Thursday, December 14, 2006

Voted Off the Planet

The formula’s well-established in television – get a group of people in a hostile environment and vote for the one you want to keep: the rest get voted off one by one until finally there’s only one winner who gets a large prize.

So now they’ve decided to do it with endangered species, in a series called Extinct. Various celebrities each champion the cause of one endangered species and the species with the most votes at the end of the series gets half a million quid to spend on its own survival.

Of course, it has to be a level playing field so all the species are extremely telegenic and appealing to the human race. If the Ethiopian Giant Green Slug dies out, we don’t give a monkey’s. So, you’re a crocodile? Byeeeeee! If you’re any kind of snake, forget it, you’re a dead snake slithering. But here, in Very Very Selective Endangered Species Television, we can choose from the following:

Polar Bear

Giant Panda

Hyacinth Macaw



Asian Elephant

Leatherback Turtle

Bengal Tiger

Each and every one either cute, with that baby-faced look of the giant panda, or that head-on-one-side almost-human look of the macaw, or majestic with the hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck factor, like the tiger. And sometimes majestic and yet with really cute babies – they’re our favourites, beloved of all mankind!

So, the premise of this show is, that we vote for our favourite, and if, say, the polar bear wins, the measly half a million is used to entirely stop global warming so that polar bears don’t run out of ice (as is currently happening) and the polar bear is saved! But if the Leatherback Turtle - only added as a makeweight, I feel, being a reptile and hence related to snakes – loses, what happens then? Is it, in effect, voted off the planet?

Yes, it's simplistic rubbish. I suppose they’d justify it as raising awareness of environmental issues in an accessible way, blah blah - - But oh, have we come to this?

Coming next – Here are three cute Third World babies. Which one do YOU want to save?


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