Another animal story - the Whale in the Thames

My dear, I didn’t suggest that we ‘care’ (consciously that is) about humanity. I suggested that our desire to rescue the whale comes from our humanity. Our inherent humanity, that part of us that isn’t thinking and plotting and brooding. The part of us that simply acts when another sentient being is in trouble. Seems obvious to me. I don’t know why people don’t give to children’s charities, perhaps because they’re thinking and plotting and brooding over something far less human.



There is nothing to say that we can’t be compassionate about the distress of any living creature, and our interest in the whale story shows that. But to intervene, to attempt to ‘save’ the whale, is to show that we really don’t understand nature. Why the whale was in the estuary is at best a guess. Confused and lost? Possibly. Attempting to beach itself and die? It’s been known to happen all over the world. All sorts of theories abound, but no one knows why.

So yes, feel compassion, but to interfere with the nature of the whale suggests that we ‘know’ what we don’t know.

Again, my less-than-compassionate comments were directed at the media, not the whale nor to those who would show compassion.



I was in fact challenging your comments about the media. I believe you haven’t risen.


Hello F(r)iends,

It’s a whale for fucks sake!
£100,000.00 that could have gone to the massacred Iraquis…
£100,000.00 that could have fed tens of thousands in Africa.
£100,000.00 that could have gone towards cancer research.
£100,000.00 that could have gone towards helping the homeless.

Or if we must save animals, that fucking whale could have been made into a nice frappe to feed thousands of starving stray cats…


LA, You challenge my comments about the media? OK.

You see the media as compassionate? I have to assume that is your position. The sweet good-hearted media following and announcing the plight of the poor little whale.

Excuse my cynicism, but the media could care less about the whale. They care about their market share and how many advertising dollars can be generated by their ‘coverage’. BBC support? It’s about another ‘feel good’ story. The newspapers are there to sell newspapers. That all of the feel good issues are there doesn’t mask the making a buck mentality of the media.

Sorry about the whale.


Jees JT, you sure are projecting here! (Just to rile you a bit more :smiley: ).

I did not say that the media is compassionate. I said that the media was reporting the news. I said that a whale in the Thames is news. End of story.


What the fuck does “compassion” have to do with finding a story about a whale boring?

At the most the response from T was cynical, but then again being cynical about the local news broadcasting standards is simply a rational response.

Because many whales were nearly driven to extinction. Poor critter. Love critters, even had a pet tarantula once, the nonpoisonous Calif. kind. God, I drove mum nuts :evilfun: hystrics a few times too.

Me too. I love spiders. (Remember that dude here that thought spiders had cameras in them…what was his name again? He should get up with that guy who thinks he Jesus. Now that conversation would be interesting)

When I was a youngen, I used to catch different species of spiders and put them in a home-made terrarium, made out of one of those extremly large pickle jars. The experiment, of course, was to determine which was the stronger species. Believe it or not, the jumping spiders usually won. He beat the black widows and the brown recluses, no problem. The garden spiders and wolf spiders usually refused to play, but every so often the wolf spider would get involved and kill them all. His size, of course, is what brought him victory.

I remember my tarantula as if I had him yesterday. He was very laid back and he loved to be petted. He was fragile though, and one fall could mean certain death for him.

Oh, and this one time I stole a baby red-tail boa from the pet store. I kept him for years until one of my doofus friends forgot to close his mansion door (I had the most awesome cage for him…it was huge…had tree branches and shit in it…a little pond, etc., etc.) Well, I moved out of that house the following summer and that next winter my x-room-mate told me that he found the snake in the heat duct. The snake had spent the summer underneath the house and went to hibernate in the duct for the winter. Smart fella, that snake.

I totally agree. Compassion is great, but I like to mix in a little bit of thinking too. I feel free to pick and choose for whom or for what I will have compassion based on the short and long-term effects, and LA, I don’t feel this is any less “human” than knee-jerk compassion for all living things.

