Human Planet
January 19, 2011 7:00 PM   Subscribe


 
This is from the same producer that did Blue Planet and Planet Earth. I have to say, his documentaries don't thrill me the way earlier Attenborough (trials of life, some of the "life ofs") series do. The relentless focus on the BIGGEST! BRUTALEST! MOST DRAMA-FILLED aspects of nature seem to me to miss the point of Attenborough's more quiet, multi-layered, structurally rigorous pieces; namely that all life is fascinating, incredible, spectacular and drama-filled, if you only look at it the right way, or closely enough.

This said, I'll watch any halfway decently shot doco series I can get my hands on. My girlfriend hates it. I feel like I have a porn addiction: every time she leaves the house for a few hours, I crack my knuckles and eagerly contemplate which one of the catalogue I'll look at *tonight*. She comes home, asks me what I've been doing. "Oh, not much. Watching tv." Blushing under her suspicious gaze.
posted by smoke at 7:10 PM on January 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Wow, the "Thousands of fishermen" link is amazing. Not to mention the one-breath diver. That guy is just effin cool.

I hear upcoming episodes include:

1. man sells another man used car
2. mother picks up children after school, drives them home, puts them in front of TV set
3. guy sits at computer, posting comments to website
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:15 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Only asking because I don't know -- why not link directly to the BBC site for each segment? Like so. (maybe not all available at Beeb?)
posted by pineapple at 7:33 PM on January 19, 2011


why not link directly to the BBC site for each segment? Like so. (maybe not all available at Beeb?)

Many of the videos there at the BBC site give me "Not available in your area. (I'm in Japan).
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:37 PM on January 19, 2011


disregard, the clips are clearly made for YT for exactly this sort of dissemination.

The Sea Bed Hunting on One Breath is really stunning.
posted by pineapple at 7:37 PM on January 19, 2011


Ouch.. The clip of the fisherman emptying the lake is NOT good material for YouRacism, I mean YouTube.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:38 PM on January 19, 2011


If it ain't Attenborough, it ain't the real thing.

Watching that fishermen empty the lake.... it looks like humans are now the savage animals we're documenting.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:41 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Watching that fishermen empty the lake.... it looks like humans are now the savage animals we're documenting.

Since when HAVEN'T we been savage animals?
posted by ReeMonster at 7:46 PM on January 19, 2011


Watching that fishermen empty the lake.... it looks like humans are now the savage animals we're documenting.

Savage? Nah. Now, a shot of futures traders, investment bankers, etc., peering into their computers, shouting into telephones and wiping out the life savings of some pensioner in Ohio, THAT would be savage.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ouch.. The clip of the fisherman emptying the lake is NOT good material for YouRacism, I mean YouTube.

Yeah, cause everyone's going to see that and think that it's Africans who really do a number on the environment. Give people a little credit - they're not all a bunch of mouth-breathing racists.

I saw that video and though, man, I was expecting a real lake, not just a tiny pond. It took Europeans and North Americans almost 500 years, but they emptied a good part of the North Atlantic of cod - and I see that video as only the most poignant, human-scale demonstration of the tragedy of the commons brought to its logical, horrendous climax by the industrial rape of the world's oceans by modern fishing fleets the world over.
posted by Dasein at 8:01 PM on January 19, 2011


I see that video as only the most poignant, human-scale demonstration of the tragedy of the commons brought to its logical, horrendous climax by the industrial rape of the world's oceans by modern fishing fleets the world over.

Does anyone have any backstory on that clip, though? One thought I had, since this fishing event is obviously so well planned and orchestrated, was that maybe this pond is stocked, and there's a waiting period, and by agreement, on a certain day, when enough fish have reached maturity, they hold this event. Then they restock, and do it again in 3 months or whatever.

I have no way of knowing whether this is true, but it seems plausible. This seems like something that's not just a one-off thing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:08 PM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that's it flapjax. I can remember them stocking similar small ponds in Malaysia, and then draining them and people would walk in the mud grabbing up the fish. God, I can still smell it.

(and I was getting blocked in your area from thew BBC site too)
posted by puny human at 8:13 PM on January 19, 2011


And I don't really understand the racism accusation above.
posted by puny human at 8:22 PM on January 19, 2011


Sorry guys.. to clarify.. when I clicked the link and scrolled down to the youtube comments, it was just like.. wow, who let the crazies out?
posted by ReeMonster at 8:26 PM on January 19, 2011


maybe this pond is stocked, and there's a waiting period, and by agreement, on a certain day, when enough fish have reached maturity, they hold this event
There are Aboriginal fish traps all over Australia based on the same principle; you build dams or breaks from rocks, block them, and as the tide goes out, or the river level drops you catch the fish left stranded in the shallow pools. Some of them are thousands of years old; you just have to have rules to prevent overfishing. Obviously, Aboriginal traditional law is very very strict about this kind of thing.

