Thursday, September 18, 2008

PLAYING THE PERSON - how not to serve the future

On a more than slightly Climate Optimistic blog (all sides need to be understood) I frequent this review was posted:

When I Am King

Which garnered this by way of slick rebuttal. By, no surprise, 'Anon':

'And Delingpole's qualification's for commenting on scientific matters are? He even decribes the programme presenter as a 'Doctor of Geology'. Thee is no such thing.'
I fear a green mist descended:

As it is so critical to some... er... one: Iain_Stewart

Holy heatwaves! He is not a Doctor of Geology, he is.. a Senior Lecturer instead.

This obviously undermines any credibility a subjective (if one-sided, sort of by definition) humourous critique might have on the value of this person's programme and how it may play with a non-scientific audience.

Sod the arguments pro and con... the critic got the main protagonist's title wrong!!!

I am a committed environmental campaigner, and subscribe to the notion of 'Probably Man-worsened negative climate change, so it's possibly best to find out what we can and then do what's practical and possible to deal with the potential consequences before it's too late.'

OK, it's not as snappy as 'Global warming' but seems to me a bit more accurate scientifically and may even serve to act as a better basis for helping the vast majority of the public to understand the issues, make their own minds up and, if so motivated, DO what they can to help self, others and future.

So I also passionately believe in the power of persuasion as a tool, through education, fact, logic, debate, sharing, understanding and empathy.

I DO NOT see any merit to the cause of encouraging environmentally positive behaviours though the mindset of 'I'm/we're right. If you disagree you're wrong. And it's our ball, pitch and everything in it, so nar-nee-na-na until we bludgeon you into seeing things our... 'correct' way'.

And this is typified by any, and I mean any eyebrow crank on dogma, and/or its various publicists' methods, getting slapped back with totally facile counter-argument. Pretty much top of this list - which never works and simply serves to undermine credibility still further - is to play the person rather than the ball in an irrelevant manner.

Dr. Stewart - scientist, and climate change programme maker: qualified, eligible and well capable of dishing out and taking science-related bouquets and brickbats

Mr. Delingpole - humourist writer and commentator on TV and how it relates to the public: eligible and well capable of dishing out and taking media writing-related bouquets and brickbats

Such as Roger Harrabin, the face of climate change to 60M UK citizens via our objective national news reporting broadcast medium - arts graduate yet (I may have his title a bit wrong, so sue me) environment analyst: questionably qualified, not really eligible and well capable of dishing out if not taking science-related bouquets and brickbats.

At least he is now joined by Dr. Stewart, but some might argue this hardly adds to the heft of the BBC's output on this critical issue, nor indeed the level of balance.

In their little airmiles-cranking bubble ('But... I flew to the Artic to do this piece to camera to raise awareness'!) it might all seem tickedy boo, but whatever a late-night BBC2 or Guardian piece might do for the already converted (though the level of slap being laid on in these major-lite media almost makes even me want to buy a Humvee) hardly serves when hung out to dry in media that do reach a slightly broader audience.

I know that the green-elite ('you don't get backstage at the concert like we do') 'Coven of Climate Concern' wishes the likes of the Daily Mail, Sun/Clarkson or Ch4 'Axis of Denial' did not exist, but they do. Live with it.

Then work around that fact... and their much bigger, more influential (I know they are deemed unworthy of votes in some quarters by never coming up with the 'right' result, but it's still a democracy... just) audiences.

People join you if they like the invitation; not if you threaten them if they don't.

Me, I'm now off to do my thing, make a few more fun things, and share what I'm up to to try make a bit of dough, feed the family and with luck make the future for them a bit better by being a good provider, slightly less selfish world citizen (I hope) and example (I need the audience ratings). - Sept 18 4:

1 comment:

Peter said...

As Blogger seems to have had a fit and I can no longer post-edit the main body, I must add addenda material here, I hope just for now:

A few links that so far are not too supportive of the programme (Caution: they are from quite 'fervent' CO sources, so assess the opinions on their merits, or not). I will add any that do appreciate its balance as I come across them: - Sept 18