So, I saw an episode of Whale Wars: Viking Shore last night. My dear lovely wonderful friend Rowan loves Whale Wars, and for the most part, I can get behind the concept. The Sea Shepherds fight Japanese poacher-whalers who are hunting endangered species of whales in a protected reserve illegally. Good deal. I can support that.
Viking Shore takes all of that, and applies it to a place that is almost the exact opposite. Here's the set up: the Faroe Islands, which are a principality of Denmark (itself a part of the United Nations), have a 1,000 year old tradition of whaling. Once a season, the migratory habits of the pilot whales take them to the Faroe Islands. There, the Faroese herd groups of them into various bays around the islands and kill them. For food, I should point out.
The Sea Shepherds take offense at that, and set out to bring their war to the Faroese, a small a chain of islands comprising maybe 48,500 people.
Sounds pretty good, right? Let's stop the evil terrible Faroese from slaughtering these innocent whales, who did nothing more than their usual migratory habits.
EXCEPT. (These, by the way, are all points that were talked about in the episode that I saw last night)
1. It's in Faroese waters, not international waters.
2. Pilot whales are not an endangered species.
3. It's not illegal.
4. The Faroese kill the whales strictly for food. Whale meat/blubber is, in fact, their main food source.
5. It's a cultural tradition that has gone back a thousand years.
Putting aside the fact that the Sea Shepherds all come across as asshole dickish douchebags, what they are doing is
1. None of their business.
3. At least to my mind, could be considered an international incident
4. Extremely intolerant
And even that I'd be willing to let slide, until they went and did something that was so completely rude, offensive, unnecessary, and inexcusable, that they have earned my contempt and enmity, regardless of how much actual good work they do.
See, the Faroe Islands have a a day of celebration every year called St. Olaf's Day. As far as I understand it, it's like a Scandanavian St. Patrick's Day. When these assholes got word of that, they loaded up a van, stuck a bunch of pictures of dead whales on the side of it, and drove it straight into the middle of the outdoor celebration.
Now, St Olaf's Day has NOTHING to do with the whales. It has nothing to do with whaling. But these assholes drove straight into the middle of it, and started making a big stink.
At first, the Faroese ignored them. They just walked by and didn't do or say anything. It was a completely peaceful ignoring of their van and photographs.
So the assholes got out of their van, and started confronting people directly. People who did nothing to them, who didn't pick a fight, who were, in fact, ignoring them. They walked up to them, got right up in their face. Look at your dead whales, your stupid savages, they might as well have been saying (it was all there in subtext anyway), you kill these poor innocent whales so you can feed your families. How dare you. When that didn't get enough of a response, they put speakers up on top of their van and started playing recordings of whale songs and vocalizations.
How dare they, Sea Shepherds? How dare YOU, I say. How DARE you drag your sorry asses into the middle of their completely peaceful celebration, which has nothing to do with the reason you're there, and pick a fight? How DARE you sit there in your van, with your smarmy asshole holier than thou attitude and decry these people for doing what they need to to survive? Once, maybe twice a year, they kill a group of whales (which are not endangered, and which it is perfectly legal to do, in their own country's waters) FOR FOOD, because that's what they live on.
It is EXACTLY the same as us asshole Americans who raise cattle and chickens and pigs SPECIFICALLY so we can have beef and chicken and pork. It is the SAME THING. There is NO DIFFERENCE. And if some coalition from Scandinavia and Russia and China came over here, and started interfering with our cattle raising, and then barged in on St Patrick's Day making a big deal about it, we'd all raise a fuss and beat the hell out of them, because that's the kind of assholes we are.
AND YOU ASSHOLES ARE DOING THE EXACT SAME THING. Do you not realize how stupid and intolerant and unnecessary it is? You make it out to be a big horrible thing, but it's not. Sure, you can talk about Oh, they kill so many whales the water RUNS RED WITH BLOOD! Have you EVER been inside a slaughterhouse where the cows that make your hamburgers and steaks, and the pigs that make your ham and your oh so precious bacon are killed? And the slaughterhouses operate ALL YEAR ROUND. The Faroe Islands harvest whale once, maybe twice a year, and that feeds everyone all year.
And WHERE THE HELL do you get off barging in on their celebration being pretentious douchebags and telling them off for doing everything differently then how you'd like it? Would you go to France on Bastille Day and scream at everyone for the senseless slaughter of frogs for their frog legs and snails for their escargot?
HOW DARE YOU refer to it as their "horrible secret"? It's no secret. Everyone knows about it. They've made no attempt to hide it, and for a thousand years, no one cared or bothered them, until YOU ASSHOLES came along and started FiretrUCKING with them, because it wasn't a thing. They weren't endangering the species, they weren't taking more than they needed, and they weren't doing it just for the hell of it.
They had a whole segment on the show about a guy from the Faroe Islands who was talking about how important it is to their culture and survival. He spoke about it in a reverential and respectful manner. It's not like they're killing them for sport, or for fun, or to gain manhood. It's FOOD. He spoke of them respectfully, and wasn't all redneck idiot "Yeah, I killed me a four hundred pounder all by myself. That's his flippers up on the wall there, a-hyuck."
In short, FiretrUCK you, Sea Shepherds and your pretentious douchebag asshole dickery. I can appreciate and support your fighting the Japanese who are doing it illegally in protected International Waters, but when your philosophy is "[My idea of] Justice over [Your country's] Law," barge into someone else's homeland, and tell them that the way they've always taken care of themselves and their families is wrong simply because you disagree with them (and even though your respective countries do the exact same thing, but with different animals), you're an asshole, and you get no respect from me.