The Japanese Are Killing Whales!
Where the idea to deal with the issue of whaling came from I’m not sure at all. But hey, it’s South Park. I guess it was the opportunity to paint Captain Paul Watson as a total worthless piece of shit. By the looks of things, he is, but hey, 19 times out of 20 I believe South Park so maybe I’m not the best judge (though I’ve got a feeling…).
So the episode begins with the Japanese massacring whales and dolphins at aquariums all over America, including, I have to mention, the incredible aquarium in my home town, the Georgia Aquarium. And the Japanese killed the Baluga Whales. NOOO! The Japanese hate dolphins so much that they even kill the Miami Dolphins!
Somebody tweeted, “no wildcat offense – damn you Japanese!” That was pretty funny.
What Stan Wants to Do About It
Incensed at the violence against whales, Stan tries to encourage his friends to do something. They’re all playing Rock Band (or Guitar Hero – I can’t tell the difference), and Cartman is singing Poker Face by Lady Gaga. Cartman’s response to Stan’s request is, “I’m not too busy. I just don’t give a shit – AT ALL.”
In order to save the whales from the Japanese, Stan joins the show Whale Wars, a show led by Captain Paul Watson, who South Park makes clear is an enormous and worthless, lying piece of shit. I love it when Matt and Trey go off on somebody through the show and just rip them a new asshole. This episode did an amazing job of that, even showing a real picture of Captain Paul Watson in the process (and a second one with “turd” spraypainted across his face).
Totally annoyed that Paul Watson is a liar with horrible ideas about how to prevent whaling, Stan takes matters into his own hands and blows up the Japanese whaling ship. After the very bloody death of Paul Watson (this episode has an unusually high amount of gratuitous violence, even for South Park), Stan takes over as Captain of Whale Wars, and as his efforts prove increasingly successful and his fame grows, magazines announce many hilarious things, including telling us that Stan “turns vegan pussies into actual pirates.”
On Larry King, Stan realizes that everybody is conflating his success with Whale Wars as being about the show’s rating and not saving the whales. As people say that it’s wrong to skirt the usual process of making a show (i.e. you can’t be a renegade and do things your own way but have to go through producers and scripting and directing, etc.), Stan just goes away to save the whales. I think that was South Park‘s dig at the protective nature of the television industry.
What the Whaling is Really About
After Cartman and Kenny join Stan’s Whale Wars in order to be on his now successful television show, the Japanese start Kamikaze bombing the whales and Stan’s boat. With the Japanese victorious, the boys end up in Japanese prison. Cartman starts playing a harmonica in the fashion of black slave songs and singing about his Japanese-imprisoned balls.
The Japanese president visits the three boys and takes them to Hiroshima and to the museum there. He explains that the Japanese have never recovered from the bombing of Hiroshima. The president then goes on to explain that it was a dolphin and a whale who bombed the Japanese in World War II, something they know because the Americans graciously gave them a picture of the plane that dropped the bomb – it was flown by a whale and a dolphin.
In order to deflect responsibility from the whale and dolphin, Stan provides the Japanese with a new picture that shows a cow and a chicken bombing Japan. As a result, the Japanese then begin viciously murdering cows and chickens.
Stan’s dad says, Good. Now they’re just like us.
Why This is Awesome
The Japanese don’t go whaling to be evil and murder dolphins and whales. They do it because they like to eat them – and they always have. We prefer cows and chickens and treat these animals horribly in order to eat what we like to eat. Though we’re not murdering them in the wild, we’re providing them with excruciating living conditions and a miserable existence.
Why? Because we like to eat them.
The Japanese kills whales in order to eat them, yet we consider whales a special and more sentient creature and get offended at the very idea. It’s our misplaced sense of cultural superiority that tells us that killing the animals we’ve decided to kill and eat is more acceptable than those that another culture prefers.
Some people are so caught up with the idea that we should “save the whales” and that whaling is evil (encapsulated by the show Whale Wars and its captain, Paul Watson), that we rarely stop to be introspective about our own animal-related decisions (and for the record I’m not a vegetarian nor a member of PETA or some other related fanatic). I just think that our sense of priorities can be misplaced. This doesn’t mean I think we should go whaling. I think that we should seek to treat all animals that we choose to eat in an ethical way and make sure that whatever we do to them is sustainable.
Best Episode of the Season
So far, I think this was the best episode of the season (by that I mean this half of the 13th season). It was outrageous, nailed a number of issues, some of which I’d never thoroughly considered (i.e. it made me think), and it brought things to my attention (like Whale Wars) that are totally stupid. At that, it was really funny and quite consistently so, unlike some other episodes whose jokes are farther between due to the need to move the plot and deal with a serious issue.
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