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OpalCat
11-11-2010, 11:02 PM
I'm totally unable to sleep right now because I just watched what felt like 10 minutes of slow motion baby wildebeest death-by-crocodile. Why do they do that? I mean I get showing the whole thing, the good and the bad, but why slow it down, why zoom in, why PLAY THE AGONIZING AUDIO while the poor thing squeals in pain and terror?

Argh!!!

AClockworkMelon
11-11-2010, 11:17 PM
Oh, that weepy music wasn't added by them. It occurs in nature.

Glad I could clear that up.

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 12:22 AM
This wildebeest was getting torn apart and its mom was on the bank bleating and shuffling around trying to help.... god I could cry all over again...

DataZak
11-12-2010, 12:23 AM
Snuff films are okay when it's animal vs animal, I guess.

Ellis Dee
11-12-2010, 02:41 AM
It's helpful context next time you hear about the inhumane treatment of domesticated livestock.

Blake
11-12-2010, 03:54 AM
Yes, it has a point to make. These are supposed to be documentaries. Every documentary shows the nice bits of nature in slow motion, zoomed in and with the audio playing. We don't see birds singing filmed from half a mile away with the sound off. Or bighorn sheep fighting as a silent movie of two dots on a mountainside. The pretty bits are always shown in slow motion, close up, with full stereo sound.

The problem with that is that it has given people a very rosy view of nature. As though every animal lives a full and happy life, and it's all either beautiful and serene or majestic and noble. Nothing could be further than the truth. fully 1/3 of all wildebeest die a gruesome death before they see their first birthday. 99.9% of them die a gruesome death of some sort.

It's good for people to see the brutal side of nature. It gives them a sense of perspective.

Koxinga
11-12-2010, 04:31 AM
I remember in the documentary Grizzly Man how horrified that Timothy Treadwell guy was to find that one of the bears he (felt he) had bonded with so well turned around and devoured one of its own cubs. It was clear that he was thinking of them as people, and seemed to have the same reaction as you might if you ran across the bones of a baby your best friend had recently gnawed on.

Laudenum
11-12-2010, 05:29 AM
This wildebeest was getting torn apart and its mom was on the bank bleating and shuffling around trying to help.... god I could cry all over again...

That is real life in the wild - nasty, brutal and short.

Turek
11-12-2010, 06:54 AM
I saw an IMax documentary on African herd migration and there was a similar scene. And the whole time, I could hear the woman behind me muttering, "Oh, now why did they have to show that??" over and over with other sounds of cringing and disapproval.

I really had to fight the urge to turn around and tell her, "Because that's how life for a wildebeast IS. Surely you had to know when you sat down that this was a documentary and not some Disney flick."

Ludovic
11-12-2010, 07:06 AM
Ironically, it's a distorted view of the life of an animal. They have to shoot dozens, if not more, attempted kills before shooting a successful one. Apparently they think the viewers are bloodthirsty enough that they would be bored if they showed more than a 50/50 ratio of successful ones for the prey vs predator. For a long time it made me wonder how any prey animals at all could survive more than a day before I learned that predators are not nearly as successful when they attack as "documentaries" would have you believe.

rostfrei
11-12-2010, 07:22 AM
I was watching (what seemed like) a lighthearted documentary about a family of ducks that lived in a large city. It followed them around for weeks and documented their adaptation to city life, etc. Then, at the end of the documentary, the announcer said, "Sadly, shortly after this was filmed, a freak thunderstorm hit the city and all of the ducks were swept down a storm drain to their deaths". WTF?

Shawn1767
11-12-2010, 07:35 AM
Hmmm... the universe just doesn't care about baby wildebeests. What about the crocodile? It benefitted from eating the wildebeest. Would you be upset if you saw a starving crocodile who was going to die? That's the way the universe works. Fortune and misfortune are in the eyes of the beholder. The wildebeest species as a whole benefits because now, the baby's genes will no longer be in the gene pool to be passed along to other slow-moving wildebeests. It's a constant arms race.

Laudenum
11-12-2010, 08:13 AM
Ironically, it's a distorted view of the life of an animal. They have to shoot dozens, if not more, attempted kills before shooting a successful one. Apparently they think the viewers are bloodthirsty enough that they would be bored if they showed more than a 50/50 ratio of successful ones for the prey vs predator. For a long time it made me wonder how any prey animals at all could survive more than a day before I learned that predators are not nearly as successful when they attack as "documentaries" would have you believe.

Really?

I would have thought an animal that unsuccessfully expended that much energy frequently would die pretty soon - it burns a lot of calories to even fail at taking down a wildebeest.

sandra_nz
11-12-2010, 08:16 AM
Whilst I agree that death is a natural part of life and so should be shown in a documentary about wildlife, it doesn't need to be made overly melodramatic in the way it is today (with the sad music and slow motion photography). I think that is what the OP is referring to, not that she objects to death being shown at all.

