I wouldn’t normally bother commenting on this sort of thing, besides which I gather lots of other people have already expressed horror for a variety of reasons. (Though plenty of others applauded it, and that’s what alarms me.)
I believe exploding people can be funny; and, given the popular taste for gory entertainment, it’s hard to take offense merely on that score. What I do find disquieting is the blithe assumption, at least implicitly, that we’re all on the same bandwagon here, and dissenters don’t rate a hearing or can’t adopt an attitude of indifference if they want to. What’s happened to ideals of democratic pluralism and the notion that the truth and correct action should be tested in a Darwinian play of opposing ideas? Shouldn’t individuals be able to adopt whatever beliefs and behavior they like so long as it doesn’t patently harm others?
Aha, you might respond. If you’re not part of the solution in this matter you’re part of the problem, so your indifference is drowning coastal populations, starving drought-ravaged farmers, inflating my air-conditioning bills and everything. Okay, let’s say you’ve got a point. Then what are we going to do with rapacious capitalists, urban car owners, smokers… Oh, yeah, I forgot: smokers are already part of a global witch hunt.)
And what’s next? Should we expedite the godless on their way to a hotter place? Burn astrologers at the stake? Or maybe that should be astronomers? Anyone who doesn’t uncritically accept the Beatles as the greatest musicians in modern Western culture should be locked in a steel box and subjected to Metallica till they’re reduced to a glowing plasma?
I’m all for doing something about global warming, supposing that this is s a real issue (I’m convinced it is) and supposing I feel like it. But what about preserving liberal-democratic values in societies that pretend to espouse them–shouldn’t we take some time to do something about that? Or should we push the detonator button on those who can’t find the time because they’re too busy saving the planet from carbon dioxide by peddling their expensive hi-tech bicycles all around the place?
Okay. That’s as curmudgeonly as I plan to get this morning. (And they were only trying to be funny, right? Plus this issue is so important it’s okay to frig about with core human values just to catch everyone’s attention, eh? I don’t think so, but maybe. What else can I say and still pretend to tolerance?)