Clam Eating Salt On Table
July 10, 2012 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Clam Eating Salt On Table [YouTube]
posted by Burhanistan (149 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
(Yes, it's probably just trying to find a way to dig itself in.)
posted by Burhanistan at 6:48 AM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


*pushes aside breakfast of clam flakes
posted by saturday_morning at 6:50 AM on July 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


Creepy!
posted by Maisie at 6:50 AM on July 10, 2012


Cruel anthropomorphism, but hard to disagree with this comment:
You live a wasted life if you don't glue some googly eyes to this thing and film it again.
posted by furtive at 6:51 AM on July 10, 2012 [71 favorites]


It's an ingredient that seasons itself! A stunning development in quahog technology.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:51 AM on July 10, 2012 [24 favorites]


And in the video description, some good all-purpose advice: "When something hard and erect is jutting out of the sand on the beach, people should not be pulling on it."

I can't even.
posted by ourobouros at 6:54 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Worst. Band name. Ever.
posted by bondcliff at 6:55 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how I thought clams did stuff, but this certainly wasn't it.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:56 AM on July 10, 2012 [60 favorites]


The ParryGripp lyrics write themselves.
posted by DU at 6:56 AM on July 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Dammit this totally breaks my guilty-carnivore's delusion that clams are basically plants.
posted by tempythethird at 6:56 AM on July 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is torture.
posted by crunchland at 6:57 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is one set of glued-on googly eyes away from perfection.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:58 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can see this being developed into a miniseries.
posted by Omon Ra at 6:58 AM on July 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


All you need to do now is train a plateful of them to slice garlic and hop into a hot pan with olive oil.
posted by chavenet at 6:59 AM on July 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


Man, that's freaky.
posted by schmod at 6:59 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have the overwhelming urge to blow my nose repeatedly.
posted by elizardbits at 7:00 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clams really don't have enough of a developed nervous system to experience pain or suffering - so no, it's not torture.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:02 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is torture! IT'S TORTURE TO SHOW US THAT WITHOUT ADDING GOOGLY EYES!
posted by oddman at 7:04 AM on July 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


You assume I meant that the clam was being tortured. I was talking about the viewers.
posted by crunchland at 7:04 AM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I had a clam in an aquarium for several years, and it was, easily, the most alien animal i've ever observed for any amount of time.

It's behavior wasn't just inexplicable, it was downright eerie at times.

But the weirdest thing: It knew when it was being observed. It never did anything when you were looking at it. If you came into the room, sometimes it would suddenly "twitch" and withdraw it's pseudopod (which i saw three times in two years, despite it moving itself around the aquarium almost daily). Was creepy.

Kept the water crystal clear though, and was basically totally maintenance free.
posted by dethb0y at 7:06 AM on July 10, 2012 [45 favorites]


Funnily enough, this morning I was reading this piece of writing on geoducks, this morning.

Sometimes, I feel like every single thing that happens is a miracle I can't even begin explain.
posted by gauche at 7:08 AM on July 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


That is so making youporn.com
posted by stormpooper at 7:11 AM on July 10, 2012


I can see this being developed into a miniseries.

The Annoying Orange meets that is not dead which can eternal lie.
posted by griphus at 7:12 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


a clam eating salt on a table
just doing whatever he's able
and it comes as no surprise
we wanna see googly eyes
but no googly eyes are affixed
perhaps, yeah, the idea was nixed
we're left with an unadorned clam
he am what he am what he am
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:14 AM on July 10, 2012 [26 favorites]


But...but... how does it know that the salt is there?? Does the little pleasure part in its brain think mmmm salt?

*mind blown*
posted by littlesq at 7:17 AM on July 10, 2012


If you're looking for surprisingly active bivalves, scallops swim. They use a similar motion to attack ten year olds at marine biology camp. Unfortunately, I do not have a video of the second behavior.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:17 AM on July 10, 2012 [19 favorites]


needs moar nom shlurp noises.
posted by scruss at 7:20 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


All you need to do now is train a plateful of them to slice garlic and hop into a hot pan with olive oil.

