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Friday, April 20, 2007

Say goodbye to grey nurse sharks

The grey nurse shark (Australia) has a mere ten years left on this earth. Why? The usual reason, overfishing:

"Commercial and recreational fishing threatens the very survival of the grey nurse shark, and that's why we're seeking to ban fishing in places where the shark is known to live and breed," said the council's executive director, Cate Faehrmann.

Furthermore 18% of all coral reefs will be toast by 2030. Just keep on doing what you do every day, citizens of the world, just keep on doing it...Speaking of citizens sitting idly by and feeling good about themselves, see this article on liberal documentaries (thanks to Dael for the link). Excerpt below:

For the most part, documentaries address and entertain educated middle and upper-middle class audiences -- audiences of persons who come to the documentary cinema to learn about the world and, perhaps, to get fired up about something. It ends up confirming and making comfortable the class status of that middle class audience, by providing an opportunity for compassion, for up-lift, for hope, and finally, for self-satisfaction -- and perhaps complacency. There is nothing to learn about ourselves and our activities here. There is everything to learn about the other. We and they are not linked other than by feelings, like caring, concern, sometimes outrage. But the connections or links are momentary. We leave the theater filled up with our best feelings about ourselves, and the next day go about the same business as the day before, in the same way. This produces not useful knowledge, but desire -- for a better, fairer world -- but not the self-knowledge to begin to change anything. It makes no structural analysis of the problems described and rarely proposes solutions. When it does indicate where hope may lie, it is usually in the form of new legislation for new social programs, something over which we have only the illusion of control. Never does it implicate the class activities of its audience as central, or even contributing to the situation depicted in the film.



  • Hey Tristen

    I really liked the excerpt (haven't read the whole article yet). I'm particularly interested in the topic because I'm part of a Cape Town-based collective ( that organises public screenings of non-mainstream progressive doccies.

    The movies we show aren't liberal (for the most part) and we try get as representative a cross-section of our communities to the shows, but the critique in the excerpt certainly holds to some degree.

    One way we try to make the experience more than just one to which people come to "learn about the world", is by having a facilitated audience discussion after each screening (no experts or speakers, just a facilitator who mediates the discussion). Those, I think are really worthwhile and lead to a lot of genuine debate and networking, and for me they tend to be the best part of the events...

    Whether people come away with a more conscious sense of their own role in the world and with more motivation to change it, rather than just having learned a bit more about it, I don't know.

    By Anonymous Andreas, At 3:42 pm  

  • You have a point. I do something similar here in JHB, a short film followed by a talk. Email me, have a few ideas I want to pass off me (you blog doesn't have an email address). Part of the point, I guess, is best exhibited with the Enron docie (or the book for that matter). Not once was there an examination of the underlying structure of Wall Street, US gangster capitalism and the role/corruption of government in making the conditions for companies like Enron possible.

    By Blogger Tristen, At 5:17 pm  

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