A honeybee and a killer whale walk into a bar … and nothing happens. Why? because honeybees and killer whales don’t attack humans under normal circumstances. And while I knew this about honeybees (having done extensive reading on beekeeping over the years in hope of someday managing my own hive), I didn’t know this about killer whales. Last week, however, proved to be a real eye-opener. A few days prior to Paul Dangel’s presentation on honeybees, I was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening for an upcoming documentary called Blackfish:
The film’s title is a translation of a Native American word for the creature. The film is scheduled to be released in the U.S. July 26 – so don’t worry, you didn’t miss it. But how did I score two tickets to an advanced screening? Surprisingly, it had nothing to do with my “other life” teaching critical writing and film.
People who know me know that I have a sweet spot in my heart for elephants. Some have even referred to my affection as an “obsession” (can’t a girl get a tattoo without being accused of being obsessed?). Because of my fondness for elephants, I do not support the use of animals in circuses. When I read that Ringling Brothers would be coming to Philadelphia in early 2013, I knew I had to do something. Even in an era when it seems like you can find anything via the internet, you can’t just Google “join circus protest” and find a sign-up sheet. But then I thought – anyone who believes that elephants do not belong in zoos must feel twice as strongly about elephants in circuses. Right?
See, back in 2006, the Philadelphia Zoo announced that it would be closing its elephant exhibit and sending its elephants elsewhere. This happened in part because one of the four elephants, Dulary, had been injured in a fight with another elephant. A group called Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants campaigned to have the elephants moved to a sanctuary. Dulary now resides at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. And while I “check in” on Dulary via the sanctuary’s newsletter and super-cool “Elecams,” I never forgot the fact that there were people here in Philadelphia dedicated to elephants. With this in mind, I began reading old news stories about the zoo protests, searching for the names of individuals or groups involved, emailing, “Um, hi, if you get this, and are protesting the circus, I want to join,” and hoping that someone was still monitoring websites years after the elephants left Philadelphia. To make a long digression short, it worked! So from my concern about elephants, I found a group of people passionately dedicated to animal welfare. Lab testing? Puppy mills? You name it, they’re on it. And it was from my connection to these kind folk that I was able to get a sneak peak at an amazing documentary.
Right about now you’re thinking, “What a tease! this post has nothing to do with honeybees or killer whales!” That’s right, it doesn’t. I’m writing about Blackfish for an online journal and don’t want to plagiarize myself in advance (does that even make sense?). So stay tuned for a link to that article – Kris and Josh, don’t worry, the pixel post is almost finished, I just haven’t shot a post-pixel photo – and Happy 4th of July!