They used to sell turkeys called 'self-basting' but you don't see that any more.
posted by colie at 7:20 AM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


how does it know that the salt is there??

probably some dude told it
posted by Greg Nog at 7:21 AM on July 10, 2012 [19 favorites]


this shit ain't real
posted by mullacc at 7:23 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


NoooOOOO! Not eating! Dying! (That's its foot, it's trying to swim away. The salt is burning it - like it would a slug.)
posted by Jofus at 7:23 AM on July 10, 2012 [17 favorites]


If you're looking for surprisingly active bivalves, scallops ARE DELICIOUS
posted by shakespeherian at 7:24 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is what it was probably trying to do.
posted by elgilito at 7:24 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some comments from the youtube video:
that's not a tongue it's the clams's "foot"
and
It's not eating it you prick, it's dying from the lack of water and it's using it's tongue (that's how it moves) to push itself around until it finds water, when it's tongue hits the salt, it burns and that's why it retracts back. You're torturing it.
posted by andoatnp at 7:26 AM on July 10, 2012 [23 favorites]


Meh. Wake me when it dredges itself in batter and jumps into a deep fryer.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:26 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The salt is burning it - like it would a slug

Is that really the case? Don't clams and pretty much anything else that lives in or under the salty ocean have some protection from salt?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:29 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The salt is burning it - like it would a slug

I don't now anything about clams, but wouldn't a marine animal be reasonably tolerant to salt?
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:29 AM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


It probably says a lot about me and my Cape Cod upbringing that, after watching this, I am absolutely determined to walk down to the Kettle Ho and get stuffed quahogs for dinner.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:33 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the finest clam licking video I have ever seen.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:34 AM on July 10, 2012 [18 favorites]


I saw this video last night and it sent me on a fascinating trip through YouTube's offerings regarding the phylum mollusca. Such wondrous strange things.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:44 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The salt is burning it - like it would a slug.

Clams live in salt water.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:49 AM on July 10, 2012


Surely some MeFite has access to another clam, some salt, and googly eyes.

*crosses fingers and bookmarks thread*
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:49 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, we know Bondcliff has surplus googly eyes...
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:52 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Clams produce pseudofeces and scallops have 100 eyes.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:56 AM on July 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


This is the finest clam licking video I have ever seen.

You should brush up on your search-fu.
posted by DU at 7:57 AM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


OMG, It's Clamantha's new boyfriend!
posted by pupdog at 7:57 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clams live in salt water.

Clams live in salt water (3-4 percent salinity), not in a pile of salt (100 percent salinity) on a table (zero percent water).
posted by notyou at 7:57 AM on July 10, 2012 [35 favorites]


Clams produce pseudofeces and scallops have 100 eyes.

Scallop eyes are awesome. Actually the scallop that attacked me did so because I was poking it in the eyes.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:59 AM on July 10, 2012


They should give him a deck of cards, then he'd be Clam Casino.
posted by jonmc at 8:01 AM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Everyone needs to come see my new band Pseudofeces and the Hundred Eyes at Glasslands on Thursday. We're opening for Clamtongue.
posted by griphus at 8:01 AM on July 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


Dashing this idea a little harder against the rocks -- salinity in the Great Salt Lake ranges from 12-15 percent to as high as 28 percent in Gunnison Bay.

Brine shrimp are the only creatures other than plankton that can make a go of it there -- but only in the "fresher" areas of the lake (12-15 percent salinity). When washed into Gunnison Bay and its super salinity, which is much less than half that of the salt on the table, they die.

Just turn off the camera and eat the damn thing.
posted by notyou at 8:14 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


You think I’m the only one that’s gonna work up there while you motherfuckers sit out there and clam all over this fuckin’ joint!?

