Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It’s the Holidays. Be a Sucker for the Planet


Sent to you by Nigel via Google Reader:


via adventure journal by michael frank on 12/23/11

We couldn't have made this ad any better. Well, maybe with some skiers and surfers and mountain bikers and climbers we could have, save that this two-minute spot from the BBC, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, is filled with athletes of every stripe, all more amazing and talented than any human could ever hope to be. It's sentimental and gooey and anthropomorphizes the animal world. So what. And so what that it's an ad, one that followed the final run of Attenborough with the Beeb and its six-episode Frozen Planet series (he's 85 and has worked with the network for 60 whopping years!), or that he's reciting Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World, itself plenty schmaltzy.

Cynics (humbugs?) will argue that Attenborough and the BBC are glossing a bunch of controversy about the series. There's the U.S. scandal that went down earlier this month when Discovery Channel said it would not air the final episode, which acknowledged that our frozen planet is warming, thanks to climate change, and then reversed course after an online petition reamed them for caving to climate-change deniers.

And in the U.K. the backlash came when it was unearthed that some of Attenborough's narration was not of activity at the North Pole, but that the footage of a polar caring for her young was from a zoo, and the BBC, rather than apologize, explained that lots of nature shows have to do this to capture difficult footage. Unlike the British tabloids, we are not shocked that reality TV, even in the animal kingdom, is staged, just like on the Jersey Shore.

C'mon people. It is STILL a wonderful world, and nothing is faked about how a polar bear gives birth and raises her cubs, and nothing is faked about what these animals actually are and how complex this earth actually is. And yes, it's all a big muddle and nothing is as pure and perfect as we wish it were.

But in the midst of the holiday season we're happy to proclaim awe and wonder for this world. We dig it and every natural thing in it. If you love the outdoors, we think that's the just-right attitude. Be a sap and a sucker. For once, fall for it. It's the holidays, after all. Peace.


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