“Burn, Hollywood, burn”

Long read but it ends with a song (*)

By Irina Slav

Source: irinaslav.substack.com

A couple of days ago, in a conversation with David Blackmon on X, I unthinkingly commented that we’ve reached peak idiocy in the transition narrative. David wisely reminded me that we keep getting proven wrong in this by the narrative constantly discovering new peaks to strive for and conquer. Alas, I couldn’t disagree.

In my work here I’ve mostly focused on calling out the climate indoctrinators in the media, in politics, and, occasionally, in schools. But there is an indoctrination channel I have so far steered clear of, for reasons of mental self-preservation. I get angry about things, you see, and I don’t really like being angry. When I saw this article on Rolling Stone a while ago, however, I got too angry to bother about disliking being angry.

The article is a symphony of climate propaganda done absolutely openly and eagerly, with an unshakeable conviction that amplifying climate catastrophism is the right thing to do. Through all means necessary.

It is a piece of writing that is as maddening as it is hilarious, with references including “the Netflix show, Unstable, for example. In the new series, Rob Lowe stars as a genius biotech innovator, who’s created a slew of planet-saving solutions. The Hulu mystery, A Murder at the End of World, hones in on a tech billionaire who wants to save the world from climate change.”

My favourite is the author’s own favourite, but for different reasons: “an episode of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso shines a light on the beloved character, Sam Obisanya, as he takes a stand against AFC Richmond’s fictional corporate sponsor, Dubai Air, because it’s owned by an oil company that’s causing environmental and economic devastation to his native country Nigeria. In solidarity, Sam’s teammates boycott the sponsor alongside him on the field, covering up the company logo on their jerseys.”

The beautiful thing? The author clearly doesn’t realise how ridiculous this is, and how ridiculous all of the shows referenced are. In case you’d like more evidence, here’s the trailer to the first ever TV show entirely dedicated to climate change, which I watched almost to the end but not quite because I was laughing too hard. Then, as usual, I got offended for a second.

The reason I took offence was the infantile approach to indoctrinating “the masses” about climate change. I mean, if you’re targeting four-year olds it might work but are you targeting four-year-olds?

Then I had an uncomfortable thought about the mental age of many millions of people that are biologically above the age of four but may not be above that age in certain cognitive aspects. Because they have been subjected to indoctrination from Hollywood and TV for years.

Yes, yes, I know movies and television have been a tool of propaganda for decades but I don’t think the propaganda has ever been so open, obvious, and, well, pathetic.

I remember the first time I got an inkling of what was coming to the visual arts. It was a few years ago, when I decided to give a new horror series a try. By episode three I was convinced the horror genre was dead and I was watching its body decompose in real time.

The reason for my conviction was that the three separate stories these episodes told were not so much horror as social justice drama, featuring issues such as poverty, abandonment, retribution for sins, and punishment for boys who don’t wear condoms by making them pregnant and then making them burst with the babies. Yes, somebody actually wrote that.

That was the social justice stage of the indoctrination drive. Now, we seem to have reached the next stage, which is all about climate change, a distillate of social justice issues, if you will, since every single problem we have today can be traced back to climate change by the eager narrative pushers. Why so eager, you might ask? Well, because there’s money and fame in it.

A solid portion of the Rolling Stone article is dedicated to an organisation called Good Energy and I must warn you that you visit their website at your own risk. I myself plan to send the link to my husband who used to think he had seen the worst of graphic design. He’d be so happy to learn that he hasn’t.

Said organisation exists with the sole purpose of making climate change a central topic in movies and TV shows. Because it’s important, of course. The most important topic ever. And these gracious people are there to guide film folk on the journey to internalising this so they can make more climate change-centric movies and TV shows.

Here’s an excerpt: “We aim to make it as easy as possible to weave climate into any aspect of a story. Applying the Climate Lens™ to your narrative can reveal complexities in character and setting, add conflict, and unlock touching, funny, and surprising storylines — all of them backed by climate science, psychology, and lived experiences.”

Incidentally, while helping writers, directors and producers “weave climate into any aspect of a story” and why not every single aspect of a story, they’d make some money from this because these consulting services are not free. Indoctrination is a mission but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a business at the same time, and how cool is that!

Speaking of money, the Daily Sceptic has done a great job in exposing the financial backing of Good Energy and similar organisations or shall I say formations because it certainly sounds more appropriate. You won’t be surprised to learn that this backing comes from climate obsessed billionaires. Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Sierra Club pop out among the list of backers, along with the Walton Family Foundation and One Earth.

So, what else is new? To me, the new part is the complete openness with which the crusaders have started talking about indoctrinating people without even trying very hard to pretend they are doing art and entertainment. They are not doing art and entertainment. They are doing propaganda and they are proud of it.

They’re also doing something called a Climate Reality Check for movies now, because there’s always space for more derangement and guilt-tripping. Per NPR, “It’s a new test, directed at writers, producers and other entertainment industry creatives, that aims to measure the presence of climate change on screen by evaluating all 31 feature films nominated for any Academy Award this year.”

Counting non-White/non-straight characters in every movie and then demanding to know why there weren’t more of them must have lost its attraction, so let’s do climate change. I’m having serious doubts about the sanity of some of those involved in this. The rest are in it for the money.

Sad as all this may be there is a silver lining and that silver lining lies in the fact that propaganda has never, ever produced quality art of any form or quality entertainment. Good art and good entertainment tell stories, invoke various emotions, and, if done really well, result in some form of catharsis.

Climate propaganda does not tell stories. It only aims to invoke one emotion and that’s fear. It hammers in a message disguised as a story that is so solid and unwieldy it defies interpretation. You can only swallow it whole. Or ridicule it, of course, because it is ridiculous.

Since climate propaganda in film – and in literature, too – is so rigid, it’s doomed to failure, just like the identity politics trend in literature. The reason for this is that while there may be many people with a mental age of four when it comes to discriminating between art and propaganda, there are many more who instinctively sense the difference and sooner or later shun the latter.

It happened to the pathetic attempts to rewrite action movies for women, remember? The pseudo-feminist remake of “Ocean’s Eleven” flopped so hard the thud was heard around the world. Disney’s adventures in Let’s Pander To The Opinions of the Loud Minority have been going so well the company’s losing billions.

The same will happen to “Extrapolations” and whatever else the crusaders throw at us in their attempts to push climate change to the centre of everything. I’m sure it will be abundant, this whatever. There will be a few difficult years and many a young brain will be indoctrinated.

It appears this is the tragic price that must be paid for the climate propaganda disease to be purged from the collective body of Western society. The effect, I expect, will be identical to what happens when you drink too much. At one point, the body can’t take any more intoxication and it purges. Society will purge, too, only it won’t be so stinky. People will simply stop watching these TV shows and movies. There won’t be much money for entertainment anyway.

Some of you might consider this too optimistic, given my general tendency to pessimism. But in this case I am really optimistic. We’ve already lost a generation to identity politics and “We must destroy agriculture”. I really don’t think the climate crusaders will have time to guarantee the loss of another. And older generations are coming out of their slumber and starting to ask questions.

I mean, a piece of climate catastrophism crap is a piece of climate catastrophism crap, whatever shiny packing you wrap it in. You can try offering it to “the masses” as that Rolling Stone author referred to people but you can’t shove it down their throats. The crusaders would’ve known this had they deigned to study some cultural history and I use the term loosely.

If only they’d learned that human civilisation is built on relatable stories, not messaging as subtle as a hit on the head with a hammer, they might have stood a chance. But since they haven’t, they will fail. They will “burn down to the ground” and no one will miss them.

On a personal note, I would like to thank those of you who made several movie suggestions in the comments to previous posts. Do keep them coming while I finish “Murder, she wrote” and refresh my memories of extremely relevant classics such as “V for Vendetta” and “Equilibrium”. I leave you in the talented hands of a true legend.

(*) The song…

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