"I suggest we all go get drunk now," Shane Smith, the high priest of smashmouth journalism outfit VICE said.
That seemed about the most appropriate thing to do after watching the season three premiere of "VICE" on HBO Wednesday night at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The episode takes Smith, correspondent Vikram Gandhi and the VICE crew to Antarctica and Bangladesh to see the rapidly mutating effects of climate change, and it has a pretty simple, bleak message.
Basically, whether members of Congress or anyone else believes it's happening is beside the point. The Antarctic ice sheet is melting, oceans are rising and it's too late to prevent it. We now just have to deal, and it's not going to be pretty.
"We're going to catch a lot of hell for this, our first episode ... and you'll see why," Smith said by way of introduction. He might have been referring to the scorn reserved for congressional Republicans, showing them sitting on their hands during the 2015 State of the Union address when President Barack Obama said climate change was the biggest challenge for the planet to address.
Or it could have been letting Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. outline the raw political and financial facts. Or he might have been referring to VICE's singling out Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., as the bete noire of the environment.
It's hard to imagine VICE catching hell for such things, though. The scientific community has been at a consensus on global warming for years, and those in favor of doing nothing have long tuned out criticism.
Maybe that's why the audience was "all invited to get rip-roaring drunk" at the Willard Hotel afterward. Attempts to follow up with Smith were unsuccessful, as Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., bogarted him at the after-party. It's tough to get past a senator who used to be a football player.
"VICE" Season 3 premieres Friday on HBO.
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