Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Paul Watson of Whale Wars: The Most Irresponsible (but Entertaining) "Captain" in the World

I'm addicted to a show on Animal Planet called Whale Wars that chronicles the high-seas tomfoolery of a "captain" who values the lives of whales more than humans.

The show reveals this raw truth in every episode. In the season opener the captain decides to plow through expansive iceberg fields in pursuit of Japanese whalers even though the ship's hull is not built to withstand ice. He sends two 20-somethings into the hold, allegedly to patch an oncoming breach in the metal hull (like they could actually do anything to stop water of that kind!) The kids nervously watch as the steel creaks and flexes and the paint cracks on the inside from the massive ice chunks trying to send them to Davy Jones' Locker. The entire crew was in real danger of dying, simply because the captain wanted to get to some evil whaling ship so they could throw stink bombs at them -- really, stink bombs. Their main tactic is to throw stink bombs at whaling ships, and nearly die trying.

In last night's show, we again see what a heartless bastard Watson is when he finds that one of the crewmembers from the Japanese whaling ship has fallen overboard. That evening, Watson spots the whaling ships' spotlight looking for their dead shipmate. But no matter -- Watson decides it's time to send out their fleet of fast inflatables to harass them with the nautical equivalent of toilet-papering an enemy's house. Most of the crew is obviously uncomfortable being pissant nuisances while the whaling ship is searching for a dead person, but captain's orders are orders. They suit up and go.

The only reason Watson is able to accomplish such dangerous acts is because he has surrounded himself with the young and the stupid. Some of the young people onboard are genuinely smart but, I think, blinded by their idealism that they're actually saving whales. The stupidest person onboard is certainly Peter Brown, Watson's sycophantic First Mate. We witness his terrible leadership one time when it appears that the scout boat is lost at sea, and he has no idea what to do. One of the younger crew takes over to begin a search pattern and they find the lost boat. Last night Brown ignored satellite images of ice flows because he trusts his own instincts better than "computer screens"; he misses the break in the ice which could have brought them to safety. It's not until the more intelligent younger members of the crew come on watch to save the crew from being crushed by ice.

And all of this brings me to the question of why these people think they're saving the Earth by playing kids' games with massive ships and a big budget in the middle of the most dangerous oceans. Let's be honest with ourselves: in 2009, people support people like Paul Watson because whales are charismatic mega fauna, not because saving the few that are currently hunted is key to saving biodiversity. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad there's an international ban on whaling. Whales are beautiful animals and that's why they deserve protection. If whales were small and ugly, no one would give a fuck (or give less of a fuck). Japan kills 1,000 minke and fin whales per year and while there is disagreement, it's not a threat to the species. Even so, Japan should be stopped, but the main thing Watson's adventures do is make good TV. Even Greenpeace agrees with me.

UPDATE: I was wrong about Watson choosing to harass the whalers while they were looking for their dead crewmate. Watson radioed to the whaling ship that he would not harass them and would assist in the search for the dead man. However, the whaling ship radioed back and said they did not require cooperation from "environmental terrorists."
Sorry I have to disagree. More publicity is better, You really have to ask why countries like Japan are killing these whales in the first place, No rational reason!!! If you ignore it they will just kill more whales for some crazy medicinal or religious pupose. That coupled with the fact that whales do not have fertility clinics so they are not likely to reproduce in mass anytime soon. Killing a thousand Fin whales would be like wiping out 2.5 billion people,(Actually, it would be like reducing the population of humans from 6.5 billion down to 100,000 with a few decades of heavy hunting, than killing 33,000 of them every year for no particular purpose)

I also have to argue over the "small and ugly" statement, 1) we would probably not be killing something of the description because, they are small and ugly, 2) most small and ugly things have a much higher fecundity rate than larger "cuter" mammals, lizards, marsupials and such.. That being said I think you would be suprised over the fervor stirred up by most endangered species.

I think the world needs more captains like this bringing attention to sensless killing, i.e. harvesting animals for ivory, gall bladders, teeth or head trophies, It is quite insane!

I said: "Japan should be stopped". People are not ignoring it. In fact, Greenpeace monitors and publicizes Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean without putting people's lives in danger. (Remember, Paul Watson and Greenpeace hate each other).

Well, I'm not going to make moral equivalencies between killing whales and killing humans, but you may be right about the number of fin and minke whales. The numbers are in dispute, and no one really knows how many there are. Anyway, I said Japan should be stopped.

A flagship species like whales are chosen to represent an environmental cause. These species are chosen for their aesthetic value in order to gain support and from the public. Whales are much prettier and impressive than, for example, the Toothfish. Sure, there are efforts to save all sorts of endangered species, but we all know that the charismatic megafauna are the ones people REALLY care about.

