The Romans enjoyed their gladiators as their society crumbled. Has America come to that?
When the biggest film of the year is about teenagers killing each other for the enjoyment of the masses, and when kids around the world massacre each other daily online in video games such as Warcraft, perhaps it is time for the world's most idealistic and moral movement, the environmental movement, to give in. Meet Pete Bethune and his "holy warriors."
Backed by a slick media presentation, Pete Bethune and his heavily armed mercenaries seem intent on changing the face of a historically peaceful movement. This "eco-hero," who first lost his ship on TV, then became a media darling when his foolishness won him time in a Japanese prison is now packing heat. Is this our next gun-toting hero?
Have we finally gone mad as a society? Just because the man looks good in a wetsuit, has tattoos, and a high "TV-Q" doesn't mean it's okay.
I have been in the eco-business for more than 30 years, and have been on the front lines with activists from around the world, as evident in my latest film, Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist. Violence against humans is and was never condoned. Anyone who has been with the movement knows the responsibility to always keep the moral high ground. Difficult as it might be, those of us involved want to win the war, and the only way to do that is to not become "them" in the game of us and them. "Them" kills, whales, dolphins, and humans, whether directly or indirectly. From what I see, Pete Bethune is becoming "them."
I have no real opinion of Captain Pete Bethune other than what is evident in his own press. I have never served with him, and I wasn't involved in the Ady Gil controversy. I have been to Antarctica as a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) officer, but I was not there when Pete lost his ship.
I only know the facts: Pete's ship was rammed by a Japanese whaler, and suffered enough damage that it was lost. No one was injured as the captain and crew were on deck waving and taunting the approaching whaler. Why a ship that went 40+ knots was sitting dead in the water during a confrontation initiated by Captain Bethune is a question to be argued, and I don't really care what the excuses may be.
What I care about is how Bethune's "glorious record" allows this man to speak for the environmental movement and deems him an expert in the field. How is he morally allowed to pose for photo ops and threaten "bad guys" with automatic weapons on behalf of individuals like me? The reason is, because the media loves him. He'll make great TV!
What this is saying to the world is: To hell with the environment. TV means dollars so get out the way.
People love to view train wrecks, and Pete Bethune and his buddies are a giant engine heading downhill. You can bet the same folks that bring you shows glorifying the killing of near extinct species and other "dangerous catch-type" shows, are the ones Pete is pitching.
I understand that if it "bleeds it leads" in the news, and I know people watch me on Whale Wars hoping to see me get whacked, but let's remember: REALITY TELEVISION is two words and half is true. It's definitely television. On the other hand, Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist is the real deal and explains the media's positive involvement in the eco-business from the start, and how we got the cause on the map. But, we are now going too far, as humans tend to do.
Pete and his buddies should leave the weapons to the authorities with the training and responsibility to use them. If they still insist on playing navy seals then they should do TV... fictional TV, you know, the James Bond type. Let's leave the eco business to those with the passion and courage of their convictions, those who are smart enough to realize that it is the ECO-business, not the EGO-business.
For those catching Animal Planet's Whale Wars: Viking Shores, imagine who would be more successful: Pete Bethune and his warriors blasting ashore in his war canoe killing whalers in his path, or Sea Shepherd's Deborah Bassett with her logic, persistence and charm?
I'm sure TV would go with Pete, but I hope we as humans are better than that.
I can't help but quote Pogo when I say, "I am afraid we have met the enemy and he (the enemy) is us."
Follow Peter Jay Brown on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Confessionsfilm