Friday, February 26, 2010

Life? Art?

Hi, guys! Sad news today.

I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life."

The last two days have been yet another example of the truth of Wilde's observation.

Yesterday morning, at Sea World Orlando, the killer whale, Tilikum, dragged veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau to her death by playfully biting and drowning her while a horrified crowd watched, both from poolside and from the underwater observation windows.

You all know that I playfully argue that "whales are not our friends," yet here is evidence that
huge mammals, even well-trained ones, are animals first and performers second.

Today, the Sea World CEO, Jim Atchison, announced that the show must go on, and Tilikum would remain part of the cast. Sea World will open again for whale shows tomorrow.

Ms. Brancheau's funeral is scheduled for Sunday and Monday in her hometown of Chicago with a memorial service to be conducted at Sea World in the future... Yet Sea World will open again for business tomorrow.

Mr. Atchison's press conference was difficult to watch, because all of it seemed to be a huge Sea World advertisement— a celebration of the art of training animals— rather than a period of reflective mourning for the loss of Ms. Brancheau.

At the same time yesterday, several hundred miles north, President Obama hosted a "healthcare summit" at Blair House.

Some forty legislators sat for 7 1/2 hours trading thoughtful and not so thoughtful opinions on the healthcare situation in America, looking at the 2700+ page Senate bill and the eleven page Presidential surprise package released on Monday.

The Dems primary comments centered on "Look how close we are on this. We're arguing about minor details between the 49 yard lines. A minor adjustment or two and we're done!"

The GOP attendees didn't see things that way. They saw the public disapproval, the Tea Parties, the angry townhall meetings and the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts as pretty clear evidence that Americans have been paying attention to this debate and they don't like the idea of turning more of our healthcare system over to the government.

At its conclusion, President Obama made remarks he could have taken directly from Sea World CEO Atchison. The House and Senate must get this done, the 2700+ pages of the script must be used, the public polls be damned, the show must go on. A huge Obamacare commercial for the art of political sausage-making, not a period of reflection on what may be the problem with this plan.

Life imitates art far more than art imitates life. And in both in the case of the Sea World tragedy and the healthcare summit travesty, we are the losers. My condolences to the family of Ms. Brancheau and my condolences to all of you.


The Dragonfly said...

I do not understand why this whale who already has two other human deaths surrounding it, isn't being retired or put down.

I don't understand why this bill isn't being retired or put down either.

Apis Melliflora said...

Very trenchant observations!

Sea World: booooooooooo.

Health Care plan: boo hoo.

Question is: are whales going to replace polar bears as your new animal totem?

Kernal Ken said...

My dictionary says a totem is "a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem."

So, in that regard, neither polar bears nor whales will ever qualify as my "totem."

I think both of them are killers and should not be toyed with by humans. There is evidence...

If I were to have a totem, it would probably be the panda bear. To my knowledge, they are content to eat bamboo and not people. Or perhaps the gecko.
They can talk and sell insurance.

Unknown said...

I vote for the green, talking gecko.

Apis Melliflora said...

Thanks for the totem definition, I should have written "animal enemy #1" or "malicious mascot" or "meanest man eating mammal alive." =-)