Friday, February 09, 2007

A squeeze of the hand

With a nod to an old Slate feature, we hereby present that notorious tour de force of self-love, the New Times Village Voice Media epic about the gray whale, all 436 parts, as autosummarized by Microsoft Word:

The median was 400 bullets per whale. Formed to subdue the rapacious commercial whaling industry, the International Whaling Commission in 1986 imposed a moratorium on whale hunting. Gray whales are bottom feeders. Last year, more than 300 gray whales washed up dead. In 1997, 1,520 gray whales were observed in birthing lagoons.

Whales are highly evolved mammals. Hunting whales is what gives us pride. Without the gray whale, these people will die. Aridjis calls the gray whale "an icon for democracy."

The whale, after all, remains but a whale.

There's 100 Western Pacific gray whales. Photographing the whales is relatively straightforward. Gray whales tend to calf every other year. There are very few gray whales.

The gray whales were easy targets. Seventy years would pass before the gray whales could recover from the devastation of commercial whaling.

The Makah wanted to hunt whales again.

"Let's go whaling."

Several gray whales were in the area. The whaling canoe began tracking a 30-foot whale that appeared to be feeding. The whale was stunned.

"It's not his whale. It's my whale."

The whales appeared normal. We must eat whales. Five whales require less strict rationing. Dead whales became dinner-table conversation.

Unless the victims are whales. For years it was whales, whales, whales.

(Ferociously anti-whaling Mexico banned whaling in the 1960s.)

Whale watching has led the way.

Whale watching trips. Only the whales.

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