Here are some famous ones at Brewarrina in central west NSW.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:27 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"On one day of the year the Dogon people of Mali can fish in the sacred water of Lake Antogo. It’s every fisherman for himself as the lake is emptied in minutes." ~ BBC
posted by pineapple at 8:58 PM on January 19, 2011


Thanks, pineapple.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:04 PM on January 19, 2011


Serves to demonstrate how traditional societies have historically managed natural resources (often very scarce ones) better than we are able to do on a global scale. Maybe it's cause you can see a pond, but the ocean seems to go on forever. And the village elders can regulate the pond, but as a global society, we're not yet able to regulate the oceans. No "global elders".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:12 PM on January 19, 2011


... there *must* be some kind of release mechanism for other fish to swim away and come back to spawn. I really want to know the specifics behind the Big Fish Catch.

Doing that kind of thing in the video indiscriminatorily for more than one or two years and you get ZERO fish in year three and beyond. There's enough evolved etiquette/unspoken-rules shown to suggest that that is not the case.

But then again, we have a "Polar Bear Swim" that ought to have cull out white folk 'round here.
posted by porpoise at 9:30 PM on January 19, 2011


"wow, who let the crazies out?"

Yikes, yeah I didn't see those. Sad.

And smoke, I actually agree with you for the most part. But like pineapple mentioned above, I think these work perfectly as youtube clips. As a whole, it might be a bit too imax-ariffic, but there is a lot to like, and some of those images (the waterfall, the boy crossing the river) are simply amazing.

It is an interesting contrast in techniques and technologies to compare my first post on mefi, a segment from a Herzog doc. from the '70s on the Wodaabe, with the 'Girls Judge Boys in Desert Sex Factor' linked above.
posted by puny human at 10:17 PM on January 19, 2011


Just watched the video about the diver. Guardian had an interesting story about the Bajau people a few months ago, The last of the sea nomads.
posted by The Mouthchew at 11:50 PM on January 19, 2011


Serves to demonstrate how traditional societies have historically managed natural resources (often very scarce ones) better than we are able to do on a global scale.

I guess that's why the record of mass megafauna extinctions in Australia, North and South America coincides with "humans arrive." Because traditional societies excel at managing resources.
posted by rodgerd at 2:41 AM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I don't really understand the racism accusation above.

Reemonster said this because half the comments on most youtube videos are racist remarks, and this clip could be prime material for those types to comment on.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:48 AM on January 20, 2011


Since when HAVEN'T we been savage animals?

Well yeah..of course. But humans aren't always featured in such an obvious animalistic way in these nature docs.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:50 AM on January 20, 2011


Here's a photo gallery of the Lake Antogo ritual with more context. "All fish captured will be put together and given to the oldest man of Bamba, who will ensure proper distribution among all villages. Antogo – embedded in mystery and magic – symbolises peace and cohesion among Dogon villages, absence of conflict and the sharing of the gifts coming from a common good."

A more positive message than one of environmental destruction.
posted by rory at 7:26 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


A more positive message than one of environmental destruction.

Absolutely. Just goes to show, one shouldn't assume. Especially when considering unfamiliar cultures.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:45 AM on January 20, 2011


"Since when HAVEN'T we been savage animals?"

This gets to the old debate as to who is the most dangerous animal of all, doesn't it?

Contrary to what most people say, I think the most dangerous animal in the world
is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It's a shark riding
on an elephant's back, just trampling and eating everything they see. (jh)
posted by puny human at 7:52 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. I'll need to add this to the list.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:59 AM on January 20, 2011


I can't find a release schedule.
Did anyone have more luck with that? I'd rather just wait till I can get them all at once. (DVD release perhaps.)
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:04 AM on January 20, 2011


... there *must* be some kind of release mechanism for other fish to swim away and come back to spawn. I really want to know the specifics behind the Big Fish Catch.

They're using basket nets. Anything small enough to fit through the slats is going to be waiting next year.
posted by Jilder at 10:25 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Take it Off" by the Donnas fits the Girls judge Boys link too well.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 11:20 AM on January 20, 2011


Or "Take it Off" by Groundhog.
posted by puny human at 12:02 PM on January 20, 2011


The trailer seemed to imply a lot of focus on men doing things in extreme environments. "Human Planet" is obviously going to be a lot about habitat interaction if it's anything like the first two species, but it's interesting that over 75% in the trailer seemed to be guys-doing-shit-around-the-globe.
posted by Phalene at 1:48 PM on January 20, 2011


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