The film “Cape Spin” follows the money. Evocative, informative, and entertaining, “Cape Spin” rubs cynically. Its unsettling tone compels while it annoys. A summary might be filtered through the film’s use of a John Kirby lyric: “The human condition / a trifle absurd . . . but somehow, when I’m singing / I have reason to hope.” Not incidentally, the music throughout is engagingly chosen.
The film reports something Mitt Romney said. (Remember Mitt?) Then Governor of the state where the first offshore wind farm in the US would be planted, Romney said that he has seen many wind farms, and they are not pretty. He said he is not against wind farms. Translation: industrial projects can be OK, as long as we build them where poor people live.
Of all the vaunted environmental impacts, it seems that the sullied view from palatial homes and tourist-dollar coastline fuels the most energetic resistance. Any squinting look at 400 foot-high windmills seen five miles offshore seems to reinforce the notion that there are bigger problems to solve than this version of “not in my back yard.” More emphatically, the most energetic resistance is from the fossil fuel industry.
This controversy does not fall neatly into Republican and Democrat. Indeed, it does not fall neatly at the end of followed money. Robert Kennedy Jr. is a committed champion against dirty coal and a proponent of alternative energy. However, he’s an active opponent of a wind farm that is visible from the mega-wealthy home ground of the Kennedy family and other rich, powerful people.
Greenpeace, among the supporters of the developer who stands to make millions from the project, says they are not for or against capitalism. The developer, champion of this major renewable-energy step forward does not hesitate to make money off fossil fuel elsewhere.
Exhaustingly but necessarily, we must sail in the spin of important issues. How do we know what we know? After seeing “Cape Spin,” an objective whirl-rider is likely to think the wind farm should be built on the shoals of Massachusetts -- and many other places close to coastal populations that consume 80 percent of our country’s energy. Other whirl-riders may spin somewhere else.