Hackery hackery, still wars and hackery. Nothing else holds fashion.

by John Holbo on June 1, 2006

Kieran thinks that’s bad? (And that?) Jonah Goldberg gets letters, one of whose authors he adjudges “ain’t altogether crazy.” From the mailbag:

and it hit me…Holy cow. The global warming alarmists KNOW the earth is going to begin cooling in a few years – and their alarm is that they have to have Kyoto-like programs in place that they can point to as the cause of the cooling.

If they can succeed at this – they effectively control the world. In a few decades they can revive the “earth is cooling and there’s an ice age coming” alarmism – and prescribe policies that ensure they have the power they want to manage that impending climate disaster.

You must now fill the comment box with your best Hollywood pitch/screenplay treatment for this sophisticated conspiracy flick. Bonus style points for Ludlumesque title.



John Quiggin 06.01.06 at 1:07 am

Hasn’t Michael Crichton, leading science adviser to POTUS, already written this one?


Barry Freed 06.01.06 at 1:14 am

If they can succeed at this – they effectively control the world.



Barry Freed 06.01.06 at 1:16 am

If they can succeed at this – they effectively control the world.

Curses! Foiled again!

It was a brilliant plan, pure genius I say. And it would have succeeded brilliantly too, if not for you meddlesome wingnuts.


John Holbo 06.01.06 at 2:14 am

I think it’s better than Crichton, isn’t it? I like the idea that in a terrifying, not so distant future, liberal overlords will be forcing the lumpenconservatives to toil in their underground heat factories. Those who resist will be exiled to the surface, where they expect to be trampled by the wooly mammoths which (liberals have been assuring them) live in the encroaching ice and snow. But when they reach the surface, they discover it is quite nice out. The whole thing will be sort of that Heat Miser/Mr. Cold “Year Without a Santa” X-Mas special meets “The Island”.


Seth Finkelstein 06.01.06 at 3:14 am

Title: The Global Reach

Summary: Crusading conservative blogger uncovers a conspiracy of liberals to use climate temperature variations to have the United Nations implement a plan to Take Over The World. Drat Mudge, a pajama-wearing 101st Keyboard Commando, saves the day by rallying The People against the MSM.

Cameo Appearance: Pinky And The Brain, in a sub-plot having to do with why mouse stem cells are all that’s necessary for genetic research.


aaron 06.01.06 at 5:12 am

I wouldn’t be suprised if that’s how thing essentially playout. Giving the impression that it’s intentional, or even expressing the idea, is crazy though.


Jimmy Doyle 06.01.06 at 5:40 am

The Gaia Mandate


David Moles 06.01.06 at 5:54 am

Title, clearly, has to be The Goldberg Conjecture.


Chris Bertram 06.01.06 at 5:57 am

The Demeter Stratagem


Down and Out in Saigon 06.01.06 at 5:58 am

Looking for a Ludlumnesque title? Why not “The Pantsload Peccadillos”? It’s got all the elements ready to use: “The” (almost always the first word) + name (or in this case, nickname) + multisyllablic yet mysterious noun. Good enough to write a script about.

But remember folks – you need to pitch it as well.


James 06.01.06 at 6:13 am

My favourite line from Crichton was the bit about the enviromental groups having budgets ‘in the millions of dollars!’

Millions of dollars! Who can conceive such wealth? How can the poor multinational corporations, oil companies, and the suchlike struggle with such forces?


Aeon J. Skoble 06.01.06 at 7:10 am

“multisyllablic yet mysterious noun”
Hmm. Weekend, Identity, Supremacy, Circle, Covenant, Paper, Exchange, Watch, Manuscript, Inheritance, Mosaic, Agenda, Option, Code…


Scott Martens 06.01.06 at 7:20 am

While investigating the seizure of children from conservative Christian homes by Satanists working for state child services agencies, in order to place them with gay married couples, Dirk Saxon (Tom Cruise) – an ex-Navy Seal and veteran anti-terrorist trooper turned bounty hunter/private investigator – uncovers hints of something even more diabolical. Disciplined eco-terorrist cadres, in cahoots with Al Qaeda and led by liberal New England senator Ken Teddery (Pauly Shore), are intentionally weakening flood barriers and infiltrating the National Weather Service in order to create the appearance that America is beseiged by devastating man-made weather changes in order to press their gun control, anti-car, anti-Christian terrorist agenda. Upon discovering the truth, Dirk becomes a wanted man, framed for the killing of his mentor : conservative talk show host Bick Schicklgruber (Arnold Schwartzenegger). He is chased not only by unwitting police but also by master terrorist Ahmed ben Mohammed (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his Al Qaeda henchmen.

