Growing up, I skipped school all the time.
It started when I was 10 years old and our school decided that we should perform musicals all around town. Our teachers would never admit to it, but they strived to present well-behaved and choir-singing children under their culturally acclaimed ward. When I put my protests in writing, I got to experience what it means for a child to have grown-up enemies.
It’s safe to say that I salute my fellow Swede Greta Thunberg for skipping school to fight for something she believes in.
From a PR perspective, few of these angry publics are fighting from a strong position.
For sure, the reporting is unbalanced when a young social media natural with a such a basic message (“We could do more for our environment!”) is awarded with an immensely powerful media platform. However, this is merely the logical outcome of how media works; many of Thunberg’s critics would be quite accurate — if only they aimed their harsh words against the media logic itself.
What about skipping school, then? Well, I got away with cutting classes for one simple reason: I always showed up for my tests and I always did well on them. And, when I did attend class, I made sure to demonstrate my knowledge clearly. I don’t know exactly just how many classes Thunberg skipped, but it sure didn’t hurt her grades.
“She got these excellent grades despite being absent from class far more than most of her followers: As the leader of a movement, an international celebrity, and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, she traveled extensively during her last school year.”
— Leonid Bershidsky at email@example.com
Still, Thunberg might be winning the moral PR war, but is she making a real difference for the climate? Or is she just adding to the divisiveness of our society? Our mutual future will tell. For now, I sure do admire anyone who dares to face devastating online hatred for a personal conviction.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons