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Whaling the Planet with Modern Whalers
January 29, 2008 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Some people hate cilantro. Some people hate shrimp. But Lee really, really hates Discovery Channel. (via)
posted by MrMoonPie (60 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know about "really, really hates".
He just sort of hates them.
posted by mrnutty at 11:45 AM on January 29, 2008


They glorify fishermen who are overfishing the planet, they glorify Weapons of Mass Destruction. They highlight shows about people who build pollution machines and other environmentally harmful practices.

He's got a point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:50 AM on January 29, 2008


The Discovery Channel is actually not about saving the planet, they are just another ‘green’ corporation whose real interests lies in MONEY! Products! Junk! Trash!

Never mind the intensity of his hate - his shocking revelations about the true nature of so-called "commercial," alllegedly "for-profit" cable television clearly indicate a man who really, really does his research and really, really understands the nature of the modern mass media. I believe we've found this century's McLuhan.
posted by gompa at 11:50 AM on January 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


I think he has the Discovery Channel confused with Current TV.
posted by demiurge at 11:51 AM on January 29, 2008


Cilantro tastes like soap to me. I can't have tons of it in my food.

Fuck you, cilantro.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:53 AM on January 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


Huh, I missed that hating cilatro thread, so thanks for that. Now I have a place where people understand goddamn ratbastard cilantro.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:54 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cilantro tastes like soap to me

Clean the leaves from the stem. The stems add the soapiness.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I do like how his screed about people making money off of the Green movement ends in a pointer to a book author's website.
posted by tkolar at 11:56 AM on January 29, 2008


I'm so pissed, I just discovered that M-TV's purpose is to promote music sales and not, as I was lead to belive by shows like "Buzz Clips," to introduce the audience to new and innovative here-to-fore unknown artists! Please join me in my protest!

[I am not sure if they even have shows like Buzz Clips on M-TV any more, do they or have the "'real' priviledged kids of white suburbia" shows all they broadcast these days?]
posted by Pollomacho at 11:58 AM on January 29, 2008


I have no beef with the Discovery Channel, but when did the Learning Channel become Jerry Springer? Every time I turn on the television, they're showing something about the guy who eats 30,000 calories a day or the family with twelve kids. What exactly are we supposed to be learning, other than that evolution has gone horribly, horribly awry?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:59 AM on January 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


STOP TALKING ABOUT CILANTRO! DISCOVERY CHANNEL MUST BE STOPPED! /thread moderation
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:59 AM on January 29, 2008


so if people who can't stand cilantro are super-tasters, does that make Discovery-haters super-tasteful?
posted by boo_radley at 11:59 AM on January 29, 2008


cilantro is pretty great.

the discovery channel on the other hand, is hit or miss.

cilantro's usefulness is only surpassed by sriracha.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 12:03 PM on January 29, 2008


Question: I already hated the Discovery Channel for making allegedly educational shows of such superficial quality and low information content that I've actually learned more from reading a non-fiction dust jacket. Can I join on as is, or do I have to watch more of their air-headed fluff to get more in line with him?
posted by DU at 12:05 PM on January 29, 2008


I have no beef with the Discovery Channel, but when did the Learning Channel become Jerry Springer?

The other night they had a show all about a guy with a horrible skin condition from Indonesia that needed treatment form American doctors so that he could go back to a normal life and leave the carnival side-show life. Of course TLC glossed over the whole irony that they were making advertising dollars at his expense by showcasing his grotesque condition, but they made sure to imply "oh how sinister the circus side-show people were for exploiting the poor man!"
posted by Pollomacho at 12:06 PM on January 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


Smash Lab is explosion-porn based on a formula created in a focus group of Mythbusters fans.

