Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Is Happy Feet Now A Happy Meal?

Just as his arrival (and release) made global headlines, now fears are growing worldwide for Happy Feet, the emperor penguin.
The transmitter attached to the penguin, on his release back into the wild from the NZ research ship Tangaroa on 4 September, stopped relaying information last Friday.
There're many theories about the sudden loss of contact: Happy Feet's transmitter has simply fallen off. Solar flares interrupted play. He's run out of free-calling minutes. But it's also possible the penguin has been gobbled up - although unlikely, given the area he was in (well, that's the story you can tell your kids anyway).
Wildlife expert Colin Miskelly, who advised on Happy Feet's treatment, says efforts to find the penguin will continue: "It's unlikely we'll ever know what caused the transmissions to cease, but it's time to harden up to the reality that the penguin has returned to the anonymity from which he emerged." Absolutely right: reality check. So why then are "efforts continuing" to find one solitary penguin bobbin' around in the Southern Ocean? Y'know there're around 450,000 Emperor Penguins out there?
Look, we all got emotionally attached to the bird, and that's fine. We nursed him back to health, then took him back to sea. We let him go...and now we really do need to "let him go".
I'm not being a cynic, coz I rather liked the little scrapper too. It was a nice story while it lasted. But the world continues to turn, and there're bigger things to worry about...


Mad Bush Farm said...

If you look at the most popular stories they rank on some news websites. It's always the ones about warm fuzzies, or people who have been hard done by. And you're right the world does move one. A story line will continue for a while then when the final chapter is written and published it's old news in hours. And the world does worry about the bigger things. Still it was a great story.

BigMac said...

“Emotions” is everything. Context is nothing.

If people and media are “truly” saddened by the tragic loss of life of a penguin, there must be something to it.

Never put down “true” feelings, even their origin is from tabloids and are soon to be replaced by next story.

So yes it´s very cynical to reduce the life of a cute penguin to just a number, knowing that it is that exact penguin who has the “sincere”,” profound” love of world media and not the other 450.000.

Context is boring, story’s are the way to go.

Writer Of The Purple Sage... said...

Happy Feet's tale was indeed emotional.
For 4mths, tv news gave updates on its recovery almost every night. People donated $$$ to save it. Families flocked to see it. And when it was finally released into the wild, that's when the story should have been wrapped up, with a 'perfect feel-good' ending.
But no, we could follow its progress via tracker. And media gave us daily analysis of that: its location, why it turned in a particular direction etc.!
Then OMG! No signal - for any number of reasons, incl.Mother Nature's dinner time. Good luck to a parent explaining to an emotional youngster that cute Happy Feet may have been EATEN!!! As if that's not enough, we now get analysis of why the signal failed! And speculative stories of "maybe he IS alive after all". Next we'll probably get calls for someone to be fired, for not attaching the tracker securely enough!
Yes, a great emotional "warm fuzzies" story...but it went into major global overkill. Time to move on...

Writer Of The Purple Sage... said...

Dear Big Mac:
I think you are hoist on your own petard! Here you’re saying context is NOTHING, yet you commented in my “Killings Begin Again” story (07 Sept.):
“If a topic can´t tolerate to stand on its own and does not hold water when reviewed in its full context, then it´s not a valid part of the argumentation anymore.”
I suggest you make up your mind: do you support CONTEXT or not?
You also seem to have developed emotions over a penguin, yet you happily butcher pilot whales in their hundreds. “If people are saddened by the loss of a penguin, there must be something to it” – can’t you see that the same applies to whales?

BigMac said...

About the penguin comment, I may have been too subtle for you to pick up my sarcasm, as I hoped you might notice it was a hint towards a similar media “hostage taking” of emotions in a Faroese matter I usually write about.. (hint, hint..)

I even put some quotationmarks by the words “true”, “genuine” to make it more obvious. Sorry for being to vague.

Indeed I do not mean context is nothing, quite the opposite. And indeed I don’t mean emotions is everything, very far from that, especially when they block the view of context which is the only meaningful way to assess the nature of a case.

The penguin hysteria is just a reminder of how these things work.

By the massive media coverage, someone might be led to think there is genuine worldwide concern and care fore this penguin “Happy feet”

I can ensure you that is NOT the case. People by no means care for penguins and this exact case actually proves the point.

If people really cared for penguins, there would be daily reports in media about the welfare of these animals, wouldn’t there!?

If the life/death of one penguin can create so much fuss, there should be an outcry when everybody knows that orcas daily tear hundreds them apart and eat them alive.

Tomorrow it is totally forgotten, which would never be the case if there was genuine concern.

Tomorrow there is a new fuzzy where superficial people with superficial emotions can nurture their understimulated need for a purpose in life. Superficial as they are, the solution must not be to complex and best served as a pre-chewed mushed package, preferably in form of a substandard TV show, which of course must not disturb the watching of Big Brother though.

As you said (here comes the context) there are 450.000 other penguins out there. Living in an extreme hostile environment where every day is a question of life and death. However this is precise the conditions intended by nature and therefore perfectly the natural order of a penguins existence. No silly TV programme or hysteric people are ever going to affect that.

The stupidifying media created “reality”, stripped of proportions and context, is the prevailing source of “enlightment” for a way to big audience to be healthy.

The effect of this unfortunate mechanism is what is experienced in Faroe Islands where an animal with puppy like characteristics is slaughtered for food consumption. The story is good,- sure context, proportions and fact are way to complex to deal with and thus discarded, - but who needs them anyway when it is just a little emotion-fix people are after… (I ask rhetorically)

But for the sake of sanity and common sense, like you I suggest people have a realityCHECK even a realityshow is more what they are after. And for the sake of reason and rationality, view the case in PERSPECTIVE and CONTEXT and save the vulgar superficial emotions for next weepy movie.

Writer Of The Purple Sage... said...

Dear Big Mac:
At least we finally agree on one point – the media frenzy over one penguin was ridiculous!