Furor has erupted over the new 10:10 UK campaign video involving a school teacher who asks her children what they are doing for climate change and then blows up her uncooperative students.
Conservatives are rabid. Progressives are embarrassed. It is not clear how many children have been frightened into cutting down their carbon emissions ... likely very few.
I have a personal perspective on this spectacle. When I was in junior high school, my life was changed in not dissimilar circumstances. While flipping through the channels one Saturday night, I came across a force of medieval knights charging a field.
Many men were massacred by a small, carnivorous rabbit. Limbs were severed. Steel armor was chewed clean though. Blood bathed the battlefield. I had experienced one of the most epic scenes in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
Within weeks I was inspired into action. Using neighborhood friends, my mother’s dresses, and my father’s super-8 movie camera, I shot my own remake. We included the carnage and even a decapitation (substituting a Big Bird doll for the rabbit). Twenty years later, I became a professional film and television producer.Of course, the Python film was intelligent, historic, multi-faceted, insightful, witty — and so hilarious it's still hard to watch without fits of laughter. Part of the reason for its success is that the makers were NOT trying to make an important political point — they were just being funny.
The producers of the 10:10 video, in an attempt to get some attention, tried to combine two idioms ... unsuccessfully. In fact, this gory video may do damage to the ailing U.S. climate movement that lasts months (maybe years).
In an apology letter, the filmmakers said the video was intended for a British audience, as if they forgot that in the digital world you can't just "take down" a piece of media. No doubt it will be played over and over ad nauseum by Fox newers like Glenn Beck, who will use it as living proof of the most popular talking point of the conservative, anti-climate spin machine — "progressives hate people."
Maybe 10:10 UK has proved them right.
Karl's note: Bill McKibben wrote an excellent piece that distances his organization, 350.org, from the UK branch of the 10:10 Day of Action — perhaps the largest ever collaboration of thousands of nonprofit organizations, businesses and concerned citizens around the world demanding action on climate change. You can learn more about the event on the 350.org website.