[NOT MYTHBUSTERIST - (MetaFilter's own) Adam, if you're reading this, my wife thinks we're having an affair]
posted by Pollomacho at 12:10 PM on January 29, 2008


I'm pretty sure that TLC just stands for TLC now; the letters haven't stood for "The Learning Channel" since they gave up on the educational programming years ago. It doesn't seem to matter what a cable channel starts as, they always devolve into the same reality show crap. TLC, A&E, Bravo, MTV, VH1, etc have all strayed so far from their original programming that the names are meaningless.
posted by octothorpe at 12:12 PM on January 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


when did the Learning Channel become Jerry Springer?
They have some great commercials, though.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:14 PM on January 29, 2008


He's got a point.

Meh. I love me some Deadliest Catch.

Rugged Alaskan sailors, frolicking in the waves and catching crabs? What's not to love about that?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:16 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's not to love about that?

I've enjoyed watching it, too, I'll admit. But he does have a point about the contradictory nature of a business calling viewers to "save the planet" while broadcasting shows about slowly squeezing it to death.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on January 29, 2008


The Discovery Channel has given us Cash Cab, and for that, if for nothing else, we must be grateful.
posted by saladin at 12:21 PM on January 29, 2008


Is it just me or does Lee look like a serial killer? I think the Discovery Channel should make a show about him.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:25 PM on January 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


Smash Lab is explosion-porn based on a formula created in a focus group of Mythbusters fans.

Oy, I just saw an episode yesterday. Their grand "experiment" was to see if wrapping mobile homes in polycarbonate would help them survive hurricanes. It will! If you don't mind tumbling end over end in your suddenly-rolling mobile home after your totally unapologetic fresh-faced hosts exclaim, "Well, we forgot to secure it properly, but oh well. Moving on!"

SCIENCE! Now wrapped in polycarbonate.
posted by Skot at 12:30 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


And what about those "Next week on the History Channel..." promos? I've checked. And they're right every time.
posted by hal9k at 12:41 PM on January 29, 2008


Don't get me wrong, Cash Cab is fun, but what the heck is it doing on the Discovery Channel?
posted by BrianBoyko at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2008


""their grand "experiment" was to see if wrapping mobile homes in polycarbonate would help them survive hurricanes."

You obviously "watched" with your eyes closed and the sound off. They wrapped the trailer in carbon fiber composite, and they brought the standard mobile home anchors but they wouldn't work properly in the desert soil.
posted by Megafly at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2008


But he does have a point about the contradictory nature of a business calling viewers to "save the planet" while broadcasting shows about slowly squeezing it to death.

I'm just not sure that he does. Yeah, there's a lot of bad shows on the channels collectively owned by Discovery Networks. There's also some pretty fantastic shows - I'm thinking Meerkat Manor, Orangutan Island, Wild Kingdom. Shows that can actually introduce people to a world beyond what they previously knew existed - I mean, if you can watch a single episode of Orangutan Island without thinking, "Oh damn. We need to stop destroying habitat, like yesterday," I commend you. I can't.

Also, they're called The Discovery Network. They are not, as it turns out, called the "Saving the Planet Network."

I'm pretty excited that he thinks he's going to spend 12 hours a day for 8 days protesting outside Discovery. I'm strongly considering visiting him on the first day to take a few pictures. I don't think he'll last much longer than that.
posted by god hates math at 12:49 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Mythbusters. Especially the girls.

And on Xmas Eve this year I watched the "Everest: Beyond the Limit" marathon about trustfunders stumbling around the mountain, rarely up, talking a lot of sh*t.... it was good.
posted by ohdeanna at 12:57 PM on January 29, 2008


Someone cares.

Let's poop on him.
posted by batmonkey at 12:59 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Looks like they DiscoveredTM how to make money.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:59 PM on January 29, 2008


Fair cop on the carbon fiber composite; brain misfire. But still: this show is about pretending to be scientific while really, they just want to gleefully smash shit. I guess I'd maybe be okay if they just called it "Smash!" and dispensed with the fake problem-solving.

