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Lots of disagreement today regarding Al Gore’s weight, and what he should do about it. Writes CM reader Laurie Sue: “Weight gained via trauma-based consumption holds the trauma in place. And he, as a public figure who was beloved and selected by over half our country, is an icon to us. Recognizing that he is still holding the pain, keeps that pain in place for us as well.”
Plenty of others indicated that we should stay off this subject and let Al stay big if he wants to be big.
I stand by what I said, but I’m not standing in cruel judgment. I feel Al Gore’s William Howard Taft silhouette on the public stage is best considered (by him and by us) as temporary. It’s not the “real” Al Gore (yeah, such a thing does exist). In fact, Al Gore himself has said as much himself–quite humorously.
Here’s the transcript of a terrific comedy sketch he and Tipper actually taped in the flesh on December 14th, 2002 with Saturday Night Live’s comic New-Ager-in-constant-recovery Stuart Smalley (a.k.a. liberal radio host Al Franken). The sketch took the form of a mock couple’s therapy session with Tipper and Al focused on something they wrote together with Smalley posing as the Gores’ doting therapist.
Stuart Smalley: Well, I think you might have left out one family trauma that I think you two could have written very eloquently about.
Al Gore: Uh…I’m not sure I follow you.
Tipper Gore: Honey? I think it’s about the… election?
Al Gore: Well, sure… that was a disappointment. But I wouldn’t describe it as… “traumatic.”
Stuart Smalley: [glances at Tipper again] Tipper?
Tipper Gore: Well… it was difficult.
Stuart Smalley: Al? do you hear what Tipper is saying?
Al Gore: Yes. That the outcome of the election was very hard for… her… and the children.
Stuart Smalley: [glances at Tipper again] Tipper.
Tipper Gore: Um… well, honey…
Stuart Smalley: Go ahead, you can say the “E” word.
Tipper Gore: The eating.
Al Gore: Okay! I was a bit down, and I took some solace in… food.
Stuart Smalley: Al? Tipper gave me this picture that she took about three months after the election. Now, I think it’s pretty clear that you were in a humongous chain spiral.
Al Gore: Well, as you can see, I lost the weight, and I’m over it!
Stuart Smalley: [glances at Tipper again] Tipper? Is he over it?
Tipper Gore [faux crying]: It’s been difficult…
Stuart Smalley: Yes. Do you think that Al has feelings… about not being President.
Tipper Gore: Yes.
Al Gore: Well, of course I have! I-
Stuart Smalley: Al, I’m talking to Tipper. [turns to Tipper] And, do you think that Al is maybe in denial about his feelings?
Al Gore: Oh, for goodness sakes!
Tipper Gore: Maybe a little.
Stuart Smalley: Do you think it might be good for the whole Gore family if Al dealt with his… his feelings?
Tipper Gore: Well… sure, I do.
Stuart Smalley: You’re doing good work! Good work. Al?
Al Gore: [fuming] What?
Stuart Smalley: You are in… denial. But we are going to trace it, face it, and erase it. I want you to look at the mirror – come on, don’t look at me, only you can help you. [Al looks into the mirror] Look at the mirror. Come on. That’s it. Okay. I want you to say… “Hi, Me!”
Al Gore: [reluctant] Hi, Me.
Stuart Smalley: “I am sad… about not being President.” Come on.
Al Gore: I am… sad… about not being… President.
Stuart Smalley: “And that’s… okay.”
Al Gore: And that’s okay.
Stuart Smalley: “I don’t have to be the most powerful man in the world.”
Al Gore: I don’t have to be the most powerful… man in the world.
Stuart Smalley: “I don’t have to be able to… [thinking] ..bomb a country any time I want.”
Al Gore: “Look, I would never arbitrarily …
Stuart Smalley: Okay, okay.. I-I-I’m sorry. Uh… “All I have to do is be the best Al I can be.”
Al Gore: All I have to do is… be the best Al I can be.
Stuart Smalley: “Because I’m good enough…” Come on! “I’m good enough.. I’m smart enough.. and, doggonit, people like me!”
Al Gore: Because I’m good enough… I’m smart enough… and, doggonit, people like me!
Stuart Smalley: Feel better?
Al Gore: Actually, I… I do feel better!
Stuart Smalley: You do? You do feel better?
Al Gore: Yes. Actually, I do.
Stuart Smalley: Hug? [holds arms out]
Al Gore: No.