Everybody can hear your fuckin’ clams out there. You don’t need a mike for that. You’re takin’ up too much fuckin’ time blowin’ what? Shit!! You stand out here all night tryin’ to blow your fuckin’ brains out; when it comes time to play, what do you play? CLAMS!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:18 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


KEEP CLAM AND CARRY SALT
posted by MuffinMan at 8:27 AM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Saw this a couple of nights ago and, like others, was prompted to YouTube more about clams. Clams have a cerebral ganglion, a visceral ganglion, and a pedal ganglion.

Curious about the impact of salt on a living salt water critter, I looked up a bit about what's the deal with clams and salt. In short: Although hard clams can tolerate a wider salinity range than many marine mollusks, they cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to either high or low salinity.

And here with pictures [pdf]: 100ppt salt solution destroys cell membranes when applied directly to gill tissue. The clam surfaces to spit out the inhaled salt or to try to escape it, as the salt destroys its gills.

After feeling tenderly for that clam in the OP, sad about its predicament. I wanted to know more about a clam's 'interior life' and this was a thoughtful comment on the topic.

Among the different ways to catch clams, apparently salt is used in catching clams too.
posted by nickyskye at 8:43 AM on July 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


The salt definitely hurts it. Clams live in salt water, but there is a difference between the salinity of the ocean and pure salt – the clam's body is designed to run in saline water, but yeah, the salt has a similar effect on it as it would if you poured it on a slug.

Clams don't have very advanced nervous systems, and yeah it probably doesn't experience pain in the same way as we do, and yeah I imagine the person making the video cooked it alive and ate it shortly afterward. That doesn't mean that it's not also sort of distasteful to make a video of a creature repeatedly injuring itself in an attempt to stay alive (like a person drinking seawater after a week stranded in a lifeboat) and then put it on the internet as a funny video for people to laugh over.
posted by Scientist at 8:49 AM on July 10, 2012 [25 favorites]


This is animal torture porn.
posted by Ardiril at 8:59 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also sort of distasteful, or animal torture porn? YOU decide!
posted by goethean at 9:04 AM on July 10, 2012


Burhanistan: > The salt is burning it - like it would a slug

Is that really the case? Don't clams and pretty much anything else that lives in or under the salty ocean have some protection from salt?
"Some", yes. But salt is a poison, and will kill all but certain extremophiles at those concentrations.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:04 AM on July 10, 2012


This clam is going to have some high blood pressure.
posted by Kabanos at 9:04 AM on July 10, 2012


aw man, I was all happy about this until I read the entire thread. Damn you mefites and your tendency to learn things. I was so much happier in ignorance! Now I feel like I need to safeguard my own happiness by crusading against knowledge.

THAT'S IT! I'M BECOMING A REPUBLICAN!
posted by shmegegge at 9:10 AM on July 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


This is the finest clam licking video I have ever seen.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:34 AM on July 10 [5 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Epornhysterical!
posted by chavenet at 9:12 AM on July 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Some comments from the youtube video:
that's not a tongue it's the clams's "foot"
and
It's not eating it you prick, it's dying from the lack of water and it's using it's tongue (that's how it moves) to push itself around until it finds water, when it's tongue hits the salt, it burns and that's why it retracts back. You're torturing it.
Actually, the fascinating thing about those comments is that they are more informative than most of what I'm seeing in this thread.

YOUTUBE COMMENTS ARE SMARTER AND MORE INSIGHTFUL THAN METAFILTER.
posted by andoatnp at 9:12 AM on July 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


You people are pent up today.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ardiril: This is animal torture porn.

You sound very definitive in your classification, and I'm curious as to what makes you an authority on the matter?
posted by gman at 9:16 AM on July 10, 2012


"YOUTUBE COMMENTS ARE SMARTER AND MORE INSIGHTFUL THAN METAFILTER," says the commenter on metafilter, oddly unaware of the irony of his statement.
posted by elizardbits at 9:16 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn the video, I'm just here for the clam humor.
posted by the painkiller at 9:17 AM on July 10, 2012


CLAMS GOT LEG
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:21 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"what makes you an authority on the matter?" - Google.