Or! They could team up with Ben Bailey for "Smash Cab," which would be sort of like Cloverfield, but with trivia.
posted by Skot at 1:01 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was thinking about this issue all weekend. History Channel used to have so much real history and now it's Nostrodamus this and Mayan Doomsday that. At first glance, I definitely want to blame all of these pseudo-Education networks for lowering the standards.

However what I realized later is that these networks have to be on 24/7. So if they are to produce and showcase amazing series like Planet Earth, there have to be 3am spots about Ab-buster or whatever the latest stupid gizmo is. There are some wonderful shows like How It's Made and Dirty Jobs that you can easily categorize as glorifiers of environmental destruction. After all, making 1m units of plastic widgets isn't doing the Earth much benefit, neither is drilling for oil or operating 2000hp trucks. However, I feel a lot better to know how these things work and are made so I can make educated decisions about which products to buy and support.

So yeah, while there are many crappy shows and some shows which fall into the environmentally unfriendly slot, overall there is still a lot more good than bad and I'm pretty certain the advertisement dollars from the bad go towards supporting the good. Or else, it makes more economic sense to just make it all good.
posted by chime at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wait -- did the Discovery Network ever actually claim to be saving the planet? We think of science being generally pro-conservation (because conservation makes a lot of rational sense, and thus a lot of scientists seem to be generally in favor of it), but I don't think that necessarily means that the network has a mandate to be environmentalist.

If the Greenpeace Channel was running shows about thermonuclear weapons, that might seem a little disingenuous. But I don't think it is for any of the Discovery channels (okay, maybe Animal Planet would be a little weird).

This guy seems to be pissed that Discovery isn't living up to some weird idea that he has in his mind of what they should be doing, but they never claimed to actually, you know, do.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2008


What's not to love about that?

I've enjoyed watching it, too, I'll admit. But he does have a point about the contradictory nature of a business calling viewers to "save the planet" while broadcasting shows about slowly squeezing it to death.


He does have a point, and it is indeed somewhat contradictory. But a whole lot of Deadliest Catch centers on meeting regulations -- safety, fishing limits, quotas, etc. The climax of one episode revolved around one of the boat crews very obviously mismanaging the catch count, and incurring a huge fine for coming in with too much crab. Another episode had the same boat throwing tons of crab back in the water and wasting a whole lotta time because they were the wrong species to be caught within the time limits.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:09 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Grant Imahara will one day build Skynet.

Come with me if you want to live.
posted by CKmtl at 1:17 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't get me wrong, Cash Cab is fun, but what the heck is it doing on the Discovery Channel?

Because it's fucking awesome?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2008


Smash Lab is explosion-porn based on a formula created in a focus group of Mythbusters fans.

Yep.

Typical Smash Lab episode:
* Introduce experiment by showing giant explosion that will result.
* Show Smash Lab team walking down hallway in slo-mo.
* Interview team members who seem to know nothing about actual set up for experiment.
* Show team slo-mo walking on runway
* Super slo-mo of explosion.
* Commercial break
{repeat above four times}
* Show team walking in slo-mo from alternate angles in hallway, on runway, across freeway over pass, on train tracks and on a pier.
* Show explosion. 10 minutes of slo-mo from alternate angles.
* Show confused team member excitedly trying to explain experiment.
* Roll Credits.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:55 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Benighted flapdoodle, Lee.

Discovery isn't glorifying crab fishermen. It pointed out to me that po' folks' lives aren't worth much. There are no safety harnesses for those on deck, the timeline to fish them legally is limited leading to brutal hours, increasing the danger to ones life.

Gimmeabreak, dude. They're mainly just showing you. Why does Lee think it should be up to Discovery to produce shows with solutions¿ GYOS [Get your own show].

