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The Forest Freak Show
“Months after Bruno the Bear was knocked off in Bavaria,” reports Spiegel Online, “Germany finds itself faced with another freak animal dilemma. An albino deer has appeared in the eastern German state of Saxony. Hunters smell blood, and basically everyone else wants to protect the animal.”

Albino Deer

So will this as yet unnamed “snow-white deer with pink eyes skin” become another hysterically inconsequential megaspectacular media event to rival Paris Hilton and Natalee Holloway? Will Deutsche Welle send reporters to interview conservationists and celebrities pleading for the hunters to leave it alone? “As a rarity and natural phenomenon, it should be allowed to live,” these environmentalists will probably say.

As a matter of fair and balanced journalism, will they also interview the hunters, who will no doubt argue that the “white deer is a mutation. It does not belong in the wild. It should be shot.”

In any case, I'd like to resurrect an old proposal for a new cable channel, sort of a cross between The Weather Channel and Animal Planet, providing round-the-clock, real-time reports and analysis of news events at the intersection of human and animal cultures.

The Weather Channel

From their worldwide headquarters in Chicago, legions of landscape architects, all in their matching red correspondent jackets, will be flown in to Alaska to cover the arrivals of Avian flu-infected birds; to new Floridian exurban developments where alligators prowl the streets; to remote bird sanctuaries where orphaned birds are instructed in the ancient art of flying; to Nigeria where pet hyenas and baboons are all the rage; to all the major urban parks presently being invaded by the wilderness; and to Oslo to cover the culture war over the recently opened exhibit on gay animals.

And all of these stories will be treated like major weather events, “structured like narrative dramas with anticipation heightened by detection and tracking, leading to the climax of real-time impact, capped by the aftermath of devastation or heroic survival.”

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