View Full Version : A letter I wrote to the Discovery Channel

2008-Oct-07, 09:52 AM

This came up on another forum I frequent. They were talking about an oddball subject - namely a nature show in which the host seemed to have a great fondness for bear droppings - which reminded me of a letter I wrote to the Discovery Channel a few years ago.

Since I copied out the letter there, I thought I might as well put it up here too, hoping you might get a chuckle out of it.

It was a 'complaint' written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I never expected a response, but got one anyway. Apparently, they got the joke and passed it around a bit, much to my relief.
Here's the letter; hope you get a chuckle or two.

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Dear Discovery Channel:

I am an avid watcher of Discovery Channel. I especially enjoy your documentaries of nature and wildlife (not necessarily the same thing, as any college student knows well) and therefore watch as many of them as possible. There is however a trend developing in these documentaries that I find disturbing; and I thought it would be valuable to bring this to your attention.

The trend is the increasing coverage of animals pooping. For some reason, recent documentarians seem to be taking an inordinate - one could say almost childlike - joy in focussing their camera lenses on the straining hindquarters of everything from shrews to cows to elephants - the last, I have no shame admitting, I found truly horrifying through dint of sheer massive scale. Such a display is amost always followed by an extreme closeup of the results of the target animal's most recent activity.

Thanks to the miracle of High Definition TV, we can now see it steaming lightly in the morning mist as well.

I am uncertain as to the cause of this new phenomenon. Animals are always fascinating of course, and all aspects of their life should be considered equally fascinating. I wonder, however, if a detailed examination of a creature's various bodily orifices and what comes out (or goes in) them should be considered valid television fare. There are of course many scientists who specialize in this field of study. Clearly many learned men and women revel in the mysteries of the lower colon and are utterly enthralled by the steaming, sticky remains of Life In All Its Glory. No doubt there have been magnificent advances made in the comparative study of ungulate versus predatory excremental analysis but this is one area that does not in my opinion need to be on TV; sandwiched between commercials for Taco Bell and whatever movie Pauly Shore is starring in this week. (Though I do admit in terms of subject the three share a remarkable similarity.)

I am certain that this is one area in which we should allow the animals a bit of privacy. While I admit that the sight of hippos, rhinos and giraffes adding to the ecosystem does have a certain entertainment value ("My GOD that is one big rectum!"), I respectfully submit that it has little educational importance.

To choose a random mammalian example; we do not need to see closeups of defacating rhinos because we already know:
a) rhinos poop.
b) Being vegetarians, they poop green.
c) Being large vegetarians, they poop BIG and green.
d) Being extraordinarily large vegetarians, they poop big, green and standing up.
d) Being uncivilized extraordinarily large vegetarians, they are unlikely to use toilet paper, leaves, grass or small furry mammals for the intended purpose.

I would like to stress that I thoroughly enjoy your documantaries; it is simply the regularity (sorry...) of this particular phenomenon that I have an issue with. While it would be unrealistic to expect that you demand documentarians cut back on the poop filming (I can just imagine the memo...); I thought perhaps a simple addition to the pre-show warning might serve as an acceptable compromise. You already issue warnings that some scenes might be disturbing to young, weak-stomached or otherwise socially spineless individuals; I suggest an additional warning tacked on at the bottom: 'May Contain Poop'. In brown letters, if you must.

That way, I'll have plenty of time to prepare myself - or at least to make sure I'm not eating chili (with big red kidney beans) at the time.

Thank you for reading this letter, and thank you for recieving it in the spirit in which it was written. Keep up the good work - you have an avid fan for most of the forseeable future.

Your whimsical friend,

Dave Organ

P.S. Regarding your show 'Flightpath'. It's an excellent show - God knows George C Scott is the epitome of narration, after all - and I understand that reruns are common but do we really need to see the P-47 episode 21 times in one week alone? Thanks.

2008-Oct-07, 10:41 AM
....I suggest an additional warning tacked on at the bottom: 'May Contain Poop'. In brown letters, if you must...

Thank you for sharing.

2008-Oct-07, 11:04 AM
What was their response?

2008-Oct-07, 11:58 AM
That was actually a very entertaining letter. You did mention a reply. Would you have it to share, by any chance?

2008-Oct-07, 12:17 PM
What was their response?

That was actually a very entertaining letter. You did mention a reply. Would you have it to share, by any chance?

Unfortunately not. The response was on my old computer - the one I blew up (figuratively speaking) learning why it's not a good idea to delete system files. :D

But it was basically the polite 1-paragraph 'thanks for the letter; it was funny' response you'd imagine.

Ahh - I just get comical thoughts every once in a while; and there were a series of docs at the time that showed exactly what was in the letter: close-up footage of very large animals talking very large dumps. No, I was never disturbed of course; it started with my own initial thought; as quoted in the letter ("My GOD that is one big rectum!") and went from there.
(Shrug) Just so long as someone smiles, I'm happy. :)