Why doesn't Lee go after his State that give car manufacturers huge incentives to located their plants to build cars¿
What of major polluters like China, India, Russia, where labour is cheap, because there aren't any pollution controls and no benefits for the workers¿ [Hello, China Olympics¿]

Let's make a documentary on how many 'Made in China' products Lee has and blame him for the planet's ills¿
Makes just about as much sense as his Discovery protest.

Hey look, it's Ramsays Hell's Kitchen./
posted by alicesshoe at 2:22 PM on January 29, 2008


I think the Discovery Channel hater has a point too. Hadn't thought about it before. And I appreciate he's saying that there needs to be more answers.

Ok, tv producers/writers point out what's going wrong, educate us about the bad but let there be also more emphasis on constructive solutions and less doom porn.

I know people who get sucked up into the negative vortex with shows about mega tsunami this, mega volcano that, mega rogue waves all over the place, mega, mega, mega. What's beyond mega in terms of insurmountable? The horror? lol It all seems too monstrously enormous to actually do anything constructive in our daily lives and I think for the majority of people who turn on the tv for something other than sheer junk to watch, what is supposed to be about science and rationally informative ends up breeding disempowerment, despair, fear and passivity.

There's some hilarious hating going down: Horses l My Flatmate l Crocs l Commercials . Major improvement needed in the hate poetry department.
posted by nickyskye at 2:53 PM on January 29, 2008


I remember the first nature documentary I saw that was full of glaring errors and obvious camera tricks meant not to capture the action in a neat and exciting way but to make an animal that's terrible at running but venomous look like it was COMING TO GET YOU. There was thrilling music and everything. I was in college then, a senior biology major. I'd been warned by one professor in particular-- "you know, some of those shows will bullshit you." It was like the last piece of my childhood died. This wasn't on Discovery, by the way, but since then I've noticed more how some of the shows put a spin on things that is just dishonest, but very entertaining. When you mix science and entertainment, sometimes entertainment comes out on top. More and more often on tv as people's attention spans shrink, I think.

I used to work at a zoo. This was the reason I decided I could only be a zookeeper temporarily: the priorities were 1) entertain people so they pay admission 2) educate them about the animals 3) conservation. I appreciate what many zoos do, but sometimes their priorities skew in a different direction from mine in a way I don't support. Some zoos are more in line with what I think they should be doing than others. When #2 or #3 conflict with #1, different zoos handle it differently. The one I worked at really liked #1. Tv shows are similar-- they vary in how much they value education and how much they value entertainment.

Tv networks are not advocacy organizations. This guy is majorly, egregiously, mistaken about their role. Discovery doesn't aim to save the planet in any shade, shape, or form. It aims to get you to watch nature on tv. I don't expect Discovery to tell people what to do about overfishing-- that's the advocacy groups' role. I haven't seen the show he's talking about, but if a show documents by-catch, it is probably one of the most helpful things ever on that channel related to environmental impact. Seriously, most people have no clue how fishing is impacting the oceans. They would never connect the fish they eat with wildlife management and non-target species that also get caught if they didn't see it on tv. Does the show glorify hiding the by-catch, or something?

I've seen some truly amazing nature documentaries. I spent my later childhood in a city, and it's also when we got cable for the first time, so I used to watch Discovery and Animal Planet a lot. They're part of the reason I studied biology to begin with. One time I skipped a Botany lecture just to finish watching a special on trees. It was very, very good. So, like zoos, it's always going to be love-hate for me. Much of it I consider noise-- it's more about gadgets than discovery. But some of it is quite good. I wish it was less about entertainment, but they couldn't stay afloat just marketing to people like me. I would watch a documentary on sclerenchyma, but I will turn off a tech gadget show.
posted by Tehanu at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2008


Mythbusters
Dirty Jobs
Deadliest Catch

Best shows EVAH! If my 7-year-old nephew is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:38 PM on January 29, 2008


I haven't seen the show he's talking about ... Does the show glorify hiding the by-catch, or something?

