The Cove

19 Mar

When The Cove won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film, the first thing I thought of when I heard the title was the grimy bar at our school.  The issues of this film are far from college drinking habits.  The documentary follows the investigatory grit of Ric O’Barry and his crew in Taiji, Japan who are exposing “the slaughter of more than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises off the coast of Japan every year, and how their meat, containing toxic levels of mercury, is being sold as food in Japan and other parts of Asia, often labeled as whale meat” (

As a child, my father had us subscribed to Dolphin Log and Calpyso Log — two magazines started by the Jacques Cousteau Society that I devoured.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of Jacques Cousteau’s birth — I can only imagine what he would have to say about the atrocities in Japan.  I used to cry when bugs hit the windshield as we drove in the car, making any trip a tragedy for me.  My most vivid and earliest nightmare was of a circus stealing and harming elephants.  These early sensitivities have waned over the years but have been re-enflamed by this documentary and images such as this:

While I watched the ongoing investigation unfold, I started to piece together a few things:

1.  Aptly named L.A. trendy sushi spot, The Hump, had been illegally serving Sei Whale — an endangered species.  They said they were sorry.

2.  Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations was in Panama — shiny new fish market paid for by Japan (Mercado de Mariscos) , “a favor you later have to cash in” as Tony’s local fixer puts it (3:10-3:30).

The images are crippling, the cover-ups appalling and the continuance of a joint government and business practice are disgraceful.  At the very least I urge you to watch this documentary from start to finish but if time is of the essence watch from the 6:59 mark onwards.

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