As many of you know, I’ve been obsessed with mermaids since my first viewing of The Little Mermaid all those years ago. Hans Christian Andersen really got me all swept up and in love with the ocean and all of it’s inhabitants.
When I got older I was a little disappointed to find out mermaids weren’t real, but I totally got over it. I moved on, memorizing the different species that were held in the South Carolina Aquarium, spouting off dolphin facts to basically anyone who would listen, and almost losing my mind when I finally got to swim with dolphins in the Bahamas. My room is still full of books on whales and dolphins and other ocean life. I’ve got a bulletin board covered in Orca print still (okay, it was probably cow print, but I went with Orca because fyes) and everything anyone has ever given me as a gift is generally sea related. Going to school in Charleston really didn’t help me stray from my awkward ocean obsession. I got to watch a dolphin being born off the pier at Waterfront Park and I tried to swim with dolphins many times at Folly. On one occasion at Kiawah Island I almost got bitten by a baby shark when I mistook it for a dolphin. Point of this being, I’m a huge fan of the ocean and specifically ocean-dwelling mammals.
With that in mind, I watched Mermaids on Animal Planet this week, their documentary series trying to prove that mermaids do exist. I’m sad to say that Mermaids lived up to zero of my expectations for this documentary. Unlike most documentaries filmed about something that the general public can agree doesn’t exist, Mermaids did not try and use itself to promote conservation or awareness of issues that plague our oceans everyday. Instead, Mermaids made quite a few ridiculous points and used some very doctored film to try and prove that the Navy is covering up the existence of mermaids and all of us who don’t believe are blind or fools. While I’m always down for a good conspiracy theory, this one was just too much. Thankfully, one of my lab TAs from my time at the College of Charleston has continued his science blog, Southern Fried Science, and live-tweeted this broadcast so I didn’t feel so alone in a world of people who believed in mermaids. This article is what I’ve found to be the most helpful in explaining the documentary to others. Also, fun fact: professors at CofC helped to disprove Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid. I mean, it’s not like it was that hard, it was a fish tail sewn to a monkey body. Gross and weird.
My point is, Animal Planet would have better spent their time, resources, and money to just show the aquatic episode of Life and then donate their money to something like The Marine Conservation Institute.