about my Prius. Now that I know how to drive it in such a way as to maximize the hybrid engine's fuel efficiency, I can get 60 mpg in regular highway conditions, and even higher in the right type of driving situations. I've had the car for about a month and a half now, and I have only spent $100 on gas--and I already have 1600 miles on the car.

Conservation is undoubtedly one of the best methods to stop the cycle of tragedy that we see represented in Syriana, and a key element of conservation resides in consumer choice. I chose my Prius for a reason, and I encourage everyone to make a similar choice--not just in vehicles, but in every single aspect of your life. Ask yourself what you can do to help the country reduce its dependence on Syriana-style oil politics.

A big part of that will involve campaigning for your local Democrat. There's a reason all the oil companies (except for Shell--kudos are in order) donate all their money to Republicans: they know that Democrats actually care about the stability of our country more than their record profits.

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