You are all worthless, insignificant trash and deserve to die! This is the message of Julia Roberts’s cheery infomercial for the environmental campaign group Conservation International, in which she assumes the persona of Mother Nature and dumps all over the human race.
“I don’t really need people but people need me,” she declares, with weird relish, in her special ice-bitch voice. “I have fed species greater than you and I have starved species greater than you.”
Apparently this is meant to make us feel bad. Or guilty. Or eager to donate to Conservation International. Or like really naughty boys and girls who deserve a good spanking from Mother Nature. Or something. The message isn’t really clear, possibly because the copywriter was so high on a heady mix of greenie misanthropy and the thrill of getting to work with Julia Roberts that he (or she) rather lost the plot.
For example, the video concludes:
“I am nature. I will go on.”
If this is the case then what’s the point of Conservation International? Nature will do just fine, regardless of what we do.
Yet, at the same time, the video wants to have its cake and eat it by suggesting that Nature is experiencing some kind of crisis (as we’re supposed to infer from the dramatic pictures of calving glaciers crashing into the sea, and suchlike) for which humans are responsible and which somehow we have a duty to remedy.
But if this is what it wants us to do it has a funny way of asking. Normally when you want people to do something expensive and boring and difficult, you suck up to them and tell them how great they are first. This video, on the other hand, seems to be aimed primarily at auto-flagellants or the kind of people who pay large sums of money to dress up in gimp suits and be abused by Madam Whiplash types in surburban dungeons. “Give us your money because you’re trash and we hate you!” seems to be its winning subliminal message.
In another video in the series, Kevin Spacey takes on the role of the Rain Forest and he too sounds very unimpressed by the human race.
“But humans they’re so smart. Soooo smart….” says Kevin the Rain Forest.
You can tell he doesn’t mean it though because, with the effortless brilliance which has made him one of the world’s most celebrated thespians, Spacey puts on his special sarcastic voice conveying that he is being, like, totally ironic here.
It’s the Julia Roberts video, though, that I find personally more disappointing.
When Pretty Woman first came out I responded as if it were a great movie and as though Julia Roberts were the hottest babe in the world. But this was only because I felt sorry for her. It was patently obvious at the time that Meg Ryan was way more attractive and that the plot of Pretty Woman was silly, sentimental and implausible, but Julia seemed so sweet and waifishly frail it seemed cruel to let her know the truth, so, along with a lot of other men I know, I faked it.
And this is how she repays us! Thanks a bunch, Julia.