There are plenty of people bringing attention to the things you mention without endangering people's lives. I think immediately of Mike Fay's work with elephant poachers in Africa, or Greenpeace's work with whales. Think of it: the 1986 whaling moratorium banned whaling in almost every country and it was done without people throwing stink bombs at ships and sending naive kids on death missions in the Southern Ocean.
Yea, I've watched this show too LB. Its funny to me because you basically have a bunch of hippies driving a high-tech equipped vessel. The part where they lost the Japanese ship had me rolling..."Dude, weren't we supposed to turn at the big iceberg?"
No one makes you watch the TV show, which simply jacks up their ratings.

I make me watch the TV show. Is it impossible for you to conceive of enjoying a show which has despicable characters? If that were the case, reality TV would cease to exist.
Despicable is right. Everytime I watch that show I find myself rooting for the Japanese whalers. I am not a fan of commercial whaling but it disgusts me to think that people are endangering other humans' lives to prove that they're "really into saving whales"...
Sorry LB, Missed your point, I will have to use the Clerks defense, These Kids are not Stupid/Naive, I would argue they know exactly what their getting into, I can see the recruiting Slogan: "Come Help us hunt the whale hunters", What part of that does not sound dangerous? Quite frankily I think it sounds fun, I think 18 year old LB would have made a formidable whale hunter hunter:)!
Nuke the gay whales.......
It's a silly show. Japan's entire diet comes from the sea and good science is necessary to ensure sustainable takes. The whales are in no danger of extinction but even people like tired old Paul Watson have to earn a living I suppose. As one man once said, there's a sucker born every minute! The young are easily seduced into silly and reckless causes. And there is something seductive to young men about going to war for what they think is a noble cause. As a study in western modern-day eco-propaganda, Whale Wars is interesting. But that's about it.
No scientist would justify Killing whales as "Good Science" and I completely disagree with you and LB about the dangers of extinction. It really makes me fear the future for a lot of species like these when I see more and more people with thier collective "head in the sand" about the environment. We have already seen the demise of several species and many more that are more or less extinct or teetering on the edge, I guess if there is enough for a zoo that is OK correct? Maybe we should start hunting Buffalo again, There numbers are back up into the thousands? I sure could use a nice buffalo jacket, I guess since my ancestors wore them that makes it OK!

Maybe I am older and more cynical but we are heading to an environmental shift/disaster/change the like of which has not been seen in some time, Just by shear population increase and our stupid lifestyles. I think we are currently putting in too little effort to late, So I will take any effort no matter what the form. Short of true enviromental terrorism.
I think whaling should be stopped but it does not justify what Captain Watson is doing. If you watch the show, the crew members has less commonsense than a regular person. They would risk human lives just so they can throw a few stink bombs at the whaling seriously? For example, if I am a PETA activist who is against killing animals for food and such. It does not give me the right to go to a slaughter house ans start throwing stink bombs at the people who work there... seriously. I think the crew members are just a bunch of overgrown teenagers who are trying to look for trouble while using the slogan of saving the whales as their reason for their actions.
I watch this show and my heart is rooting for Paul and his team and the whales.Since the japan killers,eating anything and everything are getting so mean and trying to physically hurting people,I think that we need more boats and people aboard to help fight these sick minded people,who need to have their brains tested in research to see whats wrong with their human side of compassion.Why can't the helacopter drop stink bombs and sorts into the ships?If they are going to hurt us ,why not shoot holes in their boats and let the whales have there day with these screwed up humans.I thought you were getting a new boat,is that true?Can you get ear plugs or protection gear to protect you from the loud machine LAD?Maybe figure out something that would redirect their sprayers back at them.Anyways I hope you are able to stop these people once and for all!!!!!
Hear Hear djh!!!!!!!!!!!

Sink the bastards!!! 6+ Billion Humans, near extinct whales. Just deserts
Damon, The Japanese whalers deserve to sink!
I too have seen most of these episodes lately, and agree that these people are not the best and brightest the world has to offer. I do not in any way support the needless hunting of any animal. That said, I do eat chicken, beef and pork, and someone's killing those animals too. From what I've read - the Japanese are studying the life cycles of these whales through dissection of organs etc, and are required by governing bodies to process and use all parts possible. Their culture is different from ours, and if whales are as big to them as beef or pork is for us, who am I to tell them to stop? And if they're studying these animals in hopes of preventing mass extinction, then aren't people like Paul Watson just slowing them down and putting the whales at greater risk of extinction?

And yeah...their efforts are nearly fruitless. They only raise awareness, and at a high cost. Sure makes good tv though...we always tune in to see just exactly how they're gonna screw up this time!
Paul Watson is going to get somebody killed, either a Japanese fisherman or one of those wide-eyed zealots that he calls a crew. And that will be the real tragedy. Dead people as a consequence of "Captain" Watson's monumental ego.
i think paul watson is the best captain in the world the way manouvers that ship around is awsome it takes more than skill to do what he does i would give anything to be on that ship to serve him and those poor whales if i had the money paul would have a bigger and faster ship all hats off to the sea sheppard captain and crew keep up the fight. dont give up! p/s sorry about the spelling
Does anybody know when the show starts agian?
if Watson is the best hope for the whales then they ares fecked
Who funds this crap? I'd really like to know who to boycott.
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