Richard Curtis' 4 minute film to promote the campaign 10:10 (encouraging people to reduce carbon emissions) has been shelved after a backlash from charities. The film shows people being blown up when refusing to participate in the scheme. It's quite horrible, really. I found it neither funny nor meaningful. What do you think? Was it the right decision?


This issue has unsurprisingly taken off right across the blogosphere, and the film certainly does not do itself any favours. If we look at original intent, it wasn't quite as sensational as people imply - the problems are not with the original message itself, but the way in which it has come about. There are a number of things I would suggest are responsible for it not working as intended:

1. As sad as it is to say it, the tongue in cheek humour seems to be lost on a vast proportion of the modern audience. The Blackadder days were a while ago now, and the audience just simply isn't there for it - Curtis failed to recognise this.

2. The mixing of a serious message and comical situation just doesn't go in this case, and throws the tone right off. People who don't believe in climate change aren't going to appreciate the humour, and because of the nature of the joke, it comes across as hostile if not found funny.

3. Dead children are a massive taboo for humour, and having them first in the pattern - if at all - is a massive lapse in judgement. Similar sketches (purely within the comedy genre) might just get away with it, but they almost always build UP to the most outrageous thing - outside a pattern with no buildup the shock is worse.

4. It's too long, and doesn't establish itself at all as comedy before the explosion. A comedy sketch should be shorter and to the point, but an informative short film needs to be... well, a short film. One genre smothers the other.


So what conclusions can we legitimately draw? That Richard Curtis can't do funny anymore? Hardly news, he hasn't written a good script since Love Actually!That's just about all we can say. What we cannot do is extend shoddy writing on one part (and error in judgement of those involved) to the entire climate change lobby as some seem intent to.

It comes from deep within the human mindset of ignorant hostility; it's Us and Them, and if you go out your way to despise Them, you assume They must be unified and working against Us... it's the argument of racists and homophobes, overextending actions of a few to a wider group, and happens far too often in politics. The Climate change lobby is not responsible for the work of one filmmaker and a small group within the 10:10 campaign. A fictional explosion does not make arguments for action on climate change any less legitimate, nor would such a film have been produced by other climate change activists. 

To those who did not get the intended tongue-in-cheek message of the film , it could indeed be seen as tasteless, and they can't really be blamed for missing the joke due to the problems mentioned above. To the others, who understand the intended message? Worst things have been contained within sketch shows, so I don't think tasteless is the right word to use... Misguided, maybe.

Curtis does well to combine a message about the seriousness of climate change with a secondary theme about the zealous sanctimony of some of its most committed proponents. I also note that a lot of people are talking about his video. Sometimes being banned, censored or suppressed can increase a message's allure.  

I agree with Tim, combining a serious topic with a slightly sick, yet rather humourous advert campaign is an excellent way to get publicity. Having watched the video, I saw that there were a few video responses to it, meaning that a lot of people are willing to express their opinion on it. The fact that it got banned has definitely increased its popularity. By banning a video, the ASA have made it limited to internet viewing, meaning that people will go out of their way to watch it.

Is this tasteless?