Friday, March 20, 2009

VHEMT on Italian TV show Tatami

On March 19th, 2009, I was a remote guest via satellite link with a TV program in Rome. The show is edited to give the impression that it's live in real time: air date 22 March 11:30 PM Italian time on on RAITRE channel. It's called Tatami, and is hosted by Camilla Raznovich.
Camilla was about eight months pregnant and she joked about going into labor on the show. The stage had a semicircle of guests sitting facing a runway that made it look like a fashion show set. The runway was for the host to walk in high heels and low-cut maternity dress. I think I heard an audience but the monitor didn't show that, and it wasn't part of my audio. Four rectangular screens for remote guests forming a box hung over the set.
After some technical problems and a false start, the first guest in the studio made his pitch: we have the greatest level of technology ever attained and it will save us. Disaster isn't going to happen. Nature is the biggest polluter because of all the CO2 produced by plants, and so on.
An environmentalist guest on a remote in Milan followed, and they asked what he thought of that. He said he didn't hear a word because all he could hear was the English translation and he doesn't speak English. While stage crew swarmed on and under the set, Camilla recapped his speech so he'd know what to comment on.
It was another half hour before the glitches and crossed wires were adequately straightened out. That won't be on the show, because they'll edit, and viewers won't know that Techno guy was proved wrong mere seconds after praising technology. I wasn't able to hear the Milan guest because it took a little longer to get the translator back in my ear. I could barely hear him due to a louder feed from the show itself. He could see me but not hear me, so I had to nod for yes.
A guest in the Tatami studio grew up in New York and then went to California to sit in a tree to prevent it from being cut down. The host explained to him that she would ask questions in English and then he should wait a moment to answer so they can edit. He was likely receiving the same translation in his ear that I was.
Techno guy said that a tree in the Redwoods had been saved by an actress tree-sitting (Julia Butterfly Hill?) and it blew down the next year. Reforestation replaces more trees than are cut... blah, blah.
Another guest in the studio psychoanalyzed people's motivation for thinking that we aren't treating the environment as we should: we actually feel badly about ourselves.
They showed a scene in Northern Italy of a sustainable homestead making cob houses with solar panels on the roof.
Techno guy said there were too many people for all of us to live that way, a point I returned to when my turn finally came -- an hour later than expected.
Camilla asked about my vasectomy, if it was out of concern for the environment or just to practice free love. I disregarded the latter and said that it was the best way to keep from getting someone pregnant. Regrets, she asked? No, and I still had the opportunity to be a parent. We don't have to reproduce to become parents.
Asked if I had a religion or a belief in a higher power. I said no but others do and that VHEMT is compatible with all religions -- most have a time when humans are not on the planet.
I might have said that, for extinct species, disaster has already happened.
Phycho guy said there must be something in my past that made me take this radical view. I said that I was trying to find a reason for breeding that wasn't pathological. He said something aboout giving love. I said there are nearly seven billion of us already here to love we don't need to make any more of us to love.
Camilla said some things related to her decision to be pregnant, I think, but I couldn't hear the translation well enough. Fortunately, she asked if I had any last thing to add, giving me the opportunity to wish her and her new daughter the best.
I think it went well though I can't remember all of what was said: I wasn't dedicating any brain power to memory functions as circuits were overloaded coping with immediate demands. This was a challenging situation, but at least I had a monitor to watch when I wasn't on camera, which helped a lot.
I hope some Italian VHEMTers will comment on the show, correct any mis-remembering, and let us know what other guests said.


  1. Hi Les, I'm Italian and I'm familiar with that show. I'll try to look at it and then I'll tell you my impressions. Nice to see you have your own blog now.

  2. Hi Les
    First of all I beg you to apologize my English and any eventual mistakes...
    I saw the talk show about the ecological emergency and I found it interesting, though it is conceived as an entertainment show, and the matters are not discussed too deeply, it sometimes features some guests of great value. In this case it was the Noble prized writer and actor Dario Fo.
    Besides Camilla is always very respectfull of everyone's opinion.
    It might be your interview has been cut because I don't remember any questions about religion, or you wishing the best to Camilla and her daughter...but maybe I just didn't pay enough attention because I was having myself an argument at the same time with my I hope someone can correct me :-)
    I think the interview has been too short and too concerned on your personal choice, the vasectomy, rather than the reasons for the human extinction.
    Of course the discussion was about the ways to save the planet in order to allow the humans to keep on living and proliferate on it. I felt the audience considered the perspective of human extinction as a sick idea from an "unhappy" mind, or a weird provocation...I can imagine you are used to this kind of reactions. After a couple of guests (including Dario Fo) have disagreed with your ideas people clapped. I think it was for relief because usually the first reactions to the idea of human extinction are shock and fear...I had these reactions too at first.
    Maybe someone got curious and will think about VHEMT again, search for informations...etc...but I'm really afraid the interview was too short to allow you to explain things properly.
    Take care

  3. Yo, Les! Keep up the good work--It is a mark of progress that you were invited to be on this show and I hope there will be many more such opportunities. I look forward to future postings on your media adventures.

    I have two blogs on population issues as well: and

    I would welcome your expertise in the comments sections!

    Hope all is well!
    Kirsten Stade
    Takoma Park, MD

  4. It was really courageous from you to say the least. This week, at work, someone talked about a terrible exhibit, called Bodies, taking place in Quebec City. You might have heard about it. Corpses are used but we don't know if they all gave their consent, as many come from China, including prinsoners there. I don't remember exactly how, someone probably jumped to China's human rights violations, and that prompted me to refer to human overpopulation. The first time, just from the look I got from the person facing me, I couldn't say the word "human", so I said "global overpopulation". Later I said "human overpopulation". I think as long as people think it's a problem limited to China or India, they find it more acceptable. It's over there, it's not us.

    France (the new member at VHE)

  5. TV shows like that are 'skinny' attempts to bring discussions to larger ammounts of people, as 'Mirco' posted, rather far from being deeply analyzed.

    I understand the responsability they have to appear objetive and respectful, but before any discussion is started at any level by that mean, the tv show itself should aware viewers that the content is one of the slightest approaches to the topics 'on the table', 'cause is pretty easy for masses to start creating, or recurring to cheap and gross stereotypes to get into the debates in order to be aggressive to the guests that are representing deep stances in life.

    Well, i'm from a 3rd world nation (Colombia) and that is everyday's scenery in the media. It's like these degenerated reporter's, creative's and journalists's ideas of giving information want actually to lead large masses of people over corrupt government's interests.
    Thinking free here is very far from being a rational choice, the first concern for almost 90% of the population here is about easy ways to get money to drink licuor, to get food and to get a roof to stay under that day (yeah in that order). And there a tons of doubtful and gross ways tho government provide to do that.

    That's kinda why 3rd world nation's people are quite far from even being able to make their own rational choice related to deep rational statements like yours. (I support like 80% of yours, 'ignorance' being the other 20%)

  6. Hi Les,
    I'm Sergio Siracusa (Serjustice) and, as you can see, i'm an attivist in this field.
    Visit my blog or go at:

    The web site is only in italian, but you can use the google tranlater ^_^ Bye