Skip to main content

A masterpiece of propaganda! The Cove

I watched The Cove at the Cine Adarna theatre of the University of the Philippines on September 3. It was a free screening sponsored by Earth Island Institute.  The cinema was packed by environmentalists and advocates of keeping dolphins and other whales out of captivity.

However, I had to ditch my environmentalist mode so I can watch the film more objectively and I had to see it with  my ASIAN AND THIRD WORLD EYES! My assessment is that the documentary was well made but MISERABLY FAILS on  cultural and historical sensitivity. And so it can easily be criticized as an ENVIROIMPERIALIST attempt to trump down Japanese culture.

First of all the film shows an all WHITE crew of environmentalists trying to save the dolphins. I do not see any problem with saving cetaceans and many Japanese do so too, but a balanced treatment would have been better if a historical aspect was introduced. Wholesale whale slaughter was first made an efficient industry by who else, White European nations  and the Americans in the 19th century! The Europeans and Americans wanted to push aside the Japanese in the late 19th century and early 20th century in the whaling bonanza by restricting Japanese access to whaling grounds. And it was not just limited to whaling. The European powers and America tried to push aside an emerging  industrial Japan. This is one of the prime causes of World War II.

The film has its plusses like telling about the politics in the International Whaling Commission. And in just like any world body, those with the cash can practice "checkbook diplomacy". Japan is a country prohibited by its constitution in pursuing military means to advance its interests, so the resort to the checkbook. Nonetheless all the delegates who support Japan's position shown in the film appear to have AFRICAN heritage. In other words BLACK. The Japanese are by sleight of camera, portrayed stereotypically. It was just like watching the newsreels of the "Nips" in World War II!

Critics have called "The Cove" as pure propaganda. I agree. It is a film that would have sent Dr Goebbles to an envious rage as what "Gone in the Wind" did to him.

One scene is so reminiscent of a Goebbles and Fritz Hippler masterpiece. You see Japanese eating sushi in a sushi bar with swimming goldfish!

There is a big issue on mercury in whale meat. The film says that most of the Hg came from the burning of fossil fuels. Now which country burns the most in fossil fuels and thus send Hg into the atmosphere? Answer: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This was conveniently left out.

The Cove is a 21st morality tale. We have a woman weeping for an injured dolphin, but as one Japanese rightly pointed out, would she weep for the slaughter of a cow  fed on corn that could have fed 100 starving people? The American activists in film accuse the Japanese of not knowing what is happening in Taiji. But I ask as a Third World citizen, does the average American know exactly how a cow is turned into steak?" Does the average American know how wasteful in terms of food he/she is? The principle of moral equivalence is the question here and the Americans have no monopoly on that!

The question is whether there is a need to kill dolphins and whales or show them in theme park. Is there any good existing reason to do so? This is akin to asking whether there is a need for the death penalty in the 21st century. Well on this note, Japan and the USA are one. These are the two major democracies left on earth that still send people to the executioner!

Japan is a democracy and even unpalatable films can be shown unlike in Germany. The Cove was screened in major Japanese cities without much incident. If a film on Americans supporting  9/11 was ever shown in the US, would this result in no incident?

The Japanese may be forced into a hardline position. One Japanese said he will eat whale meat as a sign of protest. The Japanese gentleman also said that this movie will only benefit the careers of the film makers.

I never applauded "The Cove" at the end of the screening as many in the cinema did. To have done so is like applauding Dr Joseph Goebbles for his work. I find the whole idea of applauding extremely distasteful and horrible.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.