Hello Again
11-12-2010, 08:17 AM
Some people flipped over the scene in the feral horse documentary "Cloud" where a foal is born malformed and can't stand. Because the mare won't leave the foal, Cloud, the lead stallion, stomps the foal to death.

Nature, red in tooth and claw.

ThelmaLou
11-12-2010, 08:25 AM
The question wasn't why crocodiles eat baby anythings.

The question was why do nature programs show every detail with agonizing sound effects and close-ups.

The answer is not that they are portraying nature accurately as it happens. Most of life- ours and animals'- is boring and uneventful.

They show this suffering and death so that it will cause an emotional reaction and get the viewer's adrenalin pumping. So you will remember the program and talk about it- as we are doing here.

If you feel like this is a device to manipulate your emotions and jerk you around, you're right: it is.

Koxinga
11-12-2010, 08:35 AM
If you feel like this is a device to manipulate your emotions and jerk you around, you're right: it is.

Closeups of baby birds and cubs playing manipulate your emotions as well. Anything shown in such a program is selected from hours of footage to find the stuff best able to keep the viewer's attention and elicit a reaction. Welcome to this concept we call "entertainment."

So you don't like the selection offered by the director. Fair enough, but you might acknowledge that this particular selection is just as legitimate (or whatever) than the sunset shots of birds soaring and cute portrayals of lion cubs playing. Pretending that a baby wildebeast being devoured by a crocodile is some kind of horrid aberration from the way nature ought to be would be awfully silly, if not downright deluded.

Captain Amazing
11-12-2010, 08:41 AM
They focus on the lion killing the wildebeest or whatever because that's what people who watch nature documentaries want to see.

kapri
11-12-2010, 08:48 AM
I'm with you, Opal. The idea of an innocent creature (which, to me includes all animals) suffering that way is more than I can bear. I know it happens, but I can't bring myself to watch it, and why should I? I avoid those kinds of nature programs, not because I'm looking at the world through rose-colored glasses but because I see no need to witness suffering voluntarily when I see enough of it in my day-to-day life.

Ludovic
11-12-2010, 09:12 AM
They focus on the lion killing the wildebeest or whatever because that's what people who watch nature documentaries want to see.

I avoid those kinds of nature programs, not because I'm looking at the world through rose-colored glasses but because I see no need to witness suffering voluntarily when I see enough of it in my day-to-day life. Quoted for self-fulfilling prophecy.

Max Torque
11-12-2010, 11:12 AM
They showed it so graphically and dramatically because, let's face it, crocodiles (and most other animals) don't do much. A great deal of a crocodile's life is spent lying, or floating about, motionless.

Crocodiles basically do three things: they eat, they shit, and they make more crocodiles. No one's interested in watching a crocodile take a shit, so you're left with eating and making little crocodiles. The rest of the time, watching a crocodile is like watching a log. So, documentaries show the few things the animals actually do, in great detail.

I suppose the real question should be: why are there so many documentaries about crocodiles, when there are so many other animals that are livelier and more interesting? Show us bees or beavers or termites or giant squid or something.

Ludovic
11-12-2010, 11:21 AM
Or giant squid that when they open their mouth bees shoot out.

AuntiePam
11-12-2010, 11:49 AM
Winged Migration has a nice balance. The four or five scenes of birds dying or being killed weren't drawn out and the music wasn't overplayed. The scenes aren't easy to watch though (especially the one with the crabs).

But I think I get the OP -- why emphasize the gory stuff?

Knorf
11-12-2010, 12:03 PM
I'm with you, Opal. The idea of an innocent creature (which, to me includes all animals) suffering that way is more than I can bear. I know it happens, but I can't bring myself to watch it, and why should I? I avoid those kinds of nature programs, not because I'm looking at the world through rose-colored glasses but because I see no need to witness suffering voluntarily when I see enough of it in my day-to-day life.

Yeah? What kind of suffering--comparable to being eaten slowly by a large carnivore--do you see in your day-to-day life?

Answer to the OP: because it teaches you something and provides a perspective you otherwise rarely get. Also because it makes for exciting television. You can live in a perfect little imaginary cocoon where all creatures of nature may as well be vegans, but that ain't the truth by a long shot.

Edit: Also, crying is good for you.

Apollo
11-12-2010, 12:34 PM
Oh come on, havenít you guys learnt anything from Disney
Itís The Circle of Life

*Cue African chant

Dallas Jones
11-12-2010, 12:58 PM
I'm with you, Opal. The idea of an innocent creature (which, to me includes all animals) suffering that way is more than I can bear. I know it happens, but I can't bring myself to watch it, and why should I? I avoid those kinds of nature programs, not because I'm looking at the world through rose-colored glasses but because I see no need to witness suffering voluntarily when I see enough of it in my day-to-day life.

You know it happens. Do you realize that violent death is the norm and it almost always happens to wild animals? The young, those only a few years old but past their prime, the slow, those with any injury or disease, all get ripped apart by predators and eaten, usually while they are still partially alive. Sometimes illness or disease or accident will kill them before the predators come, then they go to the scavengers.

There is no elephant graveyard where the wise old ones go to die after a long happy life. There is very little death from old age at all in the natural world.

The sort of Walt Disney world of nature where all animals would live in harmony, with an occational killing for the need of the pack or herd is a fantasy. It usually contains an element about the Evil of Man. This thinking is a religious hold over from the several Garden of Eden type myths. The "innocent creature" must be held in high regard separate from the "sins and evils of Man."

The reality is if you are a prey animal and you screw up you are breakfast. If you are smart and manage to survive long enough to breed, you still get eaten, but for dinner instead of breakfast.

Skald the Rhymer
11-12-2010, 01:16 PM
Snuff films are okay when it's animal vs animal, I guess.

Snuff films, if they exist, record murders. Non-human animals cannot be murdered, as murder is the killing of a human.

I didn't see the documentary in session, but I can recall Mrs. Rhymer weeping when we watched a PBS piece about polar bears, which could basically be summarized as "Polar bears are beautiful, majestic creatures and the world will be far poorer when they are extinct, which, incidentally, will happen any decade now. Possibly any year. In fact we wouldn't be surprised if they were all gone by January but we pray that Athena will be merciful." And frankly I felt a little like crying myself with the male polar bear killed & ate the cubs.

Dallas Jones
11-12-2010, 01:32 PM
All wild polar bears drowned last summer due to the evils of man, or the Bush administration, or both and are now only found in zoos.

Do try to keep up on current events. ;)

DonLogan
11-12-2010, 01:38 PM
When that happens, five mins later, the other wildebeests are like, "Whatevs..."

You don't see wildebeests creating insta-shrines every time some goober wildebeest snuffs it.

Ludovic
11-12-2010, 01:52 PM
When that happens, five mins later, the other wildebeests are like, "Whatevs..."

You don't see wildebeests creating insta-shrines every time some goober wildebeest snuffs it.But elephants do. Possibly because evolution favors hanging around a corpse on the offhand chance it isn't really dead since most predators (i.e. all that I can think of cept for man) are unable to harm a pack of fully grown elephants. But possibly because they are genuinely sad that a herd member has died. Possibly a combination of both.

jjimm
11-12-2010, 02:11 PM
That is real life in the wild - nasty, brutal and short."Solitary, nasty, brutish and short" was actually coined by Hobbes about pre-civilisation humanity. I think the most appropriate phrase wrt the OP is Tennyson's "Nature, red in tooth and claw".

Same difference I know, just being a pedantic twat.

Slithy Tove
11-12-2010, 02:20 PM
Meerkat Manor was a good counter-example. Sure, the little critters kept getting knocked off like it was the Sopranos, but the show gave them names and let their personalites develop, instead of just objects of grim pity.

Cheesesteak
11-12-2010, 02:42 PM
Meerkat Manor was a good counter-example. Sure, the little critters kept getting knocked off like it was the Sopranos, but the show gave them names and let their personalites develop, instead of just objects of grim pity.My wife had to stop watching that show, because she would get all interested in the "characters" only to watch them die by the next episode. One meerkat would die and a whole evening was ruined.

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 03:02 PM
Whilst I agree that death is a natural part of life and so should be shown in a documentary about wildlife, it doesn't need to be made overly melodramatic in the way it is today (with the sad music and slow motion photography). I think that is what the OP is referring to, not that she objects to death being shown at all.

Thank you. This is exactly what I am saying. Yes the entire documentary is zoomed to an extent--nothing is dots on the horizon--but when something dies, they zoom in more, to get every rending tear. Then they slow it down (which I did not notice them doing much for the rest of the documentary, only the deaths) and play it over from as many angles as they can. They make such a show of the brutal killing, rather than just showing it in perspective with the rest of the life of the animals. It's gruesome and panders to a certain type of sick audience IMO.

As for the comment earlier about domesticated livestock--I've been a vegetarian for 24 years and avoid all information about abuse of livestock because I can't handle it and it makes me depressed for days.

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 03:06 PM
Winged Migration has a nice balance. The four or five scenes of birds dying or being killed weren't drawn out and the music wasn't overplayed. The scenes aren't easy to watch though (especially the one with the crabs).

But I think I get the OP -- why emphasize the gory stuff?

Oh, it wasn't MUSIC that was overplayed. It was the actual audio of the killing. The bleating of the dying calf, the hysterics of the mother who was spazzing out, etc. In slow motion.

