Friday, July 11, 2008

Greenpeace shaming video

I thought this new video from UK Greenpeace that is doing the rounds on the Internet was interesting, provides a follow-up on yesterday's post about shaming, and is even diagnostic of cultural differences between the UK and US senses of "humour" as well as differences in ordinary people's understandings of the climate change issue in both countries. In the video, an office worker is hazed and shamed by his coworkers because he drives an SUV to work.

In the UK, where comedy and hazing at other people's expense is much commonplace and even more brutal than in this country, and where ordinary people are now very concerned about climate change, Greenpeace could expect to succeed with a video like this.

In the US, I would expect this video would just cause resentment and a backlash.

I showed it to Aimee, and she said that the first few minutes were incomprehensible to her because the hazing that was going on was so subtle. After that she got the idea, but it still didn't translate that well.

Two countries forever "separated by a common language."

What I thought was really funny was not the video, but the comments, which were just riddled with confusion and indignity first on the part of Americans, and then from Brits in response.

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