(Digression) British climate group 10:10's video fiasco: don't just move on, learn lessons from it
But I'd barely turned on my computer when that good feeling turned to a kind of quiet nausea. There were emails from people all saying the same thing: Have you seen this? This was a gross video making its way around Youtube, purporting to show people being blown up for not believing in climate change. It's been "pulled" from Youtube by its creators, the British climate group 10:10, but of course nothing is ever really "pulled" from Youtube. If you want to watch it bad enough, I'm pretty sure you can find it. Or you can look at the stories by climate deniers assailing it as the latest example of eco-fascism.I've not yet watched the video, but if climate activists Joe Romm and Bill McKibben think that it sucks, then I guess it does suck.
What surprises me is that many people have decided to defend this video, saying that 'oh, it's just black humour' or 'it's OK, the message is complex' or 'but the denialists are worse!'; and some others just said 'yeah, it's a mistake, let's move on'.1 This is wrong-headed. We should be asking why this PR fiasco was allowed to happen in the first place, and what we can do to prevent such lapses next time. And once we've determined what can be done, we should do it.
It amazes me that even among supposedly enlightened pro-science people, when it comes to matters of PR, we start getting the same old extreme naïvete, idiotic and pointless turf wars, reluctance to change ways, and general closed-mindedness. This must stop.
- On the good side, at least no one has literally advocated blowing up global warming inactivists.
Update 2010-10-02: Tim Lambert weighs in.
Update 2010-10-03: Professor Scott Mandia presents us A Modest Carbon Proposal by Jonathan SwiftHack.
Update 2010-10-05: Responses from Matt Wootton and Michael Tobis. And Coby Beck.