Sentimental Friday, February 19, 2021
The question is not “Can they reason?” nor “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?” - Jeremy Bentham.

Alone, the female orca, also known as a killer whale, circles her small, shallow tank stopping only to surface and open her mouth as trainers drop in dead fish. She thinks of a time when she shared her tank with her children. But they are long gone – all five having died in captivity by the age of seven. And she remembers her mother, from whom she was taken at the age of three, in waters off Iceland, to be put on display at an amusement park. When a trainer provides a hoop or a ball, she might listlessly move it around for a few times before giving up. Her worn, flattened teeth are a result of years of gnawing on concrete sections of her tank out of frustration. This has been her life in a marine park on the east coast of North America for the past 38 of her 41 years. Although it has been years since she and her family swam together, if you play the calls of her pod to her, she cries out, trying to make a connection across the void. She had an orca companion, but he perished in 1980 when he bashed his head into the side of the tank repeatedly until he died of a brain aneurysm. - Lori Marino / Aeon

“Sentimentalist” is the abuse with which people counter the accusation that they are cruel, thereby implying that to be sentimental is worse than to be cruel, which it isn’t. Whenever people say, “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it. - Brigid Brophy
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