Not that I've seen. It's a show about crab-fishing in Alaska; they use crab pots, not drag nets. As I understand it, pots makes it a lot harder for non-crab critters to get caught since the holes to get in are only so big. It's not like dolphins can get in them.

If there's non-target crabs (wrong species, too small, or female), they get - or are supposed to get - thrown back. I recall seeing them hauling in stuffed pots (nearly 100 crabs) and have to throw all but 5 away, because they were small or female.
posted by CKmtl at 3:48 PM on January 29, 2008


From Lee's message board:
Discovery is hugely responsible for what is happening and their ineffective programming must be protested and dealt with.

Pretty absurd premise.

Not that Discovery Communications, Inc. couldn't do more, but staging a protest isn't going to win anyone over in this case, especially not the local public. This guy doesn't seem to realize that people around the area generally love The Discovery Channel and that big pretty flagship building they put in the middle of town. Tax breaks and such aside, locating in Silver Spring helped boost a languishing area and raised property values. I see this protest going very badly.


godhatesmath: I'm pretty excited that he thinks he's going to spend 12 hours a day for 8 days protesting outside Discovery. I'm strongly considering visiting him on the first day to take a few pictures. I don't think he'll last much longer than that.

I was thinking of stopping by myself.
posted by zennie at 4:02 PM on January 29, 2008


Also, Discovery's Planet Green.
posted by zennie at 4:06 PM on January 29, 2008


Cilantro I hate
Discovery I do not
Shrimp, I'm allergic
posted by bwg at 4:14 PM on January 29, 2008


I love Cash Cab, but Ben Bailey's really misleading people when he says the double or nothing video question at the end is harder than the other questions. Usually it's not.

Dirty Jobs, OTOH, is way past its expiration date. They ran out of real material eons ago, and it's annoying watching the promos where they're begging people to give them some ideas. And Mike Rowe's attempts to be funny irk the hell out of me.
posted by Devils Slide at 4:15 PM on January 29, 2008


what annoys me about Discovery is all the shows like:

"BIGFOOT! IS HE REAL???"

then 27 minutes of pseudo-evidence, but then right at the end, they're always like, "yeah, well actually probably not." It's like they want to be a sleazy tabloid channel, but they always have an attack of conscience at the last minute.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:28 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not only that -- Their cycling team is full of doped-up cheaters.

TLC, otoh, is home of my favourite reality show of all time, Little People, Big World. There is no other show as completely banal as that one is. Sure, they try to inject some 'excitement' here and there with the roadtrips and the trebuchets, but it still ends up being the most 'realistic' depiction of an average (albeit fairly well-off) North American household. I guess that's probably sort of the point, though.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:45 PM on January 29, 2008


I think it's amusing that this guy is complaining about the fishing shows, when crab fishing in Alaska is generally considered to be well-regulated and sustainable, with little or no bycatch. It is hard to argue against on either conservation or environmental grounds.

I dunno why we had to give this obnoxious idiot (seriously, read his post) more air time. Anyone who pushes that annoying Ishmael book should ignored with extreme prejudice.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:16 PM on January 29, 2008


I want to cut the program director who let How It's Made shamble its way up from the Science Channel to Discovery in the face and make them eat dirt.

Seriously. I hate that show so much. It is the opposite of entertaining. It is the sort of show you put on at 6 AM for "Cable in the Classroom" so that punk highschool kids can be punished in class for all their sins. You know that scene in European Vacation where every channel in England just has some documentary on how cheese is made? That's How It's Made for you. Even flicking by it in a channel search produces a boredgasm.

Discovery Channel, you need to embrace your new status and confine your shows to the following:

- People Hassling Nature (Survivorman, Man vs. Wild*)
- People Hassling Science (Mythbusters, Smash Lab**)
- People Hassling the Unknown (A Haunting...***)
- People Hassling People (Dirty Jobs, Cash Cab)

And that's it! There's no place for How It's Made unless you want to add in a category for "Program Directors Hassling their Advertisers" because nobody wants to see that shit in primetime. I mean, is that the sort of show where you clear your schedule, pop open a brew, and nestle down for an evening of how pontoon boats are made? Or as was on last night, chimney flues? There may be an audience for that stuff, but that's what the Science Channel is for. Or TiVo.

