30 August 2007
Meerkat Manor and other realities of life
Have any of you watched that show "Meerkat Manor"? I got hooked on it when we lived in London. It's a 9 year study by Cambridge University of a family of meerkats in the Kalahari desert. It's very much a soap opera but not fiction. The little guys are tagged, filmed, followed day and night. Their houses are even under the eye of the camera. It's "Little Brother" instead of "Big Brother". And it's addictive. But what strikes me the most about it is how similar it is to our own human culture sometimes. It's "Roseanne" in the meerkat vernacular. Matriarchal based families, wayward daughters who get kicked out for "breeding without permission", roving teenage boys "infiltrating" neighboring family females, gang warfare, family politics, fierce loyalties and betrayals, inept babysitting and the occasional natural disaster that sends them all either running for their lives or organizing to confront the danger as one. And all with players who are no more than perhaps a foot tall! If you've never watched it, look it up and TiVo it - you might get hooked too!