June 28th, 2011
A screening of “Sizzle” at the World Conference on Science Journalism in Doha brought a great response from a lot of people from foreign countries who understood only part of what was said, but throughly appreciated the idea of a bringing a little humor to the driest topic on the planet. If only the American environmental movement had as good of a sense of humor as these folks.
THE BOYS FROM CAIRO: Me with my homies from Cairo University — a group of communications students who ate up every single word of, “SIzzle,” from start to finish at the World Conference on Science Journalism conference. Great guys who make you see why Mubarek had to go.
I’m in Doha, Qatar for the World Conference on Science Journalism. We showed “Sizzle,” on Sunday to a very appreciative audience who roared with laughter throughout, then soaked in every dramatic moment of the New Orleans segment and the final statement of the lack of climate leadership by the U.S. There were at least a dozen graduate students from Cairo University in the audience, among other folks. They all asked for DVD copies (which are not available because I’ve never been able to pay for the music and image rights in the movie). Most importantly, they got it.
There were no science bloggers present to call it unfunny. Nobody from Nature Magazine to echo their review of “Climate Comedy Falls Flat.” No amateur science film critics to proudly proclaim, “Sizzle Fizzles.”
These are not words of bitterness. They are words of disgust for all the rigid science and environmental folks who feel there’s no place for humor in such a serious issue as climate change.
What can you do? I have fun making films. It shows in all the comedies I’ve produced. And I don’t lose any sleep over the sticks in the mud who don’t get it. But I do find myself these days watching increasingly large amounts of “South Park,” and particularly worshipping their “Smug Alert” episode of last year. And thinking about Chapter 4 in my book, “Don’t Be So Unlikeable.”
The people behind the broad communication of climate change have rightfully dug themselves into an unlikeable hole. They created a voice that is so … let’s just use the South Park term, smug, that nobody wants to listen to them anymore. And THAT is the greatest tragedy of what has happened with the failure to persuade the general public to get behind such a serious and enormous issue. The rest of the world gets it.
In the U.S. the environmentalists point to the climate skeptics as the source of the problem. I still say take a look at yourselves. And watch that South Park episode that concludes with one of the kids saying we’ll all gladly drive Priuses, just don’t ram your preaching and values down our throats. And I revert back to the great essay Chris Mooney wrote about the film upon its release in 2008 titled, “In Reviewing Sizzle Should Science Bloggers See Themselves in the Mirror?”
Nobody likes humorlessness.