The medium and the (merry massacre’s) message

The late Marshall McLuhan is probably best known for coining the phrase “The medium is the message“.

In his explanation of McLuhan’s “equation”, Mark Federman notes:

Marshall McLuhan was concerned with the observation that we tend to focus on the obvious. In doing so, we largely miss the structural changes in our affairs that are introduced subtly, or over long periods of time. Whenever we create a new innovation – be it an invention or a new idea – many of its properties are fairly obvious to us. We generally know what it will nominally do, or at least what it is intended to do, and what it might replace. We often know what its advantages and disadvantages might be. But it is also often the case that, after a long period of time and experience with the new innovation, we look backward and realize that there were some effects of which we were entirely unaware at the outset. We sometimes call these effects “unintended consequences,” although “unanticipated consequences” might be a more accurate description.

Many of the unanticipated consequences stem from the fact that there are conditions in our society and culture that we just don’t take into consideration in our planning. [emphasis added -hro]

Prior to reading about’s peculiarly named “No Pressure” mini-film on Donna Laframboise’s blog – and reading the reactions at WUWT – I was in rather blissful ignorance of this campaign’s existence.

The U.K. Guardian, which was given the rather dubious distinction of first airing this film, called it “explosive” and “edgy”, but to the Guardian’s credit they did provide a warning above the video:

This film contains scenes that some viewers may find distressing. Not suitable for children

Not suitable for children, yet the very first storyboard is of kids (some of whom get blown to smithereens because they don’t have concrete plans to reduce their carbon footprints). No pressure?! Certainly seemed like a very heavy-handed high pressure message to my eyes and ears!

What were they thinking (or more to the point, perhaps, were they even thinking at all)? Was there any consideration given to “unanticipated consequences”? And if so, did those involved in the making of this merry massacre really care? Or did they know there was a damn good chance that it wasn’t going to fly, but that the end (lots of PR for an otherwise relatively obscure endeavour … and, of course, bad PR is just as good as good PR) justified the means?

Defenders of this atrocious message – including those at 1010 (whose pathetic excuse for an apology is decidedly lacking in sincerity) – are trying to spin it as “humour” and “satire”. Well, perhaps it did seem like a good idea to the eco-zealots at the time the script was written. It’s mere fantasy fiction, they claim – and of course no children were damaged during the making of this movie.

This is somewhat difficult to reconcile with the words of one of the child-actors:

Jamie Glover, the child-actor who plays the part of Philip and gets blown up, has similarly few qualms: “I was very happy to get blown up to save the world.”

Sounds like this little eco-jihadist was already very damaged. I shudder to contemplate how many Jamie Glover think-alikes might be itching to “get blown up to save the world” – and what the “unanticipated consequences” of his message might be.

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