Four Explosions and an Own Goal

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.

Climate Dogma

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.

Violent Propaganda

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.

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12 Responses to Four Explosions and an Own Goal

  1. Stu says:

    “So I am incensed, not because I want to defend a sceptical viewpoint – I actually want to defend the middle ground, the undecided.”

    Great point.

  2. TonyB says:

    Verity said on the other thread.

    “I despair of my fellow humans sometimes when I read some of the comments at WUWT. Disussions were more entertaining and intelligent a year and more ago, pre-climategate, when I followed it more closely.”

    i think two things happened, firstly winning the science blog of the year award then climategate. That brought in a lot of new unscientific people that shoot from the hip and could rightly be called ‘deniers’ (lower case non pejorative). Basically many of them don’t like Govt or authority or the ‘official position’ on almost anything, and see CAGW as just another in a long list of govt scams.

    The earnest discussions are largely a thing of the past, although they do still crop up-for example our own cooling trends and Engelbeens Co2 threads.

    For a good part of the time however its a matter of the crowd cheering when ever anything comes along that appears to contradict the Govt line and the points subsequently made are sometimes a bit silly and can be offensive, especially to anyone not ‘on side’.

    The thing is of course WUWT has a very big readeship and Anthony Watts himself has a serious minded viewpoint so we need to persevere as few other blogs can make a dent in the complacent CAGW machine.


    [good points Tony, thanks. I miss reading the discussions. My own participation was minor prior to Climategate. Verity]

  3. bubbagyro says:

    It is even more heinous than the points made. It is emblematic of the cult of death proliferating in the neo-Malthusian mind. Humans are a scourge and a plague. The unborn, recently born, the elderly, the “useless eaters”, the “Untermenschen” must be identified and subsequently eliminated. For the benefit of the select elite.

    There is no moral ambiguity here. It is clear-cut.

  4. Chuckles says:

    Excellent posts Verity, thank you.

    Stu, you touch on an important point several times in your comments, one which has also been made elsewhere. It is that for the people concerned, what they are promoting is ‘The Truth’.

    Whether it is their concern about CC/AGW/GCD etc, the amount of salt in their food, whether marg is better than butter, whatever, the received wisdom is absolute Holy Writ. Everyone they know thinks similarly, and they find it impossible to believe that anyone could think otherwise. ‘Everyone knows’, ‘all right minded people think’ and all the rest.
    From there it is a very short step to demonising any deviation from the path, or ‘something should be done’

  5. Verity Jones says:

    I was looking for today’s media reaction and googled “10:10 no pressure” and the names of some of the featured celebrities. Look what I found as a comment on a site when I added “Gillian Anderson”. (not a site I would normally seek to read you understand 😉 ) Included in a comment on 4th Oct by Ian Summerell:

    “This is a very fare [sic] report on the sick video from the 10-10 campiagn.

    I was told 4 yesrs [sic] ago by a NASA worker that some parts of NASA where helping to cook the books on AGW and that CO2 is not to blame.

    We had the leaked emailed for CRU which help saw what was going on,. The documents that came with the emails shows that they have been planning this for a long time. 10-10 is only part of it.”

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    You’ve pretty much captured my feelings about the film. I love the Mr. Creosote Python sketch, so clearly I’m not particularly squeamish… Grew up with British humor and ‘get it’ easily. I’ve avoided doing a post on it, though, as I’m not sure I could add much. You’ve done it well already.

    Per WUWT: For me, the increase in pace of postings has made “discussion” difficult. With 5+ topics a day posted, and 200 comments on one by the time I check in, I now just read the story on most of them and the comments on only a few. Post a comment on even less (and those are more focused into specific issues than before). There is less ability to have a ‘discussion’ when it’s 50 “cheers” between each line of the discussion with another person. Then the whole thing rolls off the list by the 3rd day or so. You either need to start bookmarking and doing email subscriptions (and I already have too much email…) and such, or just let it roll off… So everything gets moved a step more toward ‘soundbites”.

    What would have made the 1010 film funny for me? How about the usual ‘karma’ content. Mr. Creosote does himself in. Karma. Had the teacher, say, blown up ONE kid, then the others took out buttons and blew HER up, that would be karma, and a bit funny. Or had the teacher blown up the kids, then the PC Police showed up and carted her away explaining all the while that there had been a mix up and Mrs. Teacher was going away for a while as she seemed to be having a bit of stress lately… Karma, and funny. Heck, even if just ONE kid was blown up, and the others rapidly started kow-towing as Mrs. Teacher said (with evil snarl smile) There, now THAT’S better, isn’t it children?… It would be clearly mocking the authoritarian mindset, and funny (in a sick kind of way).

    And you could even turn it around. Have Mrs. Teacher blow up a believer, looks of horror from the other believers, then the PC Police cart her off for being a Skeptic… installing someone who says “There, all better, now I do know how to use the button properly. Now where were we, oh yes, how many believe? Funny. Add a kid asking “Please, maam, might I know what I’m supposed to believe again?” Very funny.