Next on Metafilter: live kittens sitting in a bowl of sulfuric acid.
posted by Ardiril at 9:21 AM on July 10, 2012


I also agree with the Youtube commenter that this needs googly eyes.

Otherwise, that's really cool.
posted by bilabial at 9:28 AM on July 10, 2012


Well, they were alive a moment ago.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 AM on July 10, 2012


Ardiril: ""what makes you an authority on the matter?" - Google.

Next on Metafilter: live kittens sitting in a bowl of sulfuric acid.
"

But can we eat them after?
posted by klanawa at 9:34 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recommend sake.
posted by Ardiril at 9:34 AM on July 10, 2012


I was going to point out that the comments on YouTube were smarter than on here. But I didn't want to admit that I'd been reading them. I mean, there's wasting your life reading the comments on YouTube, and then there's wasting your life reading the comments on YouTube underneath a video of a clam tongue on a table.
posted by colie at 9:40 AM on July 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's an ingredient that seasons itself! A stunning development in quahog technology.

Modernist Cuisine Volume 3 has a recipe in which oysters are kept in a container of beet juice. They feed on it. After two days you can shuck them and they are stained blood red. And then you slurp that down.
posted by polymodus at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Modernist Cuisine Volume 3 has a recipe in which oysters are kept in a container of beet juice. They feed on it. After two days you can shuck them and they are stained blood red. And then you slurp that down.

When I lived in Italy, there was a semi-mythic dish talked about that was tripe (cow stomach lining) from a veal calf, cooked with the mother's milk still inside.
posted by colie at 9:54 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's an ingredient that seasons itself! A stunning development in quahog technology.

A properly made clams casino will be made from clams that have been kept in salt water mixed with bread crumbs.

And a little farther up the evolutionary tree, we find the ortolan. [trigger alert: Jeremy Clarkson]
posted by the painkiller at 10:10 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am hoping next we can get a video of a duck dancing on a hot plate, because dancing birds are funny and also duck is tasty, so it is okay.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:26 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube's Terms of Service." WTF?
posted by alby at 10:50 AM on July 10, 2012


alby, it's not the original. I think this is.
posted by ambrosen at 11:05 AM on July 10, 2012


Here is what it was probably trying to do.

Do you think that clam is an idiot?! You think it doesn't know the difference between sand and a table?! Or indoors and out?
posted by dobbs at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2012


Re: the foot/tongue thing. It is both. A clam's foot is also its mouth. That muscular tube thing is the only means a clam has for interacting with the outside world, so it serves as both food input, waste output, and digging arm.
posted by Scientist at 11:37 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you think that clam is an idiot?!

I wouldn't phrase it quite so insultingly, but I mean just look at these LSAT scores.
posted by griphus at 11:45 AM on July 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


This has only served to strengthen my resolve to stop over in Ipswich on my ride home and get some fried clams, and perhaps a stuffed quahog or two. And some chowder. Because clams are delicious, and much lower on the food chain than I am. And mix well with tobasco.
posted by Leth at 12:33 PM on July 10, 2012


There's a fun and uneasy mix of empathy for everything and callous realism in the thread...

Clam talk: It must be weird going through life as a squishy organ with your bones hanging out.
posted by RollingGreens at 12:53 PM on July 10, 2012


Actually the scallop that attacked me did so because I was poking it in the eyes.

A scallop attacked you?

*finding an entirely range of new things to worry about*
posted by rjs at 12:54 PM on July 10, 2012


(an entirely new range of things to worry about, that is)
posted by rjs at 12:56 PM on July 10, 2012


> *finding an entirely range of new things to worry about*

If it helps, you should watch that video linked above a few times and then the next time you're swimming in the ocean (or your pool, even), try to imagine that the water is filled with thousands of those snapping little guys.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:57 PM on July 10, 2012


The video has been pulled.
posted by merelyglib at 12:58 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


What in the world? What terms of service could it violate?
posted by Carillon at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2012


This one works, for the moment.
posted by merelyglib at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2012


What in the world? What terms of service could it violate?

