Saturday, September 28, 2013

I'm A Mer-MAN!

When I was a kid I thought I'd grow up to be a seeker of mysteries. I'd go off with a camera to find what I could find about the Loch Ness monster, about Bigfoot, UFOs, all kinds of excellence. If I found something I would share it, and if I didn't I'd share that too without any attempt to mislead. Fast forward to now and the plethora of bastardized "explorer" shows and I realize, wow, what a fool I was. Misleading is the way to go. Money and ratings hand over fist. Recently there was a program on purporting to be about mermaids, featuring "actual" footage. Well, just like those people in commercials who are said to be "real people"--because, technically, they are real people whether they're actors or not--actual footage is anything shot. It's footage. It's fake but it's still footage. Never mind that there wasn't even the courtesy of "dramatic re-enactment" flashed across the screen. The makers of this "documentary" on Animal Planet, a network purporting to be dedicated to the natural world (at the third purporting I will lose it), went out of their way to create footage as supposedly real as real gets. Video from a cell phone of a dying mermaid creature beached alongside several small whales; video of a mermaid swim-by from a deep water oil rig camera; video of a mermaid skittering off a rock in broad daylight, all of it very cinema verite. Kudos to the effects crews. But all of it as fake as the actors hired to play scientists and the stiff guy supposedly interviewing them. I didn't watch the entire program 'cause I call bullshit when I sniff it, but I've read online that at the very end of the show in teeny weeny sublim-O-vision there's a disclaimer that the entire preceding show was a dramatic representation of what might kinda sorta coulda happened if such footage was ever actually truly found. I wouldn't have had a problem with this program at all had they not gone to pains to portray huge bits of it as authentic footage by actually having the words "actual footage" on screen several times...but they went there. And that's when Wayne Brady has to choke a bitch. Reality has been so co-opted, particularly for the younger generation who think that tiny, invisible cameras hover around everyone at all times capturing wicked cool footage of choice moments, that it's irresponsible and despicable they'd put a show like this on without so much as a nudge nudge wink wink. You KNOW folks flocked to Twitter with the OMGs and OMFGs saying the mermaid apocalypse is upon us.

Why are they trying to kill our sense of wonder and replace it with sideshow fear?

File this under "Bullshit floats, doesn't smell," 'cause that's how it's packaged and sold.