In order to survive, he must hide out among the oppressed, overtaxed ranks of ordinary Americans. Disappearing into the trailer parks of Ohio, he discovers a nascent anti-terrorist resistance that has taken up the cause of Truth, Justice, and the American Way against liberal Big Government. This raw, undertrained force is inexpertly led by his mentor’s daughter Daisy Schicklgruber (Jessica Simpson). Sexual tension ensues, as Dirk is clearly the manly leader the resitance needs, and the good man that tomboy resistance fighter Jessica desperately desires.

The only way for Bick to save America is to decipher the code left by Daisy’s father at the scene of his murder, scratched out in his own blood: The Arboreal Artifice (working title) What secret does this message conceal? The horrible truth about the environment: Just as President Reagan claimed all those years before, trees are the major source of global warming, and only massive deforestation, not fossil fuel conservation, can save the world.

By finding proof of the truth, and dodging capture with the help of his new-found army, Dirk brings word to the nearest military base, a Marine training camp. There, realising that they have been betrayed by their civilian commanders, they rise up and transmit the truth throughout America. The eco-terrorists are hunted down by good, ordinary heavily armed Americans of all races except Mexicans, but not in time to stop Ahmed ben Mohammed from taking Daisy hostage. She is saved by Dirk’s elite commando skills, killing Ahmed in a slow motion fall from Hoover Dam.


Bill Gardner 06.01.06 at 7:51 am

We are getting ahead of ourselves. The time to laugh at hackery is after the hacks are out of power.


The Modesto Kid 06.01.06 at 7:51 am

The only way for Bick to save America is to decipher the code left by Daisy’s father at the scene of his murder

But wait, Bick is Daisy’s father! A-and plus he’s dead! How do we reconcile his sudden reappearance?

Scott wins.


Dan Kervick 06.01.06 at 8:14 am

The Pangloss Palimpsest

2007: A global evangelical convention gathers in Greenland, while the entire United States Navy conducts training maneuvers off the Greenland coast.

Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of the State Department, a rogue unit of ecotopian socialists puts the final touches on a diabolical plan. Working with a group of secular humanist Cal Tech scientists, and a crack Hollywood special effects brother-sister team, seeking revenge for the McCarthy-era blacklisting of their communist parents, the plotters move to implement their plan: upload a software routine to one of America’s secret space-based weapons, melt the Greenland ice sheet, kill the Christian evangelicals, destroy the Navy, and blame the whole thing on catastrophic global warming.

Waiting in the wings is a scorned and derided former presidential candidate, a fanatical Green who was caught trying to steal the previous election, and now plots his assumption of dictatorial powers during the crisis to come.

Our hero, a former hard-drinking Navy seal, who has been saved and now conducts secret missions for a shadowy Virginia ministry to thwart anti-Christian hit squads, comes into possession of a strangely encoded manuscript from a dying Seventh Day Adventist missionary. Dating from the early days of the Bolshevik revolution, and passed down through a tangled succession of Chinese spies, Nasserist secret police and Iranian revolutionaries, the document lays out the entire Greenland plan, and the form the evil final instructions are to take. It is accompanied by a similarly coded sheet of loose leaf paper, added by a conscience-stricken dissident, containing the means to thwart the plan.

Our hero is lead on a high-speed, high-adventure global chase, chased by the ruthless agent of the plotters – an Oakley-wearing, Voltaire-reading, Mozart-listening, albino psychopath – to find the decipherers of the mysterious Bolshevik code, and save the world from ecotopian tyranny. But will he crack the code in time?


Kieran Healy 06.01.06 at 8:19 am

_The Goldberg Variation._


Rob 06.01.06 at 8:28 am

This must be that bright Jonah Goldberg that Ezra Klein is always going on about.


Delicious Pundit 06.01.06 at 8:51 am

The Devil’s Drizzle

The Weather Servants

The Five-Day Forecast


KCinDC 06.01.06 at 9:08 am

Oakley-wearing, Voltaire-reading, Mozart-listening

You forgot “latte-sipping”.