Peremensoe
11-12-2010, 03:11 PM
Whilst I agree that death is a natural part of life and so should be shown in a documentary about wildlife, it doesn't need to be made overly melodramatic in the way it is today (with the sad music and slow motion photography). I think that is what the OP is referring to, not that she objects to death being shown at all.

Let's make a distinction between drama and melodrama. Drama is good, whether in the depiction of violent death or of less-grim subjects. Melodrama is too much.

Oh, it wasn't MUSIC that was overplayed. It was the actual audio of the killing. The bleating of the dying calf, the hysterics of the mother who was spazzing out, etc. In slow motion.

How can actual audio be overplayed, if the scene itself is worth having? You'd rather have music or sound effects or silence that wasn't there?

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 03:13 PM
I'd like to reiterate what I said in my OP which the majority of replies seem to have missed: I GET that they have to show the good AND the bad. This isn't my complaint. It's the WAY they show the bad that gets to me. Slow motion, repeated shots, zoomed way in, etc, all the while playing the sounds of the animal dying... It takes way more time than other single incidents they show. It's highly disturbing.

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 03:14 PM
How can actual audio be overplayed, if the scene itself is worth having? You'd rather have music or sound effects or silence that wasn't there?

Because it's louder than it would have been from the camera's distance, it's slowed down, it's played over and over...

Peremensoe
11-12-2010, 03:17 PM
It takes way more time than other single incidents they show.

But is it out of proportion to the actual, real-life drama of the situation? I mean, successful predation is pretty important for the predator, still more so for prey. Starting with the assumption that actual drama is the right thing to emphasize in depicting a true story dramatically, doesn't it make sense that such moments be expanded?

Think of some dramatic films you've seen about humans--don't the most dramatic moments often have similar expansion?

a35362
11-12-2010, 03:24 PM
What I want to know is why, when the lionesses are chasing down something with hooves, why am I rooting for the lionesses every single time?

GrandWino
11-12-2010, 03:37 PM
Because it's louder than it would have been from the camera's distance, it's slowed down, it's played over and over...

It really sucks that they forced you to watch that entire sequence.

Freddy the Pig
11-12-2010, 03:48 PM
What I want to know is why, when the lionesses are chasing down something with hooves, why am I rooting for the lionesses every single time?I can't answer for you, but I can answer for me: I identify with hunger. I'm a spoiled creature of modern civilization, and I really, really hate being hungry. As in, I hate when dinner is an hour late. Some of those poor lions have gone without eating for days.

Then I think how horrible it would be to be in their situation, crouching and waiting (and getting hungrier!), and then attacking, knowing that if you failed you'd be hungrier still from the effort, and have to wait who knows how long until you could try again. So yeah, I root for the lions. Mmm, wildebeest!

Skald the Rhymer
11-12-2010, 04:11 PM
But elephants do. Possibly because evolution favors hanging around a corpse on the offhand chance it isn't really dead since most predators (i.e. all that I can think of cept for man) are unable to harm a pack of fully grown elephants. But possibly because they are genuinely sad that a herd member has died. Possibly a combination of both.

Lions sometimes attack elephants, though typically younger ones. Younger elephants, I mean. Look here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2ZW0EvMzSM) for a video of such an attack. Be warned that the attack might be disturbing to some.

Skald the Rhymer
11-12-2010, 04:14 PM
What I want to know is why, when the lionesses are chasing down something with hooves, why am I rooting for the lionesses every single time?

You are, I presume, a human being, and thus descended from predators.

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 04:49 PM
It really sucks that they forced you to watch that entire sequence.

I use my hand to block the gory bits so I don't have to watch them.

Blake
11-12-2010, 05:03 PM
Ironically, it's a distorted view of the life of an animal. .

How is it distorted?

Are you saying that the vast majority of wildebeest aren't killed by predators in this manner?

Are you saying that the vast majority of wildebeest won't lose calves in this manner.

Because is those facts are true, then the only distortion would be not showing it. Right? I mean, if most individuals of a species experience such an event, how can showing the event be a distortion?


....when something dies, they zoom in more, to get every rending tear. Then they slow it down (which I did not notice them doing much for the rest of the documentary, only the deaths) and play it over from as many angles as they can. They make such a show of the brutal killing, rather than just showing it in perspective with the rest of the life of the animals.

I have watched a LOT of nature docos in my life. While I can't speak for the one that you watched, these statements simply are not true of nature documentaries in general.

For example, at about 2 minutes in this clip (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3612668/kangaroo_boxing_life_of_mammals_bbc/)the fights start. It is shown in closeup. It is slowed down. It is shown from multiple angles.

This entire video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NcJ_63z-mA) shows bears feeding on fish. And it's all shown in closeup. It is all slowed down. It is all shown from multiple angles.

Now maybe the documentary you saw was different. Maybe in the whole thing only one scene was shown in close-up and slow motion and from multiple angles. But if that is the case, it is exceptional. I have never seen a wildlife documentary that did not have multiple scenes shot in this manner. Since the documentary you saw was exceptional, for every hour of footage of deaths shown in this way there are at least an equal number of hours showing the "majestic" aspects of nature using exactly the same techniques. So once again, the point of showing the more brutal aspects in the same manner is to provide some sort of balance and make the educational process more complete.


Just out of interest, can you tell us the name of this documentary so that we can try and see for ourselves if there really was only one scene shown in close-up from multiple angles with the sound on?


It's gruesome and panders to a certain type of sick audience IMO.

:dubious:
So people who want to see all aspects of nature portrayed in the same manner are sick? People who want to see bears eating salmon in slow motion, from multiple angles, with the sound on are nature lovers. People who want to see whales fucking in slow motion, from multiple angles, with the sound on are nature lovers. People who want to see kangaroos fighting in slow motion, from multiple angles, with the sound on are nature lovers

But people who want to crocodiles eating wildebeest in exactly the same way a are sick.

Interesting viewpoint, and very telling.

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 05:12 PM
No, it wasn't only one scene. It was every DEATH scene. The documentary was the first episode of "Great Migrations."

People who want to see every rending tear and death squeal of a dying animal, in slow motion and zoomed in, are sick.

Cuckoorex
11-12-2010, 05:24 PM
Are you sure it wasn't a clip from The Passion of the Wildebeast?

Blake
11-12-2010, 06:26 PM
No, it wasn't only one scene. It was every DEATH scene. The documentary was the first episode of "Great Migrations."

Well in that case you are simply misremembering what you saw.

I put ["Great Migrations" wildebeest] into a Google video search, and it took me straight to the epiode. You can watch it yourself here (http://natgeotv.com/uk/great-migrations/videos/ostrich-dance).

As you can see from watching that video, much of the episode you saw was shot in slow motion and close-up with multiple angles. Indeed that video starts with shots of wildebeest walking and running, in slow motion and close-up with multiple angles.


So you simply misremembred. This is fairly common in people exposed to material they struggle with emotionally. They the human mind remembers the bits that provoked a reaction at the expense of the other details. That's a good survival trait from an evolutionary POV because it forces us to remember events that are dangerous. It unfortunately causes problems when we need an accurate analysis of events.


It's no big deal. But you now know that it wasn't just the death scenes that were shot in close-up, from multiple angles and in slow motion. Much of the show was shot in that way. You just failed to remember it because those scenes didn't have any emotional impact.


People who want to see every rending tear and death squeal of a dying animal, in slow motion and zoomed in, are sick.

So people can watch wildebeest running, fighting, feeding and fucking with full sound, in slow motion and zoomed in, and that's fine. But if they watch a wildebeest dying in the same manner, they are mentally ill?

As I said, that's very telling. The people who are watching all aspects of wildebeest ecology and behaviour in the same manner are somehow sick and are perceived as harming either themselves or others. Only those who insist on watching the death scenes in a totally different manner that reduces the mental impact are mentally acceptable.

Like I said, it's very telling that you believe this.

Blake
11-12-2010, 06:34 PM
You can actually watch the very first minute of the episode here (http://natgeotv.com/uk/great-migrations/videos/born-to-move).

The episode starts with shots of butterflies flying, in slow motion and close-up with multiple angles, and whales swimming in slow motion and close-up with multiple angles and neonatal wildebeest struggling to stand, in slow motion and close-up with multiple angles. And so forth.

Blake
11-12-2010, 06:51 PM
Another part of the same episode here (http://natgeotv.com/uk/great-migrations/videos/the-hunt). This one features slow motion footage of a zebra mare chasing off a cheetah. No deaths involved. It also shows slow motion footage of a wildebeest calf playing. No deaths involved. (For those who struggle to deal with other aspects of wildebeest behaviour portrayed in exactly the same manner, it also shows a calf being killed, about 1/4 of a second in slow motion).

It actually looks like an OK documentary, but it's been produced in NatGeo melodrama boilerplate, which means there are tonnes of scenes shot in slowmo, from multiple angles and with full sound.

Anybody claiming that it's only the death scenes presented in that manner should watch the episode again, or at least the clips I've linked to here, and see if they change their mind.

Knorf
11-12-2010, 07:20 PM
No, it wasn't only one scene. It was every DEATH scene. The documentary was the first episode of "Great Migrations."

People who want to see every rending tear and death squeal of a dying animal, in slow motion and zoomed in, are sick.

Yes, right, National Geographic is all about creating gruesome animal deaths to titillate "sick" people. No other purpose.

