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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
lamarca Obit: Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is dead (Sep06) (189* d) RE: Obit: Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is dead (Se 04 Sep 06


Big Mick said: Growing up in the 50's and 60's, we used to see the marvelous work done by wildlife videographers that clearly took months of dedication. It clearly sought to not impose on the animals world, but instead to observe. There was not a need for much dramatics, the pureness of the natural world provided it. And, if one were interested, one came to understand how it all works together.

Sorry, Mick, but the 50's and 60's "Nature" films, at least the ones produced by Disney, were atrocious - they used captive animals and created fictitious "real-life" scenes, such as the infamous White Wilderness. In this film, they purchased lemmings captured by Inuit children, jumbled them all together on a turntable device to get good camera angles that made it look like a swarm, then drove them over a cliff to their deaths, forever spawning the Myth of Lemming Suicide (and a good number of funny Les Barker poems). Check it out on my favorite Urban Legend-Busting site, http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.htm

It takes years to make really dedicated, thoughtful natural history films like Microcosmos and Winged Migration; something that doesn't appeal to the Roman Circus appetites of typical TV viewers. Why are there so many "Natural History" programs that feature predators? Why is animal vs. animal violence and sex more appealing to the Naked Apes who watch TV than explorations of the intricacies of the ecological web in which we live?

While cable channels such as Animal Planet and Discovery have managed to educate some people, they've also had the drawback of giving false expectations. People will go to Yellowstone and expect the wildlife to be right there, on display, just like it is on TV.

From what I've read on the birding listserve to which I subscribe, Steve Irwin did a lot of valuable conservation work with the money his quirky show produced, and he's to be lauded for that. I just wish that he hadn't had to play to the Animal in us to win interest and empathy for the other living things with whom we have to share a planet.


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