Scott Spiegelberg 06.01.06 at 9:32 am

Kieran’s title is best, but I think Scott’s pitch is the winner.


derek 06.01.06 at 9:48 am

I think Jerry Pournelle actually got something like this published already: Fallen Angels, in which Goldwater-voting science fiction fans are on the run from an evil government made up half of lesbians and half of evangelicals (yes, you read that right) whose fossil fuel restrictions brought on the Ice Age, but strangely not their political doom. In fact they’re more powerful than ever.

You were speaking of hackery…


lemuel pitkin 06.01.06 at 10:30 am

Co-authored by Larry Niven, wasn’t it Derek? Which is too bad, since I’m sure I’m not the only CT reader who devoured Niven’s stuff growing up.


Scott Martens 06.01.06 at 11:12 am

Modesto Kid (#15), actually I had something Da Vinci code-esque in mind: With his dying breath, the elder Schicklgruber writes out a message in his own that only Dirk and Daisy together can decipher, before expiring.

It’s true that Fallen Angles has been there. though. IIRC, Pournelle and Niven auctioned off cameos in the book at some SF convention before publishing it. That should tell you something of its literary value.


Carlos 06.01.06 at 12:33 pm

And the subculture that permitted it.


T. Paine 06.01.06 at 1:29 pm

Hasn’t Michael Crichton, leading science adviser to POTUS, already written this one?

You beat me to pointing out that this screenplay pitch has already been written.


seen 06.01.06 at 1:31 pm

I think Dave Barry pointed out some time ago that a Ludlum title always takes the form “The [proper name][document-type]”, e.g. the Bourne Manifesto, The Prendergrass Rental Agreement, the Smithson 30-day Money-Back Guarantee, etc.

So I think Pangloss Palimpsest is the one that best fits the criteria.


ajl 06.01.06 at 4:01 pm

I like The Gaia Mandate… but try this one on for size:

The Aquarius Protocol

Rogue climatologist Jack Hardwick is vacationing in the French Riviera after losing all his NSA funding for attempting to publish the definitive evidence that global warming is a sham. He stumbles upon a secret UN facility, conveniently located adjacent to a public beach, where a giant glacier-generating machine and a giant CO2-emitting hairdryer are being tested side-by-side.

After torturing a weasely French guard for information, he learns that both machines are part of a giant climate-control conspiracy that disseminates secret plans to environmental groups, leftist professors, and liberal media operatives by means of a secret code embedded in those painfully unfunny comic strips that every newspaper mysteriously runs despite the fact that no one reads them.

Unfortunately, our hero is spotted and narrowly escapes by flagging down and carjacking an Audi twin turbo sports car driven by busty French cryptographer Lola LeBlanc. The two are pursued through the winding, hilly streets of Nice and the French countryside by a fleet of black helicopters and unmarked Peugeots. Eventually, they escape and hole up together in an Alpine resort where they decipher the code and have gratuitous sex.

It turns out that the climate is being secretly manipulated by a shadowy contingent of dirty pinko hippies in high places around the world, who are using climate change as an excuse to seize power, impose efficient socialized health insurance on everyone around the world, steal their guns, and force them to use public transportation and water-saving toilets. Their secret shadowy leader is revealed to be an aging Hollywood liberal starlet named Jeanne Fondue. The horror! Our hero and heroine infiltrate the evil hippie East Bay compound, blow everyone away in slow motion, burn the Berkeley campus to the ground, and screw each other’s brains out. Roll credits.


Anthony 06.01.06 at 10:15 pm

a shadowy contingent of dirty pinko hippies
I read that as ‘dirty pink hippos’, which I think would be even better.


John Quiggin 06.01.06 at 10:27 pm

Oddly enough, I read it the same way. I thought it was some sort of allusion to Doctor Who.


Anthony 06.01.06 at 11:29 pm

There’s a Doctor Who episode with dirty pink eco-hippos? Why wasn’t I informed?


John Holbo 06.02.06 at 12:03 am

Like the John Cougar Mellencamp song “Dirty Pink Hippos, for you and me.”


John Quiggin 06.02.06 at 4:27 am

I was thinking of Doctor Who and the Flatulent Invasion, though I have no basis for thinking that dirty pink hippos are more flatulent than others, let alone that their bulging skins conceal anthropophagic aliens. Maybe Michael Crichton could take some time off from his important scientific research to clarify all this.

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