Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Nature The Beauty of Ugly|
Actor: F. Murray Abraham
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Looks aren't everything! From frightful fish and beastly birds to repellent pugs and a mysterious mole, join the search for the world's ugliest animals to learn about why they look the way they do. The features that we fin... more »
Pug-fugly in the Animal Kingdom
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 02/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A TV show presented what it deemed "the world's ugliest dog" and a person adopted the dog after the kennel owner said he'd have to kill it because it's too ugly for people to want. In "Bringing Out the Dead," one doctor in the ER loved a drunk who used up emergency room resources while the rest of the staff was irritated by the patient. This documentary works on that same theme that animals deemed ugly by humans have reasons for their ugliness and are essential to various food chains.
The work is diverse in that it shows insects, mammals, fish, reptiles, and other genii. It covers animals from the water, treetops, dirt, and air. They showed creatures from the US, India, Africa, and many other places. It showed how a lack of fur, huge teeth, bald heads, huge noses, etc. account for an animal's ugliness. However, it explains things. Naked rats don't have fur to get dirty by dirt. The head of a warthog helps it to dig. The fat noses of male elephant seals help them to fight each other.
Sometimes this documentary worked for shock effect. If you focus on an ugly stork's hairy neck, then of course it will look uglier than if it were just flying by. At one point, they slow down the movements of a starry-nosed mole and it made it look nastier. Also male scientists would grab ugly animals and put them centimeters away from the camera just to shock the audience. The work tries to balance things by constantly comparing what is pretty. Thus, they show a cute otter before they show an ugly elephant seal. They showed colorful butterflies before showing the scarier insects.
I need to wear my gender studies cap for two reasons. First, for several of the animals deemed ugly here, it was only males or adult males that had the supposed ugly feature. They never mention the term "sexual dimorphism," but that idea is present here. Secondly, almost all the researchers of these ugly animals were male. I once read that men prefer dangerous pets and women prefer cute, fluffy ones. I wonder if the repulsiveness of these animals affects the gender of their researchers. The phrase "Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails" seems to play out here.
This work made me think other things too. Some of these animals are truly ugly, but I can tolerate that because they don't live near me. I haven't seen any ugly storks in Illinois, for example. It's not the nakedness of moles that bothered me: the fact that mammals could have a queen did. The idea of a worker mammal just seems oxymoronic. It's great that when vultures eat carrion, it helps prevent the spread of germs and disease. However, this work didn't mention that vultures urinate on their legs to keep cool. That is what repulses me. I think one of the world's ugliest animals is the grouper was noticeably absent in this work.
My sister was a biology major. She said took a parisitology class and thought nothing of it. I would never have taken a class on such a sickening subject, but I'm glad humans have knowledge about it. This work proves how prettiness isn't everything. It may be great for junior high and high school biology classes."