So kick that show off the schedule! Some nights, I'd be happy to sit down, tune in to Cash Cab and not change the channel until Mythbusters is over, but for the big turd of a show that sits there and steams at 7 pm.


* Les Stroud > Bear Grylls. The former has balls made of steel, the latter eats gross things for money.
** Which is also a horrible show. Just put on The Discovery Channel's Salute to Fireworks and be done with it.
*** I tune in for the horrible acting, I stay for the weird fact that my wife thinks this is the scariest show she's ever seen.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:44 AM on January 30, 2008


I find it weird that Americans use the Italian word for coriander yet an antique English word for spring onions.
posted by Mocata at 8:36 AM on January 30, 2008


You overlooked the insane hatred of the word moist.
posted by etaoin at 8:45 AM on January 30, 2008


I watch various Discovery properties quite frequently.

Some shows I like, some I detest, and some I'm confused by. Par for the course for any commercial channel, I think.

Lee is likely being goaded by this one feature of the channels that irritates the hell out of me, too: their preachy house ads regarding "going green", "being green", and anything else associated with "green" as if they are some paragon of greenness. Based on 80% of their programming, they are not, and I see how Lee could go from that to asking them to either put up or shut up.

He's naive, sure, but he's got good intentions. He's not asking folks to TP the place or send hate mail or coordinate DOS attacks on their sites. He's asking fellow viewers bothered by their apparent hypocrisy to picket the place. It's a centuries-old custom and harms no one.

Why mock the guy for trying to get something done? Hells, at least he gives a damn.
posted by batmonkey at 9:04 AM on January 30, 2008


I find it weird that Americans use the Italian word for coriander yet an antique English word for spring onions.

We also occasionally refer to a native American root vegitable by the name of an African tuber that doesn't grow here and we call a native revered-enough-to-put-on-money-and-name-cities-after, large, wild, plains herd ruminant by the name of a South East Asian rice paddy beast of burden. Go figure?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:59 AM on January 30, 2008


cilantro is teh bomb
posted by jeffburdges at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2008


I wanna see Survivorman get stranded in gang-infested cities like L.A. or Chicago.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:45 AM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


"There's no place for How It's Made unless you want to add in a category for "Program Directors Hassling their Advertisers" because nobody wants to see that shit in primetime."

There is a whole big audience for 'factory porn' and I am a proud member. I could watch shows about how things are manufactured for hours. It is mesmerizing.

'How It's Made' works because people love that kind of shit. It’s entertaining in spite of its dragging tempo, crappy music and just plain bad narrator. There is a new show called 'Some Assembly Required' that, so far, seems like a better show.
posted by UseyurBrain at 12:06 PM on January 30, 2008


Why mock the guy for trying to get something done? Hells, at least he gives a damn.

"I'm worried about global warming, so I think I'll picket a television station about their show line-up."

Brought you by the same country that was attacked by Saudi Arabians and invaded Iraq in the response.

Americans: Don't piss us off or we'll do something vaguely related that won't really affect you one way or another.
posted by tkolar at 12:28 PM on January 30, 2008


Cilantro tastes like soap to me. I can't have tons of it in my food. Fuck you, cilantro.

... Now I have a place where people understand goddamn ratbastard cilantro.


Shh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your cilantro. I love it!

I'll have cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro, baked beans, cilantro, cilantro, cilantro and cilantro!



(I once did a cilantro pesto using cotija cheese in place of the parmesan, and pepitas in place of the pignolias ... oh boy, that was good.)
posted by chuq at 12:43 PM on January 30, 2008


Followup.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:13 PM on February 19, 2008


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