I've seen that video, and I vehemently disagree with your overly previous, weepy characterization of it.

Knorf
11-12-2010, 07:27 PM
I'd like to reiterate what I said in my OP which the majority of replies seem to have missed: I GET that they have to show the good AND the bad.

What you don't get, is that there is nothing inherently "bad" about the predation of animals by other animals.

That is exclusively human subjective judgment that has no relevance in the wild.

Tamerlane
11-12-2010, 08:29 PM
there is nothing inherently "bad" about the predation of animals by other animals.

Pretty much.

It's a matter of degrees of emotional attachement. If I had a beloved pet domestic rabbit that was snatched off my back porch by a large raptor, it would be both "bad" and tragic from my POV.

But if I saw that same raptor take a wild rabbit in some parkland, I'd be thrilled. Because it is exceptionally rare to be in the right time at the right place to get a glimpse of that sort of wild behavior. To this day one of the most amazing wildlife moments I've ever seen in RL was a Sharp-Shinned Hawk snatching a Brewer's Blackbird out of the air in an urban area ten feet above my head ( blackbird feathers rained down on my face as I gaped upwards, dumbfounded ).

Baby mammals naturally attract sympathy, almost certainly for biologically hardwired reasons. So it's normal to fall into a pattern of rooting for them and watching such shows I often have the same involuntary reaction. But I think some folks may get a little too wrapped up in choosing sides while watching nature shows. Crocodiles have to eat and a successful kill is a triumph, which is well worth respecting and even admiring.

Shodan
11-12-2010, 10:26 PM
No one's interested in watching a crocodile take a shitSpeak for yourself, bub.

Regards,
Shodan

rhubarbarin
11-12-2010, 11:38 PM
I love watching animal death scenes in nature documentaries. I also very much enjoy watching predators and prey IRL. There is no life without death. I feel empathy for anything in pain and fear, but not to the point that is disturbs my emotions. When I was very young, before I moved to a farming area and witnessed the harsher realities of nature, I used to get extremely upset over animals being in pain...

Even my most militant vegan friends have to agree with me that this is my only symptom of sickness.

OpalCat
11-12-2010, 11:56 PM
What you don't get, is that there is nothing inherently "bad" about the predation of animals by other animals.

That is exclusively human subjective judgment that has no relevance in the wild.

No, I do get that, actually, which is why I don't mind them showing it. I just object to how DRAMATIC they make the scenes.

Son of a Rich
11-13-2010, 01:00 AM
A while back I saw a program about insects, one scene of which has stayed with me for some reason. Prey bug is on a branch and right behind him, and a little higher is predator bug. Prey bug knows that he'll be safe as long as he doesn't move. He holds out for as long as he can, but finally moves and in a flash predator bug has him. End of story.

Koxinga
11-13-2010, 01:13 AM
Even that, though, I think is a bit of anthropomorphizing, as well as the idea that the wildebeest in the OP is somehow grieving for its calf. I'm willing to entertain the idea that maybe chimpanzees have some form of emotion and rudimentary consciousness that we might recognize, but wildebeests, elephants and insects? Nah. You might as well feel sorry for this lamp (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I07xDdFMdgw).

(ETA: oops, I forgot to put a warning that the video features some dramatic music and camera angles that might prompt certain posters here to go into bouts of hysterical weeping. Proceed at your own risk!)

Blake
11-13-2010, 02:37 AM
No, I do get that, actually, which is why I don't mind them showing it. I just object to how DRAMATIC they make the scenes.

But as I just demonstrated, they made all the scenes that dramatic. The scenes of the animals fricken' walking were filmed in exactly the same way: close ups, multiple angles, slow notion. The lot.

Why do you want the death scenes filmed differently to every other aspect of wildebeest behaviour?

OpalCat
11-13-2010, 02:51 AM
But as I just demonstrated, they made all the scenes that dramatic. The scenes of the animals fricken' walking were filmed in exactly the same way: close ups, multiple angles, slow notion. The lot.

Why do you want the death scenes filmed differently to every other aspect of wildebeest behaviour?

It sure seems like those scenes were dramatacized far beyond the others, and the goriness maximized.

OpalCat
11-13-2010, 02:52 AM
Even that, though, I think is a bit of anthropomorphizing, as well as the idea that the wildebeest in the OP is somehow grieving for its calf. I'm willing to entertain the idea that maybe chimpanzees have some form of emotion and rudimentary consciousness that we might recognize, but wildebeests, elephants and insects? Nah. You might as well feel sorry for this lamp (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I07xDdFMdgw).

(ETA: oops, I forgot to put a warning that the video features some dramatic music and camera angles that might prompt certain posters here to go into bouts of hysterical weeping. Proceed at your own risk!)

So you don't think that most animals feel emotion? How many pets have you had close relationships with? I just don't get this mindset as it conflicts with all the evidence that I've ever seen in my whole life, as well as general logic.

Koxinga
11-13-2010, 03:39 AM
So you don't think that most animals feel emotion? How many pets have you had close relationships with? I just don't get this mindset as it conflicts with all the evidence that I've ever seen in my whole life, as well as general logic.

No, I don't. Dogs have evolved and have been selected to become fantastic mimics of emotion, but I don't believe that's actually what they're experiencing. For a board dedicated to fighting ignorance, this article (http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/99jul/9907dogs.htm) might be of interest. I certainly like dogs, and have had some great pets in the past, but I'm willing to consider that like every other member of the animal kingdom, dogs are driven by the impulse to propigate their genes, and the solution this particular subspecies has settled on is to allow for stunted development and perminent juvenile behavior to elicit our misdirected maternal instincts.

Biologists, if they weren't victims of the same blindness that afflicts us all, wouldn't hesitate to classify dogs as social parasites. This is the class of manipulative creatures exemplified by the cuckoo, which lays its eggs in the nest of some poor unsuspecting dupe of a bird of another species. The befuddled parents see a big mouth crying out for food and stuff it full of worms at the expense of their own offspring.

I wouldn't go so far as the author to say it's a bad deal for humans: I think the symbiosis between humans and dogs has probably had net benefit for a lot of communities, not only in terms of hunting but also serving humans' emotional needs. But dogs have been selected genetically for this behavior, to a great extent artificially so.

Cuckoorex
11-13-2010, 04:20 AM
It sure seems like those scenes were dramatacized far beyond the others, and the goriness maximized.

Perhaps they only seem to have special emphasis because you have an especially strong emotional reaction to such material? Like you've got specific subjects that trigger tunnel vision. Obviously unless you have a bizarre phobia of animals walking, you're not going to note that they're being shown in a similar dramatic fashion.

And yeah, I can understand siding with the mammals, but you have to remember that that was an especially good day for the crocodile. Watch a documentary about crocs and you'll likely see how much danger and death baby crocs experience, and the strong protective instinct of the mother crocs.

And death scenes are dramatic because death IS dramatic to witness. I agree with others who wonder exactly why you feel those scenes sbould not be shown in dramatic fashion. Are we to watch death scenes with a stoic, matter of fact presentation worthy of a sociopath? We acknowledge the dramatic nature of death when we film or watch those scenes.

Blake
11-13-2010, 04:21 AM
It sure seems like those scenes were dramatacized far beyond the others, and the goriness maximized.


There is no objective basis for that belief though. The scenes were shot exactly like any other scenes in the episode.

OpalCat
11-13-2010, 04:34 AM
Perhaps they only seem to have special emphasis because you have an especially strong emotional reaction to such material? Like you've got specific subjects that trigger tunnel vision. Obviously unless you have a bizarre phobia of animals walking, you're not going to note that they're being shown in a similar dramatic fashion. .

I'm willing to concede that might be true.

OpalCat
11-13-2010, 04:37 AM
No, I don't.

You and I probably don't have much to talk about, then. I've seen plenty of genuine emotions in my cats. Both toward me and toward each other. I don't see any reason to believe that's "mimicked" verses real. Why assume it isn't exactly what it appears to be? You don't need to answer that--as I said, you and I probably have very little to discuss.

Koxinga
11-13-2010, 04:54 AM
Gee, I somehow have the suspicion that you've filed me away as a Bad Person in your book.

Blake
11-13-2010, 05:19 AM
I'm willing to concede that might be true.

And the fact that you failed to remember multiple such instances tends to reinforce the idea.

Saint Cad
11-13-2010, 07:35 AM
I was watching (what seemed like) a lighthearted documentary about a family of ducks that lived in a large city. It followed them around for weeks and documented their adaptation to city life, etc. Then, at the end of the documentary, the announcer said, "Sadly, shortly after this was filmed, a freak thunderstorm hit the city and all of the ducks were swept down a storm drain to their deaths". WTF?

Not really sure why, but this gets my vote for the winner winner ducky dinner.

Oy!
11-13-2010, 08:41 AM
There is no objective basis for that belief though. The scenes were shot exactly like any other scenes in the episode.

I watch a lot of nature documentaries, and I don't entirely agree with this. I've found that in the past few years, there has been a change in the way many nature documentaries deal with the actual moment of impact, if you will, and that this exceeds the amount of time and detail shown on most (not all) aspects of life. It feels vaguely pornographic to me. In part, I think this is due to the availability of super high-speed cameras now; the moment of impact can be slowed down to super-slow-motion so that each instant can be seen in vivid detail. They also do this for things like showing the actual wing motion of birds and insects, for example, but I think they do it more consistently and more lingeringly for predatory interactions.

