Thursday, August 08, 2013

Does Shark Week harm Conservation Efforts?


But IMO it's more of an ethical than a practical issue.
This new article in Scientific American echoes the known reservations by Chris Palmer and many others about the widespread fakery in wildlife films that has just reached a new ignominious peak in the Megalodon fabrication. I've already blogged about this topic years ago and invite you to go and read it here - and here is one of several posts about the best way to go about when producing advocacy films, that is to showcase the positive and fascinating aspects instead of trying to shock the audience, especially if we wish to reach out beyond our own circles and not continue to preach to the choir. Love not Loss!
That's the theory, and the arguments are I believe impeccable.

But what about the practical implications?
Will people who love the film vote in a positive way for senators and congressmen who will vote in a more sustainable manner like Palmer asserts? Yes, maybe - but if so, that would be a tiny interested minority, the more as I don't recall one single political campaign focusing on marine conservation, let alone on the conservation of Sharks?

Like I said, it's more of an ethical debate.
And in that sense, those programs are a total abomination!
para_sight is of course absolutely correct in his observation that as long as the ratings remain so stellar, Discovery couldn't give a shit and will continue laughing all the way to the bank. But what about those fake conservationists who enable and endorse that shit - think they are equally impervious to criticism?
We shall see - and I may add, so far so bad!

And in the big scheme of things?
There, I would surmise that this conversation is totally irrelevant!
I can promise you that the thousands of fishermen in Indonesia, India, Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, United States of America, Malaysia, Pakistan, Brazil, Japan, France, New Zealand, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Islamic Republic of Iran, Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea and Yemen do not kill those Sharks because they hate them owing to having watched Jaws or for the matter, the Shark porn on Discovery! And by the same token, I can equally promise you that they will not stop killing them because of the latest inane video clip of the token bimbette swimming loops around a perplexed OWT!
I mean, seriously - that argument is so stupid, it is frankly embarrassing!

I'm not saying that good wildlife programming is not beneficial.
It is very much so, especially in the long term. It may indeed sway voters and possibly change the political discourse - tho considering that An Inconvenient Truth failed to spark any substantive policy despite of an Oscar, plus a Nobel Prize for Gore and the IPCC I'm alas rather skeptical. 
But those excellent productions will undoubtedly again arouse a new generation of advocates, conservationists and researchers, and those will hopefully make a contribution for the better. As an example, I'm convinced that we would be still condoning the killing of the big cats for trophies and fur coats, and that we would still be purchasing ivory trinkets and tortoise eyeglass frames were it not for those past stellar wildlife documentaries!
So by all means, keep at it!

But can we please stop those stupidities.
All those pathetic shark videos by those desperate self promoters with big cameras and small talents that are being pushed around the film festival circuit, to be acclaimed by the vegan organic cotton and Birkenstock mob. All those atrocious Shark conservation edits on YouTube that are an insult to one's intelligence. 
And especially all those media featuring those Shark-molesting scantily clad bimbos who are doubly pathetic once one realizes that they are merely being pimped, for profit, by those very same producers and camera-toting dudes! Seriously, conservation is literally awash in incredibly smart, committed, hard working and emancipated women who are quietly doing terrific work for Shark conservation, largely away from the public eye - and not a single one would demean and embarrass herself in that way, ever! 

Any names come to mind?
And if so, why are we tolerating all that bullshit?

And Shark Weeek?
Meh. Up to you. 
Watch it, or don't - it doesn't really matter one way or the other.

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