The one where you're not supposed to post videos of torturing animals, probably.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


What terms of service could it violate?
If someone told them the salt is killing the clam, then I'm guessing they probably have a rule against videos that contain animal cruelty.
posted by talitha_kumi at 1:10 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It works again. Maybe the claims of torture porn were investigated by YouTube staffers and found to be fucking silly.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:15 PM on July 10, 2012


I don't think they're silly, but I do think they provide interesting evidence for the limits of human empathy. On a rational level I see this as equivalent to a video of a cat on an electrified floor. But it doesn't bother me at all on a visceral level to watch like the cat video would bother me.

It is because clams don't have faces is my current hypothesis.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well get out the googly eyes already and let's test!
posted by darksasami at 1:23 PM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's also because clams/oysters are sometimes eaten alive, so if we're ok with that...
posted by chowflap at 1:23 PM on July 10, 2012


On a rational level I see this as equivalent to a video of a cat on an electrified floor.

Oh c'mon. That was one happy clam! As others have pointed out, the sea has salt. Also, if it found the salt so unpleasant, then why didn't it retract immediately. Finally, it's a clam! Even in "rational" terms, its intellect probably lies somewhere between a clever tarpon and a mentally challenged jellyfish.
posted by Edgewise at 1:30 PM on July 10, 2012


if it found the salt so unpleasant, then why didn't it retract immediately.

Stick out foot → Holy crap salt → Use foot to swim away → Holy crap salt's still there WTF → Repeat.

Kinda like asking why the electrified cat doesn't just get off the floor instead of touching it with its paws like it's trying to walk or something.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:57 PM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not exactly, no. I would think it would simply reflexively retract its foot in that scenario. But, let's not equate clams and cats.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:00 PM on July 10, 2012


For real? Mollusk empathy?

I'm kind of astonished. You realize these things are chopped up alive or thrown into boiling water, or slurped down to be digested slowly by the millions, right? But one video of one clam doing something amazing for all of humanity to wonder, something that no one here seems to know whether it is harmful to Clammy, a creature with very little nervous tissue and nothing resembling a brain, much less self awareness. I mean. Come. On.

Now someone make the goddamn googly eye video already.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:03 PM on July 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


As others have pointed out, the sea has salt

Is that a joke? It's like saying that someone trying to breathe pure argon is probably happy because our air is 1% argon.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Poor little clam. Snap! Snap! Snap!
posted by stannate at 2:08 PM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's like saying that someone trying to breathe pure argon is probably happy because our air is 1% argon.

Come on. Clams don't do 'happy'. They just can't.
posted by colie at 2:17 PM on July 10, 2012


It's not working here. I get a message saying it's been pulled for violating TOS.
posted by JHarris at 2:24 PM on July 10, 2012


But one video of one clam doing something amazing for all of humanity to wonder, something that no one here seems to know whether it is harmful to Clammy, a creature with very little nervous tissue and nothing resembling a brain, much less self awareness. I mean. Come. On.

I was with you up until you called him Clammy.
posted by colie at 2:26 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not working here. I get a message saying it's been pulled for violating TOS.

The video linked in the post was pulled, but the one ambrosen linked is up.

If the timestamp on the one thats up is indeed earlier then yeah the OP one probably got pulled for reuploading someone else's video.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:27 PM on July 10, 2012


I don't think the clam could be suffering in any way similar to the human experience of suffering. On the other hand, they are mollusks, just like octopuses, so they could be smarter than they let on.
posted by snofoam at 2:37 PM on July 10, 2012


It's already escalating: Clam eating potato chips (via BuzzFeed, Also Motion Sickness Warning: shakier cam than Cloverfield.)
posted by radwolf76 at 2:41 PM on July 10, 2012


Come on. Clams don't do 'happy'. They just can't. -- Happy as a...?
posted by crunchland at 2:46 PM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's already escalating:

Surely descending...
posted by colie at 2:48 PM on July 10, 2012


For real? Mollusk empathy?

Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish are also mollusks. Yes, mollusk empathy.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:03 PM on July 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Clam Scallop eating trying to eject potato chips forcibly pushed into its shell.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:05 PM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just asked an octopus and she told me that it's insulting for you to lump her in with the dumbass clams and if that were her she would try to flick salt in the videographer's eyes. Octopi and squid aren't in the same zip code as clams when it comes to nervous system development. More equivocation, though!
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on July 10, 2012



Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish are also mollusks. Yes, mollusk empathy.


...fine I guess I don't mind being left out.
posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on July 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


I mean, what the hell is a clam anyway? It's like some sort of kidney that manages to have a separate existence.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:24 PM on July 10, 2012


Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish are also mollusks. Yes, mollusk empathy.

And what the hell's wrong with just respecting life? Even if you don't think clams feel pain, HUMANS surely know the difference between killing animals for food, and covering them with salt and watching them die a slow death. Don't they?
posted by sneebler at 3:38 PM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


CNN just had a marine biologist on to talk about this video. She says the feeling would be a lot like rubbing salt on an open wound and the clam, as postulated, is simply trying to save itself by finding water.

Take that, doubters.

(She admits, however, to eating clams. Because they are DELICIOUS).

Also: CNN talking on air about clam videos. Sad.
posted by Justinian at 4:00 PM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, but that doesn't make this "torture porn" by a long shot. Goodness.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:07 PM on July 10, 2012


No, that wasn't me who called it torture porn. Like I said, I don't have a negative visceral reaction to the video even though rationally I believe I should.
posted by Justinian at 4:21 PM on July 10, 2012


Yeah, sorry, I was speaking to the sentiment. Thanks for clarifying your position, and I also find that same thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2012


HEY YOU GUYS I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE CLAM KTHXBAI
posted by Jofus at 4:59 PM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Clams really don't have enough of a developed nervous system to experience pain or suffering - so no, it's not torture.

That is a real stretch. People used to say that about reptiles and fish, too, until it was comprehensively debunked. And before that dogs and other mammals.

I'm not saying we should give up having anything to do with eating other living creatures, but let's not salve an uneasy conscience with the balsam remedy of lies.
posted by smoke at 5:00 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is a much happier video of a clam moving (more like hopping) along rather quickly.*

*In its natural environment, moving towards water.

To be fair, I don't think a lot of peoples reactions when watching the video were "Hahaha they are torturing that poor, defenseless, clam". For me at least it was "Omg, wtf, clams/sea creatures are weird and I had no idea that they moved like that". The video prompted me to read and learn more about mollucks**, when I never had a reason to before.

**scallops have EYES.

When watching the video I ignorantly thought that clams could stay alive for a period of time without being in water and it was eating the salt because it just was a key component of its diet (maybe it filtered out sea water and digested the salt? Obviously I'm not a marine biologist). Now I know that apparently the clam was trying to find water and the salt was actually harming it.

I don't think the video was purposefully trying to be sadistic towards the clam. Sometimes it's hard to fully grasp the idea that even though a creature doesn't have a face or any animal-like characteristics (or in this case, a brain), it's still an animal.
posted by littlesq at 5:03 PM on July 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


Thanks for happier clam video.
posted by jessamyn at 5:08 PM on July 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


a happier clam!
a happier clam!
thank you sir! and thank you ma'am!
i wanna jump and shout and say "hot damn"!
a happier clam!
a happier clam!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:24 PM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Clams really don't have enough of a developed nervous system to experience pain or suffering - so no, it's not torture.

