Whales are beautiful and transfixing. So it’s no surprise that increasingly they star in lots of videos. And the videos are sometimes pretty great to look at.
But I have to admit to a feeling of unease when I watch these sorts of videos. I like that we hear from the thought-provoking Alan Watts.
But what are these videos really about?
Do viewers come away more knowledgeable about the plight of whales, or simply gratified and ready to move onto the next viewing experience?
Do they notice the dying coral, dappled with algae, and connect it to human culture, or is their attention entirely consumed by bikini-clad divers?
Do they wonder what the whales think of having their tranquil spaces invaded by video production teams?
Are the whales anything other than props for a slick GoPro promotion?
Sorry to ask. But I have a hard time watching all the ways in which we use the natural beauty of the world and its creatures for our own purposes. Because our preoccupation with our own lives, our own commerce, our own feelings, and its impact on everything else on the planet is the backdrop I increasingly see in all these whale videos.