Being Right. And Being Effective.

October 16, 2022

The VanGogh soup throwing kids were, of course, right about the state of the planet. But some of the wisest advice I ever got was, “Being right is the booby prize of life”. Being Right is an essential starting point, as Davey Crocket said. But the goal is to be Effective.

There are many examples of effective climate communication that do not involve destroying art, but in fact are themselves art.

We understand that not every piece of art “works” for everyone, and that some works of art succeed by mobilizing and focusing the artists, or creative team, even if they don’t reach and touch a wide audience.
A big “X” factor is media uptake.
The “stickiness” of any particular meme is a bit of a mystery, if anyone produces an empirical formula for that, let me know.


6 Responses to “Being Right. And Being Effective.”

  1. Lucas Vereline Says:

    FWIW, the Van Gogh wasn’t damaged since it’s behind glass.

  2. jimbills Says:

    A deeper look at the Just Stop Oil activist group, as well as British governmental actions to increase punishments for disruptive protests:

    The sad thing is that hundreds of protests, like that street performance dance above, get little to no media attention, even locally. The elaborate, and probably expensive, koala protest above probably got a little media attention. Our current media only seems to be moved by the shocking and scandalous – so, shocking and scandalous protests are being adopted.

    If we think things are bad now, though, just wait. As the environment deteriorates and as we continue to drag our feet politically on climate action, I’d expect individual activist groups to adopt more and more extreme forms of protest. The recent protest where two young ladies threw soup at a painting they knew was protected by glass and wouldn’t be harmed will seem very tame in retrospect.

    The vast majority will be outraged by such tactics, but the vast majority don’t really care about the message the protesters are trying to impart to the public. They just want to live their daily lives in their own little bubbles of cares and concerns. They aren’t listening to the activists, and they mock protests no matter what form they take. How can any small, stunt-like protest be ‘effective’ when the vast majority would rather tune them out and even liberal governments like Britain react by increasing punishments for the protesters? The only way protests would work would be overwhelming masses of people converging everywhere. But that’s the whole problem – we aren’t getting that sort of mass movement in our society.

  3. greenman3610 Says:

    concern is that right wing interests use ill considered actions as a bludgeon against progressive politics generally, and often that is successful.

    • jimbills Says:

      From the perspective of these activists, the governments themselves (and the wealthy interests that determine much of policy) are already ‘right wing’. They’re tired of just accepting the world as it is, and feel there is no more time anymore to meekly accept it. Decades of tepid climate protests have produced virtually no effect except perhaps promises from governments for future declines, of which almost every government is failing miserably to meet.

      Of course, the right will take any evidence of leftist nuttiness to burnish their own agenda. But, they’ll take anything they can get to do that. Clinton and Benghazi, etc etc etc. If we’re kowtowing to worrying what the right will do, aren’t we already ceding to them? (See Musk and Ukraine.)

      Personally, I’m skeptical that this newer form of climate protest will achieve much other than to anger large parts of the country and world. But, seriously, eff anyone who gets angry about the protesters. The people that think that are unreasonable screwheads already. If they had their way, we’d never change and run this train off the bridge while authoritarians crack the skulls of anyone who question why it was happening.

      I think the protesters folks are brave, if foolish. I also think they’ll be viewed much more favorably in the future than they are now.

      Look at it this way – in a few decades Bangladesh is flooded, Pakistan has no running water, large-scale crop failures are happening worldwide, massive hurricanes are devastating historic cities – but we pitch a fit now because two kids make a symbolic act by throwing soup on a glass-covered painting in protest against it. We’re the idiots with a messed up perspective.

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