The 10:10 film was awful on so many levels that a lot of people struggled to find why they were so upset. The film makers have lamely apologised for any offence caused and tried to pass off the reactions as a sense of humour failure. That’s not the problem, but let’s starts with that.
What would it take for me to find this funny?
Supposing this was an art class and the teacher showed a famous picture and asked if the children liked it? They gave a simple opinion – yes or no. She explained that it was well drawn, worth a lot of money and lauded by art critics – hands up who still doesn’t like it. You don’t agree? – No pressure – still no? BOOM! I could find that funny – satire, surreal, extremism – yes; depending on the execution of the piece (sorry for the pun) I might label it pythonesque and giggle a bit, and if the teacher was portrayed by Michael Palin or John Cleese it might actually be screamingly funny.
Take the same classroom as in film, the same teacher and the same conversation, tone of voice, gestures and looks, but at the end she just walks away and does nothing. And the office and Spurs scenarios were similarly benign…. OK boring, but do you have a problem with that?
On the face of it no, but that is actually what is starting to happen in classrooms and offices across the country, and perhaps worldwide if the 10:10 campaigners get their way. We might see nothing to object to, but the 10:10 campaign and the whole climate change movement has become judgemental. Somehow in ‘saving the planet’ there is a moral imperative to act out the path of righteousness through good deeds of CO2 reduction, and it is not acceptable merely to agree with the aspiration. Environmentalism has fallen victim to moral superiority.
Let’s take a few steps backwards here to the crux of the matter. This is not about violence; it is not about saving the planet. It is about freedom. As I said previously (10:10 – They just don’t get it), for me this is about preserving people’s (especially children’s) freedom to think differently, to form their own opinions and to express them without fear that they might somehow be frowned upon by colleagues and peers. That is the fear that the video is selling. It taps into the subliminal paranoia of advertising – “What does your loo say about you?” asks the ad for toilet freshener. Yes, it is very clever. It is like the bully who says “You want everyone to like you – don’t you?”
I happened to notice the headline in the Daily Mail today “Death of the office joke”. This is about the planned enactment of the former government’s controversial Equality Act, which is political correctness taken too far.
“It creates the controversial legal concept of ‘third party harassment’, under which workers will be able to sue over jokes and banter they find offensive – even if the comments are aimed at someone else and they weren’t there at the time the comments were made.
They can sue if they feel the comments ‘violate their dignity’ or create an ‘intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’“
Well at least it might afford protection from overzealous 10:10 campaigns.
The 10:10 campaign is about acting in a particular way to bring about a change that we are being told is necessary to save lives by reducing the warming of the planet. We are sold dogma: the science is settled, there is a consensus. The more I understand, the more I see uncertainty in the science. I also see errors in the data that are not properly quantified, which can only add to that uncertainty.
So I am incensed, not because I want to defend a sceptical viewpoint – I actually want to defend the middle ground, the undecided. I want them to be free to question, to learn and to make up their own minds. Actually I think that is why the video has and will continue to backfire; the average person hasn’t made up their mind, but also does not like being told what to think. The majority has no opinion and not thought about these issues; perhaps now they will.
To go back to the violence in the film, the termination of the non-compliant is not funny to the majority of people. Why? The argument is made by many that if you substitute almost any other dissenting or ‘different’ group, it would be unacceptable – blow up a few Jews anyone? I thought not. We’ve outlawed racial and religious intolerances – they are morally reprehensible. Now it is acceptable to look down on those who don’t agree with an environmental message.
The outrage itself comes despite our cultural desensitization to violence. It may be cartoonish but it is visceral, and chilling. The negative reaction to it is due in part to it being propaganda violence for a political end; this is not entertainment and the film makers have displayed a lack of moral compass in the choices they have made. This is a common failing where intellectual superiority is allowed to define a course of action where it might be said that the end justifies the means (and here I mean Co2 reductions as an end).
Pierre Gosselin pointed to the video as “the latest in a long pattern of very disturbing events” in a comment here yesterday, while Ed Driscoll documents it as part of the ramping up of enviro-hysteria. In comments Stu also provided a video with a very powerful message. It merits reposting here. I won’t draw any conclusions from it; I don’t need to. The message is sobering in the light of where my thoughts have rambled. Please do watch it.