Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Discovery Channel Facade

When I was a kid I used to watch a lot of animal shows. I mean a lot. Nova, Wild Wild World of Animals, PBS specials, whatever. I was all over those. From all of those programs there were a few themes that always struck me, both that they came up again and again, and that they seemed counter-intuitive to a kid.

One of those was the ability animals have to mask a problem - that despite having a gaping wound or broken bone, they would pretend like everything was fine. "Nothing to see here folks, move along, sorry for bleeding on you." It's one of the reasons being a vet is so tough, because once an animal shows a problem, it's almost always too late. Inevitably, the camera crew would focus on this animal and we would watch, helpless to do anything, as the animal kept up this facade. Sometimes they would keep on for quite a while, looking stoic, but the other animals could sense the problem. Maybe they even knew, but couldn't help.

Eventually, despite the best acting job around, the damage couldn't stay hidden and the result was a catastrophic failure that seemed so sudden, yet so expected. I remember as a kid wondering if the animal was still trying to pretend that everything was okay or if it was relieved that it could finally stop acting. I still don't know the answer.

Yet more proof that we're not so different from the rest of the animal kingdom.


  1. Very true, there's also the eating of our young and selecting prey that are smaller/weaker than ourselves. But perhaps you aren't talking about work...we also have to lick our wounds sometimes.

  2. Not work, indeed. But I'm in the same position I was back then, an invested viewer.