That is a real stretch. People used to say that about reptiles and fish, too, until it was comprehensively debunked. And before that dogs and other mammals.


Clams don't have brains though - so I don't think they can process or experience pain like other animals do. Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't having an underdeveloped nervous system mean that when the creature is in danger of harming itself, the nervous system acts in a completely reactionary manner to move the creature away from harm?

It's difficult to conceptualize how a clam "feels" or reacts to pain when there is no brain there to processes that feeling.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying it's OK to harm creatures without a brain.
posted by littlesq at 5:30 PM on July 10, 2012


Maybe this is just some basic Umwelt principle but humans seem to be overly prone to pareidolic anthropo-centric interpretations of the natural world. A side effect being, e.g., animals doing "human things" is suddenly very interesting.
Don't take this as a googly-eyes detractor, though. Of course everyone wants to see a clam with googly-eyes.
posted by Valued Customer at 5:43 PM on July 10, 2012


"It's all the same to the clam."

(The distressing state/future of the clam aside, this vegetarian finds that clam rather cute. Her fiancé rather disagrees; so it goes.)
posted by divisjm at 6:25 PM on July 10, 2012


And what the hell's wrong with just respecting life?

Just because something is alive it does not create sufficient justification for whether that life is exploited for human gain. By your line of reasoning, there is little difference between this clam and the yeast we use to bake our bread. Certainly I respect this clam enough that if I saw someone smashing it with a hammer just to hear the sound of it squishing I would be slightly repulsed and would not expect to see it posted as Best of the Web. But this was clearly something different -- "torture porn" does not apply here -- because what's engaging about this is not the knowledge of the clam's suffering and death, it's "Oh my god, I didn't know clams could do THAT!"

I get that there's an argument about vegetarianism, that animals need not experience pain and suffering so that humans can be fed, and certainly not for the sheer non-nutritive pleasure of humans, but this is entirely different and to pretend that there aren't shades of grey around this, that if you find something engaging here you are someone who doesn't "respect life" is frankly a load of bullshit.

I think making thousands of people smile on the Internet is clearly worth more than the life of a non sentient mass of muscle and chemical reactions. And let's face it, a clam that's made it to someone's kitchen table isn't going back to the ocean to dig and siphon in the mud "happily" ever after anyway. In fact, I happen to know this particular clam was fed to a starving little girl and saved her life. Who respects life now, you self righteous clam fucker?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:52 PM on July 10, 2012


I think making thousands of people smile on the Internet is clearly worth more than the life of a non sentient mass of muscle and chemical reactions.

Actually kind of a bold claim. Especially if the thousands of smiling people still manage to learn jack all about the biology of clams and what they're really seeing here.
posted by Miko at 8:10 PM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


And it's really not very fertile ground for comparisons since that clam was going to die anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 PM on July 10, 2012


Well, we're all going to die anyway. I don't think that fact legitimizes all potential treatments of us while living.
posted by Miko at 8:20 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, I wasn't speaking so generally, and comparisons like that are more equivocating than anything. I meant that this particular clam was (I assume) about to become dinner there's no justification for or against people gawking at the video, really.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:27 PM on July 10, 2012


And anyway, such grand statements about things are really problematic, especially in this context. Everyone seems to be fighting for some perceived value space that just isn't real.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 PM on July 10, 2012


Not to get all slippery slope here, but I remember when garden slugs being trapped in salt mazes was briefly a viral thing, and now here's this, and I wonder if sooner or later somebody, for the sake of internet lulz, might comically harm something with a sufficiently advanced nervous system that we could maybe feel empathy for it without looking like total buzzkills. That, I'm sure we can all agree, would be sad.

