Brow Beat

Just Put on a Nature Documentary

A woman meditates in front of what looks like an ape, some birds of paradise, and some dolphins deep underwater
No one knows anything about the election! But David Attenborough does know stuff about pygmy sloths. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Huw Cordey / Netflix/Silverback, Paul Stewart/Silverback/Netflix, Netflix and Zulman/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Things are very confusing right now, and it feels like people, as a concept, might be very bad. You know what’s not bad, and has nothing to do with the potential reelection of a [insert a large number of horrible things here]? A palm-size pygmy marmoset. A solar-powered, sunbathing, jellyfish. A 12-wired bird-of-paradise, with its very wire-y butt.

Whatever else you are doing this morning: put on a nature documentary.

Swapping MSNBC for Paul Rudd’s assessments of adorable things in Apple TV+’s Tiny World or Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research in Jane on Disney+ is not necessarily a directive to avoid the news. Many devices that are not your television are available to deliver as many piecemeal updates and as much breathless analysis as your nervous system can handle. And while becoming fully absorbed in PBS’s My Life as a Turkey for an hour would probably be good for your mental health, today is somehow Wednesday and we all have a variety of responsibilities to attend to. (If you can quickly focus on something wonderful, here is a two-minute clip from My Life as a Turkey.) But no matter what else you are doing or thinking about today, having nocturnal creatures or horny modern dinosaurs doing their thing in the background, even on mute, is sure to improve it, if just a little. (They’re available in Netflix’s Night on Earth and Dancing With the Birds, respectively).

If you would rather stew in big, angry feelings? May we suggest National Geographic’s Hostile Planet. I’ll leave you with a pair of hippos fighting each other: