03 October, 2010

This is the way the world ends

Richard Curtis' “mini-movie” No Pressure is a bloody disgrace. It takes a seriously wrongheaded approach to play so directly into climate change scepticism's paranoia. This was the joke:

In case you missed it, the joke is that moody people, uniformed children, dress-coded adults and relaxed celebrities alike, are the natural enemies of the passive-aggressive do-gooder, and will simply be put to death. Not because they disagree with the climate change science, or they don't think it's going to happen or affect them. Not for human reasons. Because they're moody and the 10:10 campaign doesn't understand why they're not complying. The same joke is repeated four times in four minutes, and as far as I can tell, no supplemental jokes are present to re-enforce the notion that it's meant to be funny. Humour is subjective, sure, but 10:10's defence of this “mini-movie” runs:

“Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise...”

Really? Some people found that “extremely funny?” That is some super-subtle irony they're into. I'm going to go ahead and assume that these people were the same people that were involved in planning, writing and filming the ad. That it was a huge in-joke. Sort of like Richard Curtis' career should have been from the off. On twitter it was quickly pointed out to me that Curtis thinks that weather is affected by kissing. His input to the AGW debate should clearly have been a blast. Instead we get one joke, repeated four times, in four minutes. And it involves killing kids. Defending this thing on the basis of comedy is really not an option.

The conspiracy theorist in me loves the idea that this advert was never meant to air in cinemas. It was meant to offend, be pulled, kick up a media storm and put the 10:10 campaign in the news. In short, looking like a misjudgement is a great way to 'go viral.' The internet can be really bad at differentiating between circumventing censorship, and succumbing to a Trojan Streisand effect.

Still, we have a climate in which scowling people fare little better than gingers in the MIA-verse. Even David Ginola and Scully have to wipe the disdain off their faces. You would actually struggle to get much further from what we needed in the climate change discussion: a drastically illiberal angle that emphasises individual efforts when we desperately need a more structured action that gets at our largest corporate and governmental offenders, and that challenges the heaviest sources of carbon emission that fall outside any individual citizen's personal responsibility.