Imagine this political advertisement:
A teacher stands at the front of her class, looking at her students. "Children," she says, "how many of you are ready to step up today and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?"
Most kids raise their hands. Two don't. The teacher smiles sweetly at the two dissenters, then reaches down and pushes a red button. The two children explode in a hot red mess, drenching their peers with blood and viscera.
Cut to another scene: in an office, a boss stands up and demands to know which office workers support rounding up all Muslims and putting them in camps. Most eagerly raise their hands. The boss stares and those who have not, and pushes the red button. Boom, splat.
A soccer field. A coach approaches his team. "Team," he says. "The time has come to sort things out. Who here believes that marriage can only be between a man and a woman?" Most players raise their hands. A few don't. The coach stabs a button, and the grass turns wet and red.
If you saw an advertisement like that, you'd probably first wonder whether it was actually a satire of religious extremists. If you learned that it was actually produced by the extremists themselves, you'd probably be appalled. There would be an outcry. It would be roundly condemned. If anyone protested "wait, it's just a joke — can't you take a joke?" they'd be widely shunned as apologists.
But what if all the people being blown up weren't people who were religious dissenters, or opponents of intolerance towards Muslims, or supporters of gay marriage? What if the wrong thinking that the people were depicted as having . . . was insufficient support of the dogma of the environmental movement?
It's not a hypothetical question at all, actually.
An anti-global-warming group called 10:10, pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 10%, hired British comedy writer Richard Curtis to produce an awareness video. In the video, authority figures like teachers, bosses, and coaches are depicted asking people under their control to affirm their allegiance to environmentalism, and pushing buttons to explode those who dissent into bloody fountains. As of this writing, 10:10 has withdrawn the video and is desperately trying to take it down wherever it appears; if my link to Reason doesn't work, try Googling 10:10 No Pressure.
10:10 has posted a smarmy "we're sorry a few of you are so humorless" non-apology apology. Too late. Many are expressing revulsion. The video plays almost perfectly into the right-wing vision of environmentalists as humorless, nannying fascists who seek nothing less than control of thoughts and beliefs. It's almost as if 10:10 has a sleeper agent sent by Glenn Beck.
Perhaps the video will succeed in the PETA-style "no such thing as bad publicity" sense — by creating an uproar, it will draw attention to 10:10 and their global warming message. But I can't imagine this video appealing to anyone who doesn't already support 10:10. It's classic opinion porn. It appeals to the fantasy life of the sort of environmentalist who is furious, furious, that there are people who disagree with them. Just ask Green LA Girl:
Not that green LA girl readers aren’t particularly violent or murderous people — but have you ever heard a fervent climate change denier share their non-scientifically-based opinions on TV (or worse, in real life) and thought — “Damn, it would be so much easier to tackle global climate change if these naysayers were blown up like BP’s oil well”?
Actually, GreenLaGirl, though I frequently get mad at people who disagree with me, I don't tend to fantasize about blowing them into bloody chunks. But then, I'm on medication. You might want to look into it.
I'm with Mark Draughn on this one. The people who produced this, and their apologists, are sick, sick fucks. My approach to the global warming issue is limited by the fact that I lack the scientific background to evaluate competing claims and arguments — ultimately I'd be resorting of one sort of appeal to authority or another. But this video makes me much less likely, not more likely, to listen to anyone associated with 10:10. I don't think it fairly represents the vast majority of environmentalists and global warming advocates. It belongs in the category of the freaks who talk about war crimes trials for global warming dissenters. 10:10 deserves all the scorn it will be getting.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
- The Power To Generate Crimes Rather Than Merely Investigate Them - June 19th, 2017
- Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander - June 17th, 2017
- Free Speech Tropes In The LA Times - June 8th, 2017
- I write letters - June 1st, 2017