Gaia’s Jolly Jokesters
by William Norman Grigg
Suetonious records that while attending the Circensian Games the Emperor Caligula was so offended by a public display of support for one of his critics that he exclaimed: “I wish the Roman people had but one neck!”
It’s possible that “Little Boots” intended that outburst as a joke. If so, the depraved tyrant had a sense of humor quite similar to the one displayed by the 10:10 Campaign, an English environmentalist group that seeks to hector the public into reducing its collective “carbon footprint.”
On October 1, 10:10 rolled out a four-minute film – written by the immensely talented Richard Curtis – entitled No Pressure. The film is a series of vignettes involving an updated riff on Caligula’s depraved daydream. Each of the short scenes features an environmentally enlightened authority figure – a teacher, a middle manager at a corporation, and a soccer coach – extolling the virtues of those who are willing to take part in the grand campaign of collective self-sacrifice on behalf of Gaia.
In each setting those not convinced of the wisdom of this undertaking were asked – after being assured that “no pressure” would be used to impose conformity – to identify themselves. This being done, the commissar pushed a large red button that caused the eco-heretics to explode, thereby drenching the stunned and terrified faithful in the liquefied viscera of the less enlightened.
The closing voice-over – performed over the haunting strains of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes” – briefly lists some of the institutions and political figures who have signed on to the 10:10 Campaign, ending with the tagline: “Care to join us? No pressure.”