Is upsetting people OK, to get their attention?

The 10:10 campaign, launched last September to highlight carbon emissions and damage to the environment, has hit a problem. A four minute film commissioned for the 10:10 date (10 October) to challenge apathy about climate change has itself become the issue, with claims that it’s tasteless, too violent and will create disaffection for the cause it promotes.

Counter-productive or persuasive?
The big-name film, No Pressure [**NB contains violent scenes**], for which all concerned donated their services, has been withdrawn from the 10:10 website after its preview, amid claims that it is tasteless, too violent and inappropriately graphic, and will in any case put off more people than it persuades.

The counter argument is of course that very little can be as offensive as what may happen if climate change continues; and that almost any sort of publicity is justified in forcing attention onto this global risk.

Addressing whom?
Perhaps the current situation will indeed achieve the intended end, because there will be a lot of publicity without anyone who is squeamish (that includes me) actually watching the film.

Some tougher types will see it on YouTube, as above, and pronounce it cleverly satirical, whilst the rest of us will be shocked into asking why the film was made – and thereby come to recognise how urgently we need to think about climate change.

Or perhaps not….?

* Are violence and other shocking media tactics acceptable and effective in getting difficult but really serious messages across?

* Or, to be true to the gravity of the issues, must these critical matters be treated soberly and formally, however difficult it is to gain attention and galvanise people into action?


Posted on October 3, 2010, in Media and Messages and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. So, does the end justify the means? The main question I ask myself before doing something is, will this be effective? Being ‘offensive’ may be counterproductive, turning people off the issue. Then again, it may wake them up to it.

    However, sometimes people simply deserve to be offended. It may not make them care any more than they did, and it could even make them care less, but it might be the ‘right’ thing to do. Sometimes I simply want to let someone know how passionately I feel about an issue, and I don’t care if it’s counterproductive. We should have the courage of our convictions, even if that means upsetting people.

    But in the end, this question isn’t really about if it’s okay – of course it’s okay, assuing you don’t mind upsetting people – but whether or not the consequences are what you desire. This episode hasn’t helped a lobby that many people already see as led by the self-righteous middle class and scientists ‘in their ivory towers’.

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