23 February 2008

Hibernation thoughts

Alunfoto has temporarily gone into mental hibernation.
This state has been forced upon yours truly by the necessities of being a father during school holidays spent visiting theme parks in a certain peninsula state of the U.S. of A.

One of the themes on the park agenda was SeaWorld. In case you don't what that is, I can tell you it's all about whales and dolphins, and entertainment. Mostly in combination.

Oh, and the Kraken, of course.

But I'll get back to that. It was the experience with Shamu that stirred me out of hibernation and into reflection for long enough to write this post. Shamu is the stage name for all of the killer whales performing at the "Believe" show at SeaWorld. It was a marvelous show. The multimedia, the whale tricks, the circus acrobatics of the "trainers", the stage, everything was carefully pieced together to bring about an "experience" of mostly religious nature. At times, I felt the only thing missing from the show was a couple of hallelujahs and praise-the-lords.

To me, this brought a sad feeling rather than spiritual uplifting. Perhaps because one of the killer whales had a bent dorsal fin, much like the one that Keiko had. Keiko died from pneumonia on the Norwegian coast, lonely and seeking human attention. He had failed to integrate into any natural killer whale group, and thereby demonstrating the futility of releasing captive animals into the wild and "believe" that everything will be all right.

Another thing is the concept of using invitation to belief to stimulate respect for wild creatures in a show with captive animals. It just screams of inconsistency. Well, that's a common feature with other religiously motivated shows but in this case the contradictions slaps the viewer in the face. In a way most aptly described by Douglas Adams as by "a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick".

What has faith got to do with respect for Nature, climate, habitats or wildlife anyway, whether it's whales in particular or by a broader perspective? I think that mingling of concepts is what brought a lump to my throat today. Wildlife conservation will do much better with people honing scientific thinking than with a bunch of fanatic "believers" having romantic dreams about swimming with tame whales for show all day.

Then back to Kraken. It's a rollercoaster, in case you didn't know. Most members of my family are very, very, skeptic to rollercoasters, all except my 11 year old son. He took the ride, and even suffered himself through the longest queue to get a seat in the first row of the coaster train. After the ride he was high on adrenalin rush for half an hour! How's that for putting Alunfoto firmly back into fatherly hibernation for the rest of the holidays, eh? Fatherly pride is certainly soothing...

I feel there ought to be some pics accompanying this post, but my laptop for the holidays don't have such luxury as imaging processing software.

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