I wonder why you disassociate thinking from humanity, when it is in fact humanity’s most distinctive trait (as opposed to compassion, which Rousseau pointed out that even horses have).

Hi detrop,

Was never big on spiders except the tarantulas, they are laid back and do like to be petted, and yes must be careful. Sucker use to run around in front of the telly while we watched the tube, would crawl up on my shoulder and head. LOL, funny critter. I had to turn it loose when I left ding dong as I was on the run.

The Whale has now been named ‘Wally’ (the Whale) and a discussion has been started as to what we should do with the carcass.

LOL… mummify his ass, paint him pink and install a flashing strobe light on the top of his head… stand him at the mouth of the thames with a big sign that reads: “HEY!! DON’T BE A DUMBASS WHALE!! TURN AROUND NOW!!”


edit: Rhodes had its Colossus, new york has lady liberty… “jolly old” should have something as well…


Thanks a whole bunch for starting this. :unamused:


Some perspective: A whale in the Thames estuary is an interesting happening. Whale and dolphin beachings that occur somewhere in the world almost daily is also interesting. As a compassionate human, I am saddened by the loss of life within any species. But since I have no way of knowing the cause of animals appearing where they aren’t known to appear, I rely on natural order - even though I can’t explain it. The whale did what he was supposed to do.

Back to siatd’s question: why is this considered news given other news stories that would seem a bit more critical to the human condition? (I think that was the implication) The answer: What is “news” is whatever the media decides is news. Had there been any news story that would sell more airtime or more newspapers, the story about the whale in the Thames would have received zero airtime, and wouldn’t have made page 7 in the newspapers.

My ascerbic and cynical comments were directed to the question and had absolutely nothing to do with compassion for whales, spiders, snakes or the human ability to empathize with another species.

To recap: A whale in the Thames is not news unless the media says it is news. The media doesn’t report the “news”, they create it. Had some buxom movie starlet lost a should strap and exposed her ‘assets’, the pic would be front page in every newspaper. :smiley: That would be… reporting the news. If it happened the same day the whale swam into the Thames, the news about the whale would lose out to the ‘assets’ story.

Oh, and I would definitely feel compassion for the embarrassment of the poor starlet. :wink:


Yes JT.

Only, interest in the starlet would wane within the hour. We have page 3 to thank for that.



Wane within the hour? :astonished: Not so! I’m sure I would retain all pics obtainable for further study just to make sure I didn’t miss any of the “news”. :laughing:



It is clear that you live in Idaho dear. :sunglasses:


I am not responsible for other people hijacking the thread. At least no one has mentioned the Nazis yet…

edit - now we see the media organ(s) shifting the terms carefully, adopting an autocritical voice regarding a story they themselves ‘created’. The BBC news frontpage is currently running a link called:
World’s agog
Can conservationists capitalise on people’s interest in whales?

The story is here:

Of course by ‘people’s interest’ they mean ‘the creamstorm that we’ve whipped up’. I’m surprised that the media did this today, though to be fair I suppose they’ve had most of the weekend to think of such autocritical angles. Had the whale turned up on a monday then the story probably would have run all week and the media organ(s) probably wouldn’t have relaced into such a voice until the weekend. I’m still not sure what will happen to it - we’ve already got one hung from the ceiling in the Natural History museum…

I don’t think that painting it pink and using it as a deterrant to other whales will achieve very much. Maybe an artist can find some use for it.

I did once see the Dingle Dolphin…


I appreciate your humor, but the interest in ‘assets’ isn’t exactly an Idaho phenomenom - unless you’re suggesting that Idaho is a mirror of most of western society. Sex sells, LA. In Idaho, London, and Joberg. The media seems to understand that, and we buy it in staggering quantities.

Actually I was just joking. I much prefer looking at pics of inspiring landscapes… :^o


siatd observes:

Oh sure, open up that can of worms…

hmmmm, do you suppose they would have generated a news story about a whale swimmimg into a sub pen? :stuck_out_tongue: