Ok, all you people out there who thought a waitress squeezing dishwater into the drinks of customers who didn’t root for her football team in the Direct TV ad was harmless…do you want to take responsibility for a trend?
As you can see over on YouTube, a climate change advocacy group called 10:10 is pressing its case with a video showing a teacher explaining to her pre-teen students the 10:10 formula, in which everyone cuts their carbon emission by 10%, “thus keeping the planet safe for everyone, eventually.” Most of the class volunteers various ways they and their parents can meet the 10% goal, but a couple of students refuse—vicious, dumb, Right wing global warming “deniers,” apparently. So the teacher pushes a button and blows them to bits, with flesh and blood splattering everywhere. Similar scenarios involving the detonation of adult victims follow. You see, the only way to get “everyone” to save the planet by cutting carbon emissions by 10% is to eliminate those who refuse to do it.
I like blowing up people in comedy as well as the next person, and maybe more. The old SCTV cable show used to have a running gag in which irritating performers like Helen Reddy were “blown up” mid-song by a couple of crazy yokels, and I thought it was pretty funny. I always likes to see the Coyote get blasted, too.
But this video is insidious. Like all global warming propaganda, it posits that doomsday is on the horizon, sooner or later, if the world doesn’t address global warming. This statement of “fact”…not as a position or an opinion, but as established fact…is followed by the implication that anyone who opposes it as not only wrong, but selfish, mean, ignorant and dangerous. Symbolically blowing up such people—children, in this case—is more than just a joke. It is an expression of disrespect and hatred. It dehumanizes those who hold opposing views. And as James Taranto correctly points out, it smacks of totalitarianism. The catch line “No pressure” in the video plays less like a punchline than a threat.
As with the Direct TV ads, the violent 10:10 ads are being defended with the “lighten up!” argument. Is it really healthy for advocates to create ad campaigns “humorously” suggesting that political opponents (or their children!) be liquidated? Would you laugh at an advocacy video showing opponents to the “Ground Zero Mosque” being blown up when an Imam Rauf-like actor pushes a button? Would that be appropriate satire? How about a spot showing doctors blowing up proponents of Obamacare, or Tea Party members blowing up Nancy Pelosi?
The 10:10 video would be completely different, and legitimate black humor, if it was produced by Saturday Night Live or “South Park.” Produced by people who really do hold animus against the people they call “deniers,” it is sinister.
Squeezing dishwater into drinks is looking better to me, somehow.