Tilting at Whale Mills

I just caught wind of Whale Wars on Animal Planet. It’s an interesting show, but, like many reality shows, not for the reasons the subjects think.

The fact that Japanese are killing whales for “scientific research” and ends up as meat is almost certainly bending the spirit if not the letter of the ban on whaling. I applaud the fact that folks are out there taking this on.

But…these people are Quixoticism defined. They’re pitch is that they are an action group, as opposed to Greenpeace which is a protest group. That’s true, but the incompetence with which they go about this mission for which they are supposedly willing to die for makes one blush.

They can’t properly put a zodiac in the water. They broke their helicopter. They bring on idealistic volunteers who don’t know anything about anything. They’re negligence broke their engine, so they had to return to Melbourne to get *$400,000.00* worth of repairs done on the ship, while bragging about how they don’t cultivate donors with mailing lists, or anything else that works.

That’s because they have big rich donors like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Of course, $400,000.00 could feed over 100,000 people for a year, but I digress. There is a compelling interest in defending whales, but, as with anything, a little planning goes a long way.

They leave port not knowing where the whaling fleet will be, with a ship of fools, weak leadership, no real plan for stopping the whalers other than to throw stinkbombs and jump on their ship (which is piracy, per se)—the exact kind of showmanship that they deride Greenpeace for. (The fact that there *is* a ban on whaling had a lot to do with Greenpeace and their allegedly lamer tactics to begin with, but I digress.)

So, they stir some shit, and then, without the whalers having fired much more than a popper at them, their ship crumbles (due to their negligence) and they have to return to port, where, they tell the volunteer crew, they will be replaced if they aren’t dedicated enough. A few hours later, they try and convince them to stay (in other words, they kinda can’t be replaced all that easy.)

If direct action is your calling card, then act. Find ways to track the ships. (Maybe get a mole on the ships?) Or, if you can’t do that, figure out a way to disable their ships (a fucking rope on their propellers is not going to do it). If your legal position is correct, or, even if it’s not, you will at least get a chance to prove that in an Admiralty Court.

Hell, I bet $400,000.00 could buy Letters of Marque from some banana republic somewhere. As a privateer, they would have to use military force to stop you. Just sail back to Banana Republic and stay away from Japan.

Anyway, the idealistic incompetence does not totally dilute the bizarre nobility of what they are doing, which is what makes the story good, just like Don Quixote.