Saturday, 2 October 2010

10:10 No Pressure Video: The Backlash

The Richard Curtis directed 10:10 campaign video No Pressure has prompted a furious backlash from climate change deniers.

Yesterday evening the 10:10 campaign issued the following statement:


Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure’.

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain's leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis - writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website. We won't be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet.

We'd like to thank the 50+ film professionals and 40+ actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.

At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.

Onwards and upwards,

Franny, Lizzie, Eugenie and the whole 10:10 team


Montagu spent a bit of time this morning scouring the interweb to get a feel for the criticisms of the No Pressure film. The general line of argument is something like "eco-fascists want to explode CHILDREN who don't agree with them" which represents a massive sense of humour FAIL on a film that was clearly meant to be a joke. Rather than reproduce the more ludicrous criticisms here lets take what can possibly be defined as the more "sophisticated" end of the climate denier spectrum as an example.

James Delingpole is a climate change denier and occasional Telegraph journalist that has been described by George Monbiot as specialising in "ill-informed viciousness provided for free by trolls on comment threads everywhere, but raised by an order of magnitude."

Delingpole argues that "With No Pressure, the environmental movement has revealed the snarling, wicked, homicidal misanthropy beneath its cloak of gentle, bunny-hugging righteousness."

Snarling, wicked, homicidal misanthropy? The extent to which the criticisms of the film reveal the hysteria of climate change deniers is entirely predictable. More surprising is the speed at which the 10:10 campaign capitulated to this, clearly deciding that No Pressure had become a propaganda own-goal in the space of a few hours. This shows the effectiveness of the climate change deniers at setting the agenda in online discourse.

However, it may also reveal some of the limits of the 10:10 campaign: the attempt to package a message about climate action in a simple, acceptable, a-political way. Perhaps the speed at which the campaign had been taken up in the mainstream - celebrity endorsements, Sony, David Cameron and so on - had given them the confidence that they had their finger on the Zeitgeist? The No Pressure film itself has a simple message - everyone should do their bit - and packages it with a mixture of light-hearted shock and celebrity endorsement. The negative response - removing and, for a time, attempting to suppress the video - demonstrates how this tactic can run into problems, shying away from genuine conflict at the first sign. Maybe they should have stuck to their guns a bit more and given the film some time to reach the right people? Or maybe made a stronger political argument about the obstacles to climate change action? You are never going to persuade hysterical climate change deniers like Delingpole, a man who lists his "likes" on his blog as "Margaret Thatcher; Ronald Reagan; English tradition; the American Way". I'd suggest exploding him.


Anonymous said...

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you haven't actually watched the film. Only a pyscopath could, after seeing it, still describe it as "a mixture of light-hearted shock and celebrity endorsement".

Franny Armstrong and lots of her friends thought it was funny too. I guess psycopaths like company of their own kind.

MONTAGU said...

Thanks for your interesting comment. In response I would like to point out that the No Pressure video is funny because IT'S NOT REAL.

Chris Madigan said...

Funny is as you fnd it, but what you find funny is often a reflection of what you most fear within yourself. This film confirms what many feared was in the hearts of climate fanatics.

MONTAGU said...

Thanks for the comment Chris. I see what you are driving at and clearly the No Pressure video was very ill-judged in terms of the approach it took. And, as I said in a post, this does reflect some of the limits of the 10:10 campaign which places the emphasis onto individuals who need to be persuaded into action. Luna17 put best, I think, when he commented that the video gives the impression that "it's the higher-status individual - teacher, boss - who is enlightened about climate change while its their 'inferiors' - pupils, workers - who are ignorant and irresponsible. It is deeply snobbish and reinforces the mistaken idea that the elite is already 'on board' with tackling climate change, but now ordinary people need to be similarly convinced." []

That said it was clearly meant to be a joke. The problem is that it is a bad joke that has given climate change deniers ammunition to dismiss climate activists as authoritarian.

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