Thoughts on the 10:10 film aftermath
10:10’s aborted short film ‘No Pressure’ was… an abortion. Not because of what it was – we see more shocking things on TV, the Internet and film all the time – but rather because of its context. It drove a brutal wedge into an already emotional ideological and political divide, which is entrenched in the West, especially in the US and UK.
People are understandably sensitive about suggestions that they should be blown up. Of course, I get that. And there is a difference between a PSA and an episode of South Park or Family Guy. Never mind that it was a comedy filmmaker – Richard Curtis – who was drafted in to do ‘No Pressure’. I doubt anyone expected polemic ‘edginess’ from someone best known for making us laugh by having a Hugh Grant stutter adorably and make up cute posh swear words like ‘shitting buggery bollocks’. Why couldn’t he have just used Hugh Grant again? Would anyone have gotten so upset if old Hugh had driven his gas guzzling Range Rover into a flooded Thames estuary only to be rescued by a smug Gillian Anderson in a rubber dinghy? Give the people what they want, Richard! You’re Four Weddings and a Funeral, not Brasseye.
I actually laughed the one and only time I watched ‘No Pressure’, because the exploding adolescents caught me off guard – like when John Travolta accidentally shot that guy when the car he was riding in went over a bump in Pulp Fiction. I laughed at the first explosion anyway, and then they just repeated it, eventually flogging a dead Gillian Anderson.
I guess I’m a bad person, desensitized by years of offensive television and horrific online videos. But, I implore you to believe me, it was also an embarrassed laugh, like I so often experience whilst watching Sarah Silverman or Snuff Box. The film also didn’t make any sense, which is always forgivable in comedy, but useless in a PSA.
Anyway, loads of people and organizations of all political and environmental persuasions came out against the video, a curious – but on second thought, not so strange – multi spectrum backlash. Some voiced objection probably for damage control, others certainly jumped on it to further their own agendas. The already sensitive debate heated up, at times revealing serious paranoia, but also the fact that we are not two monolithic blocks: ‘skeptics’ and ‘warmists’, but rather people with a variety of sensibilities, socializations and world views. Sure, we team up on big issues from time to time, but on closer inspection, we kind of don’t. Remember all the alternative protests and meetings by ecologists and proponents of the global justice movement at Copenhagen? No? Well to be fair they didn’t get 1% of the coverage as the UN talks, but they were there and they weren’t all about implementing cap and trade schemes or bullying developing countries either.
I, for one, sympathize with most ecologists, much of the ‘Left’ and the global justice movement, but I won’t stop reading PJ Rourke because he’s a Libertarian Republican. He’s smart, interesting and makes sense. I won’t stop enjoying and admiring brilliant feminist ‘cultural critic’ Camille Paglia because she’s a climate skeptic or even due to her recent statements that Barack Obama’s birth record should be looked into. We need smart people on all sides to articulate what all us stupid people think and why we think it. Many of us feel disenfranchised and misrepresented by those who claim to speak for us and need some help articulating and even some straight up provocation.
What the 10:10 film showed for me was a serious disconnect between its makers and the general public. It happens in Hollywood and obviously in London too. Hell, I can’t claim to be plugged into the vein of Middle America or anywhere else for that matter and I wouldn’t know what kind of climate change short film to make that would tap into the zeitgeist of the common folk – though I do think my Hugh Grant idea is pretty good. I’m taking calls, Franny Armstrong.