sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

October 4, 2010

When You Are the Establishment, Shouldn’t You Act Like the Establishemnt?

Filed under: environmentalism — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 8:06 pm

Environmentalists have a problem.  And it’s not because the 10:10’s “No Pressure” is purported to be the most emetic, ugly, counterproductive eco-propaganda movie ever made.  Because while emetic and ugly, I am not convinced that the slick little slasher is counterproductive.  Sure, the video got people pledging to go out of their way to do things that don’t carry the Al Gore official stamp of approval.  I doubt they will follow through.  Plus, what constitutes a failure in this case?  The video is only counterproductive if 10:10’s upcoming big day is a flop, and, more importantly, the organization and people in charge of it will somehow fail to rake in more grants.

So far they have us talking about them.

So what is the problem of environmentalism?  The green message is preachy and dull.  It’s not just that they tell us how to live our lives, but that their pieties are petty and wonkish.  We are supposed to poor over the catalogs of front load washing machines, memorize which materials our local municipality recycles and calculate the carbon footprint of our sushi.  The eco message is so ubiquitous, that somehow “recycle” was one of my (my!) child’s first words.  To make matters worse, greens are pushing a worldview in which nature seen as benign.  It’s all fuzzy bunnies and furry kitties, even when the kitties are mountain lions.  And that’s just not very thrilling.  Show the evil humans thrashing the Garden of Eden — get a fine misanthropic drama.  A sadistic ways to chastise the villains adds a nice touch.

Oh, but look at some of the people most passionate about saving the planet — they are upper middle class whites, many of them parents.  See who shops at the local farmer’s market, rides bike to work and buys organic burpies.  Those people are about as exciting as furry bunnies.  And sure, every now and then an eco-psycho will blow things up, but the instances of eco-terrorism are few, and they are just not on the radar of an average American, like Al Qaida wasn’t before 9/11.  The face of environmentalist is an earth mama… or at the very least an earnest college freshman.

And take the 10:10 crew.  They listed their “guilty pleasures” in their website profiles.  So what are their “guilty pleasures”?  Out of season fruit, long showers and “having to drive”.  Fascinating individuals!  10:10 try to jazz themselves up, of course: Their campaign is exciting and global.  No doubt a people-lead alternative to corporations-driven globalization.  An authentic grass roots movement, sort of like the Tea Parties, right?  Right?  But wait:

The 10:10 campaign was founded by Franny Armstrong, director of the climate change blockbuster The Age of Stupid. The idea came to Franny while walking through Regent’s Park in London on her way to a debate with UK Climate & Energy Secretary Ed Miliband.

So a mainstream filmmaker who hangs out with government functionaries came up with a new project.  In no time she found some government and corporate money to finance her group, and hired a several film stars to sell her product.  They made a movie that manages to cross Reservoir Dogs with Triumph of the Will.  Filmmakers were faithful to the cannon of course, because environmentalists have a history with gory “consciousness-raising”.  But in No Pressure they outdid themselves.

I can see the rationale of a small grass roots group producing a shocking dark humor video to attract attention to their obscure but urgent cause.  I would give them some points for making the video on a cheap.  But why are establishment figures using establishment money to promote establishment ideas with the intent of shocking us into… what exactly?  Promising to reform our polluting ways?  An organization as well connected and financed as 10:10 should find a more respectable way to make themselves interesting.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Berkeley, and perhaps even lived in co-ops.  This whole affair reminds me of the environmentalist No Pressure video release last Fall which offered an opportunity for celebrity filmmakers to assert their […]

    Pingback by Morally Challenged… Is that a Diasbility? « sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue — April 25, 2011 @ 5:00 am


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