Green Porno 3.0: Compassion is sexy!

September 15th, 2009 by

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

null

Back in June, I raved about Green Porno, a subversive (and delightfully cheesy!) documentary series starring Isabella Rossellini (whom I’ve had a massive girl-crush on ever since her turn as Katya Derevko in Alias). Green Porno examines the sex lives of nonhuman animals – which, oftentimes, are far from “conventional.” To this end, the show has great potential to change how humans view “others”: women, homosexuals, transgendered persons, gender nonconformists – and even nonhuman animals.

To this, I’d like to add that, in addition to their anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-anti-sex thrust (pun most definitely intended), these shows are anti-speciesist as well.

While [the] disavowal of animal homosexuality and sexual variety serves to justify and reinforce “isms” directed at humans (homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, etc.), it at also functions at another level. In denying non-human animals the full range of their behavioral, emotional and sexual expression, we rob them of their complexity, their personality – for lack of a better term, their humanity.

Like us, non-human animals can be complicated creatures, driven by a range of goals and desires. Animals, humans included, aren’t just about reproduction; our sole purpose in life isn’t simply to spread our DNA and produce as much offspring as possible. Sometimes we have sex, mate and form bonds because it’s fulfilling in other ways. Nor do we only nurture and protect our own genetic material: sometimes we act with altruism and compassion rather than selfishness and narcissism.

By insisting that animals only copulate in order to introduce sperm to egg, we simplify trillions of sentient beings, taking from them characteristics which make them seem that much more human.

Ironically, in so doing, we also reduce the human species to a caricature, a boring, two-dimensional model which scarcely resembles h. spaiens, in all its diverse, eccentric, animalistic magnificence.

Watching animal sex play out amidst kindergarten construction paper cutouts and human-sized bodysuits, the viewer (hopefully) comes to see nonhumans as the unique individuals they really are. When one ceases to regard a group of beings as a single, undifferentiated mass of “stuff,” othering them – based on species, sex, sexuality, race, breed or whatnot – becomes a difficult, twisted task indeed.

Season 1 focused on bugs (spiders, flies, earthworms), Season 2 on ocean dwellers (barnacles, whales, starfish). Both Wiki and I had thought Season 3 would shift focus to farmed animals such as pigs and cows, but it looks Season 3 will continue to examine marine animals. In a subtle shift from Season 2, however, Rossellini’s attention turns to ocean dwellers whom we commonly kill and eat (and oftentimes “farm” as well).

 


 
Each Season 3 clip begins with a shot of Rossellini in the kitchen, pretending to cook a member of the species whose sex we’ll be observing for the next several minutes. As she stirs the pot, thoughts drift to what her meal’s life – and death – might have been like. “Shrimp,” for example, includes images of Rossellini and her offspring (eggs) caught in a net, dead, just one of thousands of victims. One second, a flirty, sexy, gender-bending shrimp; the next, a wasted life. Food, garbage, “bycatch.” Along with the whimsical props familiar to fans of Green Porno, Season 3 is laced with graphic images of nonhuman animal suffering, used to illustrate the havoc we’re unleashing on the earth and its ecosystems.

null

While the show is far from an animal rights treatise, it’s certainly taken a turn towards animal welfare issues in its third season. Unsurprisingly, some audiences seem less-than-enthused at this evolution:

Helping her discuss the ins and outs of the lives of seafood (pun intended, pervs) is Dr. Claudio Campagna, a conservationist with two affiliations, the Wildlife Conservation Society, with headquarters in New York, and the National Research Council of Argentina. At the end of each short episode, Campagna explains a bit about the industry behind each delicacy, usually coming to the conclusion that we should stop chowing down on them. As a huge seafood lover, this bummed me out. That, however, was most likely the point, so I suppose it’s a success on that front.

Anti-sea-creatures-as-snacks message aside, Green Porno 3 is sexy, fun, educational, and features Isabella Rossellini wearing tentacles.

Whereas Bitch‘s Kelsey Wallace sees the “anti-sea-creatures-as-snacks message” as an impediment, you and I are likely to view Season 3’s anti- (or less-) speciesist bent as a welcome improvement. Let’s hope the show eventually turns its lens on U.S. “food” animals – chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, ducks, lambs – and urges viewers towards a similarly compassionate diet, free of sentient animals, whether they fornicate in oceans or on land.

If, like me, you don’t have the Sundance Channel, fear not! You can view the first four installments of Season 3 (squid, anchovy, shrimp, elephant seals) on Green Porno‘s website at http://www.sundancechannel.com/greenporno/

Videos in this post

Green Porno 3: Bon Appetit Promo
Promo for all new GREEN PORNO 3: Bon Appetit by Isabella Rossellini. (:20)

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply