Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Horrible Fires And Our Planet In Peril (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everyone. Welcome to the first of two or three majorly schizophrenic blog posts. I actually wasn't expecting any live 360 at all, so wow, four hours of Anderson Cooper. Who can argue with that? Though really, I'm sure the people of California wish there was nothing of note to report. Anyway, as stated before, no review tonight because I wanted to enjoy the special without taking notes and I don't recap continuous breaking news. But, uh, I've brought you a consolation prize in the form of posted pictures, so please continue to love me.

I guess I'll start off with the fires. The horrible, horrible fires. We had Anderson live in front of Qualcomm Stadium for the hours both before and after the special. It's nice of CNN to finally realize the people of California might want live news on the situation past 8 PM. At this point, nearly one million people have been evacuated, which is pretty staggering. And the poor firefighters and other first responders are just exhausted because they're working round-the-clock. I could get into the whole our-National-Guard-should-be-here-and-not-Iraq issue, but I'll let the politicians battle that out this time. For tonight, anyway. The saddest story to me was that poor woman that watched her home burn on tv. I can't even imagine.

On a lighter, and some may say more shallow note, it looks like CNN is totally onto our tight black t-shirt love. The shirts are spreading among reporters! I'm imagining a memo going out. Oh, but John King did not adhere to said memo. C'mon John, be a team player! Also? Why do people suddenly go retarded when there's a camera in their vicinity? I was watching the people behind Anderson as much as I was watching the anchor himself. Waving. Making faces. I mean, what the hell? There's a fire! One dude I'm pretty sure was reading the teleprompter to himself. But my favorite was the girl who just before they threw to the special, pointed at Anderson and mouthed the words "he's hot." Once again, can't argue.

I'm going to transition now to the "Planet in Peril" special. First of all, I really wish I had HDTV because even without it the shots are beautiful, so I can't imagine what it looks like in high definition. Also, regular readers may have noticed I complain about the graphics on 360 a lot. I basically hate all cable news graphics because they're so over-the-top and tacky, but the ones for this special were awesome. Very nice and kudos to whoever is responsible. There have been a lot of write-ups on the special that some of you have probably seen. But for those that were wowed by the pictures taken of the shoot, you might want to check out this article on Getty Images Photographer Jeff Hutchens. I'm always a fan of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Oh, and Jeff is one of the guys that took one for the team--he picked up a nasty parasite in Brazil. Ick. But the man is quite resourceful with a hammock.

The special begins in Thailand with a focus on the illegal animal trade and one stat that really stood out to me was that 90 percent of smuggled illegal animals die before reaching their final destination. That's kind of astounding. Many of those animals are being smuggled into the US and China and I have to wonder if the American people knew more about this if they would still continue to buy the animals as pets. I suspect some would. Even with documentaries like this one putting the issue out there, it's still too far removed for some people. It's like shopping at Wal-Mart. I know lots of people who will freely admit that the company represents things they're against, but the consequences of shopping there are too far removed to give them any motivation to stop.

From Thailand, the special takes us to Madagascar where Jeff Corwin shows us many of the exotic species that live there. I would love to go to Madagascar. Isn't it beautiful? But sigh, right now I'm just working on seeing New York. From Africa we then transition back home where we join Anderson in staking out the gray wolves at Yellowstone (first picture). The wolves have been reintegrated into the park and we learn how just one species can affect every living thing around. Everything really is connected. It kind of makes me want to buy the world a Coke.

From the US, we travel with Jeff and Anderson to Cambodia and regular viewers will notice that the footage of the tigers is completely new to us. Our men in black go out with the experts and come across a poacher's camp, which they then destroy. All around them are snares meant for tigers that they then purposefully trigger. And this finally answers the question I've had in my head since watching the "Planet in Peril" music video: Why did Anderson Cooper punch the ground for no apparent reason? Well, there was a reason--he was snaring himself to save the tigers. And here I thought the ground was just giving him a hard time. Oh, Cambodia is also where Jeff almost gets his arm ripped off by an elephant. Um, ouch.

After that we tag-a-long with our final musketeer, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on a trip to China. Dirty, dirty, China. (There weren't any pictures of Sanjay in China--I'll make up for it in part II.) This is probably the part that disturbed me the most. We talk about climate change and Kyoto and all that, but then you look over at China and you wonder how on earth we are going to fix the world's environmental problems. They're like this huge red elephant in the room. Because, okay, everyone knows that the US will most likely be moving substantially forward on climate change issues in 2009, as soon as we get the idiots out of the White House (even if God forbid we elect another republican). But we're not going to make even a dent in the problem unless we take China with us and get them to massively reform. Obviously we should try. Obviously we should do everything we can. But it's not going to be easy and it's going to take a long time--time that some places don't have. Oh, and another thing, bear bile? OMG, that was horrible. The poor bears! Sometimes humans really suck.

The first part of "Planet in Peril" ends at home with Anderson getting a body burden test to assess the chemicals in his body. Blood is taken and then later he goes back for the results. I had actually read some write-ups on this, so I already knew the results (and I think he mentioned it with Jeff and Sanjay last night), but I was not expecting him to look so nervous and then upset when he got the results. Aw. Anyway, he's got all sorts of toxic crap in him. Some of the worst stuff is most likely attributed to eating fish and to the make-up he wears for the show. The make-up toxins can cause infertility, so dude, that's got to stop. You look fine without it, Anderson!

I'm just saying, it's not fair that Kevin Federline drops like a bazillion kids on the planet and Anderson Cooper's make-up might be making him infertile. (And yes, people, I know. There's more than one way to have a kid.) So anyway, when they first ran part of this piece before, I was interested in how toxic I might be, so I took to the Google to learn about the test. But man, way expensive! So while I normally like to take the knowledge is power route, for now I will have to subscribe to ignorance is bliss. With all the stuff Anderson tested positive for I figured I'm pretty toxic myself, but then I remembered, the dude's been, like, everywhere. So hopefully I have a little less. But I'll never know anyway. In the reviews of the special, this was the part that was most panned, but producer Charlie Moore stated that they wanted each night to end at home, thus getting people thinking about how they individually fit into all of this. And on that note, I'd say they succeeded. Anyway, so far I really like what I've seen and you know I pull no punches. Our little 360 peoples should be proud of themselves. I look forward to part II.

Images credited to CNN Worldwide – All Rights Reserved 2007©


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought they did an amazing job intertwining the topics. Obviously they had a game plan and didn't just fly to different corners of the globe. My only major critic was that it wasn't a 360 view which would have been okay if they just said, hey, you know what we're building a case for global warming. I was rolling my eyes every time I heard him say how unbiased the documentary was. If you're going to say that then dedicate more time to interviewing scientists with a challenging view.I'm just sayin'...

8:11 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-I thought the intertwining was done really well too. And you're right about the game plan because they introduced each segment on location, so they must have had a pretty concrete idea from the get go.

I'm going to have to disagree about the 360 view. The fact of the matter is that upwards of 90% of scientists agree about climate change, so to try to provide some sort of false balance would be irresponsible. All points of view are not automatically equal. Yes, there are critics, and 360 acknowledged that, but those critics are very outnumbered. To devote half of the documentary to 10% of scientists would skew reality.

5:37 PM  

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