Re: birding-aus "Living Edens" doco on ABC - some nitpicking

To: "Lawrence E. Conole" <>,
Subject: Re: birding-aus "Living Edens" doco on ABC - some nitpicking
From: Laurence Living <>
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 19:29:10 +1000
Hi Lawrie

I too was disappointed with the following aspects of the Borneo 'Eden'

1. The emphasis on rich diversity of species in commentary was not supported
by visuals
2. No mention was made of the present threats to this 'Eden', oil/mineral
explorations in Kalimantin, the clearing of the rainforests for farming, the
transmigration of excess human populations from Java.
3. During my time there I could only find Urang Utan in the forest near the
rehabilitation centre, so its future seemed quite bleak.

Guess these programs appeal more without the politics of reality.

Laurie Living

"Lawrence E. Conole" wrote:

> I haven't seen much discussion of this series on the list, so I thought
> I'd stir the possum a bit and see what results.
> Some of the cinematography has been quite superb, but the narration and
> some images or image series have really been a bit over the top.  I
> guess with "Eden" in the title, a little sentimentality and
> anthropomorphism might be expected.  The program has an inconsistent
> stance when it comes to dealing with the role/place of humans as well.
> It rightly points to the undesirable impact of some human activities,
> but then either romanticises the human/nature relationship to the point
> of saccharine sweetness, glosses over it in poetic monologues about
> "untouched wilderness", or rather condescendingly relegates humanity to
> being part of the fauna (sometimes all in the one episode!).
> Last night's program on Borneo featured a couple of errors and missed
> opportunities.  The map of Borneo shown on the screen was in fact only
> the Indonesian part (Kalimantan), whereas the program largely
> (entirely??) featured Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah).  The
> Wrinkle-lipped Bats (Tadarida [Chaerophon] plicata) shown at roost in
> Deer Cave were actually (and unmistakably) Leafnosed-bats (probably
> Hipposideros diadema) - whereas the swarming aerial column of bats shown
> later really were Wrinkle-lipped Bats.  A number of bird species shown
> were either put into a generic basket ("hornbills" for example when a
> couple of species were shown), or not commented on at all (eg. Asian
> Fairy-Bluebird, [cf] Greater Green Leafbird) - would it cost more than a
> few $0.01 to name these in the commentary and increase the interest
> level a little?  .... and on that topic, why not show one of the real
> Bornean endemic oddities - the Bornean Bristlehead!!!!!  Orang-utans are
> undoubtedly cute, but rather overexposed in the nature doco world -
> maybe the fleeting glance of a gibbon (White-handed or Lar?) was a lost
> opportunity to introduce some balance.  The Prevost's Squirrel and
> Brush-tailed Porcupine were crackers - more of that kind of thing please
> .........
> As I recall a similar discussion on Attenborough's birds doco was neatly
> polarised between the nitpickers and the stalwart supporters - I await
> the deluge with interest.
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