Whale Whores: A Counter-Point to Whale Wars and The World of Publicized Protesting~ Soren Royer-McHugh

The most important thing to remember about South Park is that the writers, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are advocates for rational, moderate views. Their sole political goal is to attack extremists on both sides of an argument, evening the playing field. While the initial premise of “Whale Whores” seems to put all the blame on the ineffectual protest tactics of groups like Paul Watson’s Sea Shepard Conservation Society, the creators of South Park clearly feel an affinity for the protestor’s cause.

The first moment in the episode to show their sympathy is the opening sequence. The opening montage depicts Japanese caricatures brutally slaughtering dolphins and whales in US water parks. The sequence reaches it’s darkly humorous climax when the Japanese slaughter the Miami Dolphins football team just because they have the word “dolphin” in their title. The gory killings are funny because they are absurd and over the top, but it’s clear that the unnecessary amount of violence in the episode is there to point out how horrible and violent the dolphin and whale slaughters actually are. The following moments where Stan goes over his photos with the dolphins, all of them gory corpses, only provides more evidence for Parker and Stone’s sympathy, even if the scene is played for laughs.

The ending twist of the episode, that the Japanese believe dolphins and whales were responsible for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, is so ridiculous that it almost provides a disservice to the issue of dolphin and whale killing. In the last few minutes of the episode however, the show flips the table on Americans. Stan gives Emperor Akihito a photo of Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, piloted by a chicken and a cow. After, the Japanese start slaughtering chickens and cows instead of dolphins and whales; Stan’s dad says he is proud of his son for making the Japanese, “normal.”

Though the episode ends too quickly to clarify Randy Marsh’s final statement, a number of possible meanings would fit with South Park’s adamant stance on playing the devil’s advocate. The creators are clearly comparing the mass slaughter of sea creatures to the killing live stock in America, but to what degree? They could be advocating for better treatment of cows and chickens, similar to the fight for the dolphins and whales. As with the case of most South Park episodes, they could be telling people to generally calm down about the killing of animals, calling the Americans who fight for dolphins hypocrites for eating cows and chickens. One could even believe that they are implying killing dolphins and whales is not so bad, as long as they are being used to feed and help humans like cows and chickens do. What can only be certain is Parker and Stone are not siding with Randy’s statement; they use his character sarcastically.

This ambiguity is the epitome of South Park’s purpose in the political realm. It is meant only to spark conversation, and to rule out extremists. Paul Watson’s reaction to the episode was positive; he was glad that the episode raised awareness to a demographic who might not be familiar with his cause. The fact that the show chose to satirize Watson and reality shows in general is actually a great way to instill in people that getting a high ratings is not the same as getting things done. By calling everyone hypocrites, they are providing an example of how not to go about changing the world for the better. The hope is that someone could take that message in stride and continue protesting and preserving the wild-life with a more scrupulous eye.

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