Monday, January 05, 2009

Discovery, indeed!

While flipping channels on Saturday, I came across a show on the Discovery channel called "Destroyed In Seconds". It's just like a lot of the clip shows on Spike tv in that it's compilations of videos showing things blowing up or falling down or crashing into each other or all of the above. What's great about it is that since it's on the Discovery Channel, you don't have to justify watching it by describing it as a guilty pleasure. It's like finding a platter full of corndogs on a salad bar. No guilt, just pleasure! And no thinking required either. There's no science to understand, no forensic investigation into what caused these catastrophes. Only video, played over and over again, sometimes in extreme close-up and/or slow motion.
The first thing they showed on the episode I watched was a fire in a Danish fireworks factory that resulted in huge explosions over the course of a day and a half, which leveled the surrounding neighborhood. Just a horrific display...and yet so festive! They should have airlifted Lee Greenwood in for the most spectacular version of "God Bless The USA" ever.
"Ooh...Ahh" ad infinitum!
That was followed by footage of one of those little speedboats that people race at the speed of sound that always seem to go airborne and cartwheel across the water's surface, sending debris (boat and human) in all directions. You can hear spectators gasping and crying out "Oh my God!" in shock. I don't know why they're surprised, since I've seen so many similar videos that I'm pretty sure that that is exactly what they're supposed to do. People ought to react that way whenever one of them makes it from start to finish intact. That would be really shocking.
And of course, there are skydivers, hot air balloons, trains, trucks, bridges and buildings, all involved in the same kind of mayhem. My hope is that some day, these are the only kinds of video clips that future anthropologists find when they're studying our society. Then they'll think we were either the dumbest or bad ass-est culture in the history of civilization. And they'll be 100% right.

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