Saturday, February 11, 2006

Darwin's Nightmare

Earlier in the week, I saw Darwin's Nightmare.

I still can't quite get it out of my mind.

We talked about it last night at dinner.

And we all agreed it was simply crazy.....

Starving babies with extended stomaches living next to a lake that is sending 1 million pounds of lucious filets to the restaurants and markets of Europe.

Small homeless boys living on its edges huffing the burned plastic that is used to package the fish.

Hookers in cheap hotels giving their nights to Russian aviators who look more like route 66 truck drivers.

An airstrip littered with plane cadavers, where empty used gigantic retired passenger jets and military transports land on an otherwise empty airstrip created solely to export the meat of these leviathons.

There is aids, starvation, huffing, whores, big business, and bad ecology all wrapped up together in a well edited non narrated documentary that has just received the academy award nomination for best documentary. (It's in with Penquins and Enron)

As we agreed last night,

It is totally crazy.

I suggested that you should get a Paxel with your ticket.

Here is a review from Time Out London,

"Hubert Sauper’s acclaimed documentary is a compelling cautionary tale that clearly shows how, in this age of globalisation, things can easily evolve in the worst possible of unforeseen ways. Back in the 1960s someone poured some non-native fish into Lake Victoria.

The profoundly predatory Nile Perch was far bigger than its native rivals and, in killing off most species, also had a deleterious effect on the human population: farmers moved to the lake to become fishermen and satisfy the European and Russian demand for fish, which in turn caused massive economic change, sickness, poverty and, inevitably, political skulduggery.

Witty, provocative, angry and heart-breaking, this incisive, imaginative film ranges wide in the subjects it covers. Filming undercover gave Sauper access to an impressive array of people, from businessmen and pilots to prostitutes and EU politicians, some of them alarmingly frank in their admissions.

Less an exposé of corrupt individuals than a terribly lucid investigation into mankind’s mad capacity for self destruction, it’s a film that will surely prick the conscience of all who see it. GA"

The first thing that got me was the shear size of this Nile Perch.

It's like no perch I've ever pulled out of a stream or lake.

They look like marlins or taupins or some other huge variety of fish.

And they are really ugly.

The next thing that got me was the Russian aviator truck drivers.

They were fixing flat tires and taking their jet engines apart

like garage mechanics right there on the tarmac.

They were international cowboys riding the biggest horses we make.

This remarkable story of our greed and our insensitivities to other peoples

weaves its story into the recesses of your ability to comprehend.

Towards the end, one Russian says,

On another load I brought in some tanks,

and I brought back grapes to Europe.

"The African children get tanks.

The European children get grapes

It is just business."

Yes, just business.

Letting that market work.

I fear it is a fable for our times.

But it's much more than a fable.

It's a nightmare.

And it's not Darwin's.

It's ours.


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Blogger Urban Denizen #512 said...

I've yet to see the documentary but is on my list. Not unlike _Mondovino_, I'll probably wait for the release to video.

Of course, you knew after invoking the word "market" I'd chime in. But because I have not seen the documentary and only know of its cautionary tale second-hand, I'm pandering to assumption. This said:

Based on my understanding, this is not a natural market at work by virtue of the fact that there is a very large element of force and coercion at play--no different than the killing fields in urban neighborhoods across our country--all subsidized and graced by the presence and manipulative monies of big government.

Before closing, can you see any of your own leverage inhibiting the creation of natural markets from your radiant summit, Oz?

10:40 PM  

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