    Basically, what makes the film vile to me is the complete LACK of a moral compass. It’s just a propaganda piece. Believe “the right things” or “we kill you!”. Same morality as the radical muslims and their ‘conversion by the sword’. Not funny.
    (But make the terrorist a bag of bones “Akmed, the dead terrorist” puppet, and suddenly “We kill you!!” is funny. Karma…)

    Jingle Bombs:

    Per PC gone to far, we already have “hostile work environment” as law in California. It’s basically a great ‘get rich’ plan for lawyers and folks who like to blackmail or get revenge. I know of one case in particular where someone had their tender ears hurt by ‘bad words’. Never mind that she had a mouth that would make a sailor blush. But she had been ‘slighted’ by someone, so used this as a way to get $50k of ‘compensation’…

    Net result, anyone who expects an Office Romance will only find the less informed willing to take that chance. Jokes? Wouldn’t even think of it. Compliments on hair or dress? One way ticket to the poor house. “Elevator eyes” is a specific infraction. That would be looking at a dress from top to bottom. Even if your opinion is solicited. I refuse to look below chin level for any reason now – after “Managers and The Law” class every 2 years… Saying “Your hair looks nice.” is also a guarantee of an action. I will never issue a complement in the workplace. Ever. Yeah, makes for a dreary and dreadful life. And one with no ‘manners’ in it. Just dead emotional silence.

    So given that, I find it incredible that anyone could make a film like 1010 did and NOT get sued into oblivion.

    Then again, even though males are a minority and white males an even smaller one, I’ve found that the PC laws are selectively enforced. It’s OK to harass and insult white males. And at it’s core, that’s the problem with the PC laws. They are intended to harm one group at the benefit of another. Only the PC viewpoint is allowed.

    And at it’s core, that is the message of the film that makes it all the more ‘creepy’. We’ve seen where that path leads… Power corrupts.

    Per the malthusian comment: Yup. They actively promote the notion that most of the population of the world needs to be killed off. Crazy talk, but it’s what they say. Hard to get them to see that we live in a world of abundance and that any real limits are many generations away. Down their path, too, we know what comes…

  7. tonyb says:

    E M Smith

    The trouble with the 5 new articles a day on WUWT is that the work that has been laboured over for weks very quickly becomes the equivalent of yesterdays newspaper-its pretty worthless.

    There has been some marvellous material which goes to the heart of the AGW debate on WUWT (and other blogs) but it soon becomes forgotten as the next item to be cheered loudly rolls up on the screen.

    I am tempted to think that we could do with a ‘best of’ type of blog which would split into two sections. The first is where articles are ‘tested’ then perhaps rewritten or discarded and where comments are positively welcomed.

    There would be a second section where the ‘good’ material that stands serious scrutiny would reside and no comments would be allowed.

    The articles would be put into sections in their proper context with a linking narrative. In that way -like the IPCC assessments- they remain visible and readily accessible.

    The blog format has an advantage in as much, unlike the IPPCC epics, new material can be tested quickly, the whole thing updated reglarly and any new interesting angle fed to the media.

    Sure there are lots of blogs that list material but they don’t really put it into context and have a linking narrative, and sometimes the material covered can be off the wall. Whatever we think of the IPCC it comes over as a credible professional organisation.

    In this respect marketing of our own ‘product’ is terrible compared to the IPCC and much of it is ‘tainted’ by, for example, being seen as coming from a ‘suspect’ source.

    I think the first section would need to be as serious minded as Judith Currys new blog, as for the second section, I’m not sure there is a direct equivalent at present in the sceptics world.


  8. Miroslav Pavlicek says:

    There is one thing in the movie that gives me creep. That isn’t the blowing. That is performed as in comedy not in real graphical way. But I lived under communistic rule – in totalitarian regime. The regime demanded “voluntary” involvement to pledge movement to solidarity events etc. Nevertheless, lack of “volunteer” involvement was negatively appreciated in consequent treatment. The ways of involvement encourage looked pretty the same as in the movie.

  9. Keith Minto says:
  10. Keith Minto says:

    On second viewing, I do not think RC is talking about 1010 on this video. I would say that this has been taken from another interview, apologies Verity, remove it if you think so.

  11. Stu says:

    Greenpeace weighs in…

    ““As an organization committed to non-violence, I think you can imagine how Greenpeace views this material. At this time, the only people promoting the material are climate skeptics and think tanks funded by corporations known for lobbying against climate change legislation,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Jane Kochersperger.

    Hahaha, the blame always goes back to the skeptics.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Tony B: Good points. Perhaps the easiest way to achieve this is simply with, as you put it, a “Best of Skeptics” blog. Simply link to the various articles that have ‘the good stuff’ and assemble the narrative as the basic structure.

    I’ll ponder some more… probably get back to you in email on it.

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