Topic: "Call Me Ishmael" (3)
Frodo has posed a rhetorical question. He wants to know that if he asked everyone who ever reads these words, approximately how many whales they have seen, in the wild, during their lifetimes, what would be the total? Frodo is trying to quantify a figure. It is not as if he were asking about Sumatran Howler Monkeys or Kudu; animals known to be geographically confined or bordering on extinction. Although whales must rise out of their elemental existence to be seen, they do exist in every ocean of the world, and they must breathe air. So how many would we be talking about?
The "Nisshin Maru Research," a Japanese whaling ship, returned to port yesterday from Antarctica, with a catch of 508 dead whales.
508. A fire on-board the ship forced its' early return to port and prevented the crew of 149 from obtaining its' "authorized" kill of 860.
The meat will be sold for human consumption.
Frodo wonders exactly which humans to whom the Japanese will be selling the food? Surely, the reference cannot be that the meat is to be sold for Japanese consumption, for that would lead to the rhetorical answer that the Japanese are human.
508. Frodo believes, in his heart, that in the scores of his existence he does not know enough people to produce a grand total of as many as 508 whales seen by all of their eyes over the extent of all their lives combined. That is a staggering realization to the Hobbit. One Japanese ship, whose hunt was cut short, killed more whales in one hunt than Frodo and all the Citizens of Middle Earth known to him, have ever even seen.
Tree-hugging aside, it is hard not to gain a new respect for the warriors of Greenpeace. An organization called "Sea Shepherd," infuriated by the whaling, launched smoke canisters filled with chemicals and dropped ropes into the water hoping to entangle the propellors of the "Nisshin Maru Research." The Japanese argued back that the mission of the ship was to study data on whale populations and feeding habits for the International Whaling Commission. No mention was made that the proceeds of the meat sale would therefore be donated to that or any other "scientific" organization. Frodo is sure that must just be an oversight.
That word "dominion" just keeps coming up, doesn't it?
508. Frodo needs to take a walk.