05 Oct 2010

No Pressure? No Humor

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These are the series of ads about cutting carbon emissions by 10%, that were apparently yanked within a few hours of going public. You can see why. (HT2 Grayson Lilburne)

I don’t mean to be naive here, but what the heck is the point of this? It would be funny–in a sick joke sort of way–if critics of environmentalists made these. But how is it in any way entertaining or humorous for the environmentalists to do so?

To repeat, I’m not merely saying, “I don’t find this funny.” I’m saying, I don’t even understand how the creators could have mistakenly believed it was funny. The only “joke” here is, “Ha ha, we’re telling you it’s up to you whether to cut back or not, but really, that’s a lie. We will kill you if you don’t get in line.”

I toyed with the idea that they’re saying, “The Earth isn’t playing games, it’s not your personal preference here.” But no, people are killed when someone consciously pushes a button, seconds after assuring them that their choice is fine.

What the heck?!

4 Responses to “No Pressure? No Humor”

  1. Matt Flipago says:

    I found this pretty funny, and am confused why so many seem appalled. It’s an absurdity aspect for one reason. The facade of a nice voluntary thing to cut emissions when the actuality extermination. Also I think by showing the absurd enforcement as absurd, I think they are trying to get people to think 10% cut isn’t big. But it could also be looked at a way for people to sink in the idea that carbon emissions are a negative externality. The whole thing also gains a lot of press because of it’s absurdity. You can’t always analyze comedy with the idea the skit contains within it a major point, it’s comedy for the sake of attention.

  2. senyoreconomist says:

    I am sorry Matt, but I just think this commercial is revolting. In the documentary portion of the DVD for A Fish Called Wanda they talk about a scene where a dog is run over by a car. In the original version of it they had the dog flattened out with entrails and blood surrounding it. In the test showing the audience was apparently laughing hysterically until they saw the flattened dog as just described, at which point they abruptly stopped laughing. They then altered the film and just showed a flattened dog with no entrails and I think no blood. When they showed it again the audience continued laughing, maybe more, when they saw the new version of the dog. The blood splattering all over the place in this 10% video is way too much and sounds like the original version of the dog described above. My first thought on watching this was, “What, if you don’t agree they will blow you up?” Maybe someone who supports the cause will find it funny, but how in the world will any one who doesn’t agree with them change their minds after watching that? Some people think that people like Reisman exagerate about the environmentalists. Then they produce something like this…

  3. Lucas M. Engelhardt says:

    I agree. This is a confusing set of adverts. It definitely paints environmentalists as anti-human psychopaths who will coldly murder anyone who doesn’t participate in their plans. Is this supposed to make me sympathetic to their cause? Is it supposed to scare me into joining them? If so, it failed at both. If anything, it makes me think that environmentalists must be opposed with as much force as we can muster… and I’m speaking as a pacifist…

  4. Silas Barta says:


    1) Diid you see the Jim Henson Wilkins coffee ads that do basically the same thing?

    2) Isn’t your preferred alternative just the same? That is, according to the paper you wrote, if CO2 really had serious externalities, then free market courts would only bother handling it once people started murdering (or kidnapping) people who weren’t in CO2-cutting clubs. (You used the example of Martians who put a cap on English words spoken, and said courts wouldn’t say anything definitive about word limits until people started de-voiceboxing those who weren’t in a word-limiting club.)

    One caveat I’m obligated to say: Yes, this is a stupid ad, because they’re satirizing the wrong people given their message. They should have done something like, have some whiny guy demand a can with 10% more aluminum, even though this makes some nearby children flood, when everyone else is opting for the can with less aluminmum.