But I'm the kind of guy who orders duck while dining out with his vegetarian brother just to be a jerk, so maybe I'm too much of a hypocrite to be lecturing anyone about the ethics of clam discomfiture.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:31 PM on July 10, 2012


Uh, that dog riding pedaling a bike sort of just blew my mind. I don't know in what direction, but holy wtf.
posted by atomicstone at 8:31 PM on July 10, 2012


blew my mind SO much, I am apparently unable to form cohesive sentences.
posted by atomicstone at 8:32 PM on July 10, 2012


My high school science teacher brought in clams for us to observe. None of this is unfamiliar. (Although we never set them in piles of salt.)

Also am I the only person who thought of these poor oysters?
posted by IndigoRain at 9:19 PM on July 10, 2012


it's not impossible to be both a non-vegetarian with a love for seafood AND think that the video is unnecessarily cruel.
posted by cendawanita at 9:30 PM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


The clam vid of the OP is a good trailer for The Walrus and the Carpenter.
posted by nickyskye at 9:42 PM on July 10, 2012


A squid eating dough.
posted by mike3k at 11:45 PM on July 10, 2012


it's not impossible to be both a non-vegetarian with a love for seafood AND think that the video is unnecessarily cruel.

Why is it more cruel than cooking it and eating it (clams are alive at the time of cooking), and why do you apply the term "cruel?"
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:14 AM on July 11, 2012


Everyone seems to be fighting for some perceived value space that just isn't real.

I disagree that it's not a real value space. I would argue it most definitely is. I'm a meat-eater and all that, but the question of how we treat living beings when we interact with then intentionally can be considered ethically apart from the question of whether or not they are going to die, be killed, or be eaten. Those are both important ethical questions, but they're not the same question.
posted by Miko at 6:42 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you're looking for surprisingly active bivalves, scallops swim.

Bulgaroktonos, that video just broke my brain. Amazing.
posted by gauche at 8:57 AM on July 11, 2012


If the video had been presented as scientific, this thread would have been very different.
posted by merelyglib at 9:31 AM on July 11, 2012


That's true (though it's sort of hard to imagine why that context would exist - scientists already know something about this, and if they wanted to talk about salinity tolerance this isn't how they would demonstrate it), but if so, the ethical consideration could be different because both the intentions and outcomes would be quite different.
posted by Miko at 9:40 AM on July 11, 2012


Slarty Bartfast: it's not impossible to be both a non-vegetarian with a love for seafood AND think that the video is unnecessarily cruel.

Why is it more cruel than cooking it and eating it (clams are alive at the time of cooking), and why do you apply the term "cruel?"
I would assume because of the slow, lingering death they endure with salt poisoning. The only question in my mind is whether or not they actually "suffer", or if this is the moral equivalent of salting a potted plant.

Regardless, since the animal is obviously animate, and is being poisoned, it does tend to look cruel on its face.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:09 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is it more cruel than cooking it and eating it (clams are alive at the time of cooking), and why do you apply the term "cruel?"

Hm, I don't want to wander into philosophical territory where I don't rightly belong, but whether or not sentience matters to the idea of cruelty, I also don't think it's good for people to encourage each other to laugh when any life is being intentionally harmed, especially when the laughter is in ignorance of what's being witnessed. The fact that it's a food animal doesn't really mitigate this: it's reasonable to argue that food sources, sentient or not, should be treated respectfully.

One could say it isn't cruel to dump oil over clam flats because the clams aren't sentient, but the harm to the general environment is an overall negative even if nothing there is "smart" enough, in human terms, to feel and express pain in ways we recognize.

Cruelty can reside in the intent to ignorantly mock and destroy, not necessarily in the kinds of harm that may or may not be done to the target.
posted by Miko at 11:19 AM on July 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


One could say it isn't cruel to dump oil over clam flats because the clams aren't sentient, but the harm to the general environment is an overall negative even if nothing there is "smart" enough, in human terms, to feel and express pain in ways we recognize.

Yeah, but the rainbow sheen is so pretty!

And just to follow up from above, we don't allow "because, science!" carte blanche much anymore, either.
posted by notyou at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2012


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