Gaia's Jolly Jokesters
Suetonious records that while attending the Circensian Games the Emperor Caligula was so offended by a public display of support for one of his critics that he exclaimed: "I wish the Roman people had but one neck!"
It's possible that "Little Boots" intended that outburst as a joke. If so, the depraved tyrant had a sense of humor quite similar to the one displayed by the 10:10 Campaign, an English environmentalist group that seeks to hector the public into reducing its collective "carbon footprint."
On October 1, 10:10 rolled out a four-minute film — written by the immensely talented Richard Curtis — entitled No Pressure. The film is a series of vignettes involving an updated riff on Caligula's depraved daydream. Each of the short scenes features an environmentally enlightened authority figure — a teacher, a middle manager at a corporation, and a soccer coach — extolling the virtues of those who are willing to take part in the grand campaign of collective self-sacrifice on behalf of Gaia.
In each setting those not convinced of the wisdom of this undertaking were asked — after being assured that "no pressure" would be used to impose conformity — to identify themselves. This being done, the commissar pushed a large red button that caused the eco-heretics to explode, thereby drenching the stunned and terrified faithful in the liquefied viscera of the less enlightened.
The closing voice-over — performed over the haunting strains of Radiohead's "Weird Fishes" — briefly lists some of the institutions and political figures who have signed on to the 10:10 Campaign, ending with the tagline: "Care to join us? No pressure."
No Pressure was unveiled to representatives of government-recognized charitable groups on October 1. It went over about as well as Gilbert Gottfried's notorious post-9/11 joke at Hugh Hefner's Friar's Club roast ("I have to fly from New York to L.A. tomorrow, and I couldn't get a connecting flight — we have to stop at the Empire State Building first").
"Our job is to encourage proactive decisions at class level to reduce carbon emissions," sniffed ActionAid, which is presiding over 10:10's schoolroom indoctrination efforts. "We did it because evidence shows children are deeply concerned about climate change.... So we think the 10:10 campaign is very important, but the moment this film was seen it was clear it was inappropriate."
Were an inmate of the government school system in either the People's Republic of Blighty or the U.S.S.A. to submit a student film depicting fantasies of mass murder, he would be charged with terrorism and consigned to the nearest psychiatric gulag. Yet when the same diseased fantasy is submitted by a government-aligned eco-lobby, the sternest adjective used to describe it is "inappropriate." There's something other than the storied British understatement at work here.
The 10:10 campaign's official reaction is a variation on the familiar non-apology, "I'm sorry that you were offended" — a formulation commonly used by people seeking to deflect blame for genuinely offensive acts.
"Many people found [No Pressure] extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and 10:10 would like to apologise to everybody who was offended by the film," stated 10:10 global campaign director Lizzie Gillet. Fanny Armstrong, founder of 10:10, recited the same potted non-apology: "When the film was released ... lots of people found it funny, but many others were offended. Out of respect for those we offended, we immediately apologised and withdrew the film."
I'm struck by the fact that 10:10's "apology" follows the same collectivist logic displayed in its perverted mass murder fantasy: The enlightened understand the joke, even if a few reactionary holdouts aren't enchanted by it. Pity, isn't it, that we don't have a master detonator that would reduce such charmless people to a bloody mist?
The real problem for 10:10 is not that the stolid bourgeois didn't find No Pressure funny; instead, it's that the film laid bare the totalitarian misanthropy that resides at the core of the radical environmentalist movement. Progressives are expected to epater la bourgeoise, and they revel in giving offense. Giving away their true intentions is a much more serious matter.
"It has been suggested that we call a United Species Conference — a conference far more representative than the United Nations is — and put this one question to the ten million representatives (one for each species): 'Should the human species be allowed to continue on this planet?'" wrote eco-theologian Matthew Fox in his book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. "The vote would most likely be 9,999,999 to 1 that we humans, with our dualistic hatred of earth ... be banished to some distant place in the galaxy so that Mother Earth could resume her birthing of beauty, amazement, colors, and health."
October 7, 2010
Copyright © 2010 William Norman Grigg