There's no question in my mind that they do this to up the emotional impact for the viewer, and I've found the trend mildly distasteful. I'd rather that time be spent on additional information.

When David Attenborough writes it (as oppposed to just doing the narration), it's usually just about right the right balance. His series Life of Mammals and Blue Planet were just about right (as was his recent program First Life), but I found Planet Earth, where he only wrote five of eleven episodes, to be a little overly focused on the precise moments of predation. I don't think anyone could seriously accuse Attenborough of overly romanticizing or "cute"ifying the natural world. He's clearly fascinated by every aspect of it, but there are no rosy goggles there.

DianaG
11-13-2010, 08:43 AM
You know, I teared up at the wildebeast baby that just couldn't walk anymore, and it's mother left it, and the vultures moved in approximately 37 seconds later. It didn't make me think "the filmmakers are exploiting this creature's death for the amusement of sickos". It did make me think "Shit, I'd better go out and buy tampons."

Freudian Slit
11-13-2010, 08:48 AM
I'm sure it was very sad, but are we really so easily manipulated that some loud sound effects and sad music will get a reaction? I mean, really? I like to think I'm above it and that I also require some pretty cutting edge dialogue before my emotions are involved.

Though considering my reaction to close up shots of dogs with a wide angle lens...maybe not...

Hunter Hawk
11-13-2010, 12:27 PM
I'm sure it was very sad, but are we really so easily manipulated that some loud sound effects and sad music will get a reaction?

Not me, that's for sure. Hell, these days if I want to get aroused I have to go out and kill the damn animals myself.

hajario
11-13-2010, 01:29 PM
You know, I teared up at the wildebeast baby that just couldn't walk anymore, and it's mother left it, and the vultures moved in approximately 37 seconds later. It didn't make me think "the filmmakers are exploiting this creature's death for the amusement of sickos". It did make me think "Shit, I'd better go out and buy tampons."

I'm still giggling at this five minutes later.

gonzomax
11-13-2010, 01:32 PM
I use my hand to block the gory bits so I don't have to watch them.

I whip out my trusty channel flipper and watch something else. Then i come back after the gore is done.

Freudian Slit
11-15-2010, 08:48 AM
I whip out my trusty channel flipper and watch something else. Then i come back after the gore is done.

But then how else will you be able to describe the scene in detail on the Internet?

This OP kind of reminds me of the one about how awful certain books were (the Marquis de Sade among others)--oh, and could we list the titles of some similar books? Just, you know, for research purposes. If watching these scenes was really that upsetting, would you really want to constantly post about how horribly sad and disturbed you were, or would you rather just change the channel and move on?

Malthus
11-15-2010, 09:00 AM
Not me, that's for sure. Hell, these days if I want to get aroused I have to go out and kill the damn animals myself.


Amusing post/username combo. :D

OpalCat
11-15-2010, 12:10 PM
But then how else will you be able to describe the scene in detail on the Internet?

This OP kind of reminds me of the one about how awful certain books were (the Marquis de Sade among others)--oh, and could we list the titles of some similar books? Just, you know, for research purposes. If watching these scenes was really that upsetting, would you really want to constantly post about how horribly sad and disturbed you were, or would you rather just change the channel and move on?

But see I really like the rest of the show. And I really wouldn't mind the circle of life bits if they were over fast and not so zoomed in. You know, so I could just kind of unfocus my eyes for a few seconds and be all set? You have to understand I'm a ginormous softie about animals though. I've cried driving past road kill before. I fully admit to being hypersensitive.

Eyebrows 0f Doom
11-15-2010, 02:01 PM
Well shit, at least it wasn't a male deer getting killed. Then the OP would have really freaked out.

AuntiePam
11-15-2010, 02:08 PM
So, can we blame Disney for our tender feelings toward wild animals?

rhubarbarin
11-18-2010, 01:16 PM
You reaction reminds me of my own hypersensitive reaction to scenes of sexual coercion and rape. It makes me so uncomfortable I have to switch it off. The fact that it's often sexified in a way I don't feel is necessary (in terms of camera angles and techniques, the behavior of the victim, the noises they include) makes me even more uncomfortable. It's just my shit though, I'm okay with having to not watch that stuff. Keep your finger on the >> button.

No, I do get that, actually, which is why I don't mind them showing it. I just object to how DRAMATIC they make the scenes.

What is more dramatic than the struggle between predator and prey?! It's got it all - stalking, the thrill of capture, fear and pain, hunger, death, survival, life.

OpalCat
11-18-2010, 09:26 PM
What is more dramatic than the struggle between predator and prey?! It's got it all - stalking, the thrill of capture, fear and pain, hunger, death, survival, life.

Right, so isn't it dramatic enough without slowing it waaaaay down?

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