It’s a hard and trying task, all this Zero business. All this research, all this protesting, all this motivating the troops and doing the groupies. At times I grow weary. People cannot live on self-righteousness alone. It can’t be all hard work and hand wringing and so from time to time I put down my tools, tramp down from the moral high ground to the sewer in which the rest of you live, and have a night off. A couple of nights ago I watched a film. Naturally, I was able to turn it pretty quickly into hard work and handwringing.
It was The Cove, the winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary. It looks at how thousands of dolphins are slaughtered by arseholes in Japan and how a few slightly less unlucky ones are shipped off to aquariums around the world for a life in captivity, performing tricks for food like they’re in a freak show and carting people round on their backs because swimming with dolphins is on every unoriginal mope’s bucket list. It was quietly horrific.
Ric O’Barry is at the centre of the film and the effort to show the world how wrong it’s going. He was the guy who caught and trained dolphins for the Flipper TV show then had an epiphany about how badly they were treated, how tortured and depressed they were, how intelligent, how empathetic, how creative they are. Turns out Flipper wasn’t just an innocent Sunday afternoon pile of dreck. It helped kick off an industry of torture and cruelty. As revelations go its about as depressing as when Skippy was found turning tricks in Reno, giving up her pouch to anyone with a handful of acorns and a line of speed.
The filmmakers recruited freedivers, Industrial Light and Magic and other experts to sneak into the cove where dolphins are trapped and killed, risking a kicking and jail time amid intimidation and general twattishness. The footage they get is quite amazing. I don’t want to undo its shock value by telling you about it. The sea turns red, let’s leave it at that.
So Ric reckons if you’re not an activist you’re an inactivist, and the end credits tell us to tell other people about it so here I am doing some of that. After you’ve seen the thing you should visit the official site and the Take Part thing and sign one of them there petitions that might make its way to the International Whaling Commission via the White House seeing as how no one in Japan is doing much about it. And you should spam the bejesus out of Facebook, slapping the trailer on your wall and joining the 1,134,289 people who’ve signed the petition there. All of which might amount to you whispering into a bucket in a locked cupboard in an empty house in a town full of mutes near an exploding foghorn factory but which also might do some good eventually at some point if it reaches enough people and they do the same.
So there’s The Cove for you. I also watched Weekend at Bernie’s which has some salient points on the issue of man’s inhumanity to man but maybe we’ll cover that another time.
Photo credit: The Zero