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The Ethics Of Photoshop
November 1, 2003 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Is The Blood Red Water For Real? A discussion on egullet, of all places, suggests at least one of these shocking pictures (inside) has been retouched. A more interesting question is: is it OK to "enhance" real evidence, if the salient facts are true? Or even, more radically, if the cause is just and dedicated to save lives or relieve suffering?
posted by MiguelCardoso (69 comments total)

 

posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:31 AM on November 1, 2003


It looks like a scene from Land of the Lost. Which is to say, bad special effects. Dolphin hunting is shitty, but making up evidence in an attempt to spur action isn't going to help.
posted by yerfatma at 8:52 AM on November 1, 2003


Oh Yeah!
posted by ae4rv at 8:56 AM on November 1, 2003


It's not a very well done job, to be sure... But frankly, I find the literal pile of dead dolphins in the boat to be utterly horrifying without even the need to consider what color the water is. I hope this ludicrous stunt doesn't detract from the original message...
posted by JollyWanker at 8:58 AM on November 1, 2003


yerfatma, I fundamentally agree - but (for the sake of argument) what if we think of this picture as an alternative representation of reality: it's 'real' evidence, combined with commentary (the special f/x) that highlights what does in fact exist: blood in the water. Like much political art, it jars us by making us see something in a different way. You could also compare it with a color-keyed atmospheric scan that graphically shows what we wouldn't normally see: depletion of ozone, etc., with a political goal in mind.
posted by stonerose at 8:59 AM on November 1, 2003


Like much political art, it jars us by making us see something in a different way.

So lying is okay?

/me makes a note
posted by Stynxno at 9:02 AM on November 1, 2003


You can see the difference bet. the 2nd and 3rd pics and video (altered) and 4th, and 5th (non-altered?) pics on the seashepherd site...and what yerfatma said. The death of 60 dolphins, while horrible, isn't enough to turn the water that color, i don't think. Can't they present the unaltered video and pics to a court? or is it totally legal?

and on preview: stonerose, it's not presented as political art or propaganda (which are routinely exaggerated) but as literal evidence.
posted by amberglow at 9:02 AM on November 1, 2003




A Japanese fisherman sits proudly atop his catch of dead dolphins as the boat searches for more. (my emphasis)

The caption given to this picture would also indicate that there's some bias at work. But how do you repress the necessary passion for fighting against something you abhor so that you appear detached and neutral? Isn't this a falsehood too?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:12 AM on November 1, 2003


Stynxno and amberglow, I do have problems with the way they went about it, sure. I said "for the sake of argument"... this should make us think about other ways in which reality is manipulated, and what we see as legitimate and illegitimate. What about advertising? What about cookies that are "enlarged to show texture" on the package? Beer bottles shown dripping with appealing condensation? Mashed potato flake packages showing the product reconstituted and accompanied with a juicy steak as a "serving suggestion"? Presidents shown in flight suits beside banners declaring "mission accomplished"? Movie starlets with faces heavily made-up? What about a meat industry that goes to great lengths to obscure distasteful pictures of its own activities?
posted by stonerose at 9:14 AM on November 1, 2003


Based on the apparent size of the cove (there's pictures on the sea shepherd site), the fact that the guy with the snorkel appears to be standing on the bottom, and the huge amount of dead dolphins I'd say maybe it's fake, maybe it's real.

One thing to consider is the fact that the only ones claiming the pictures are fake are bloggers who, presumably, knows next to nothing about whale slaughter. The fishermen who do know, and saw it with their own eyes, have made no accusations of photomanipulation.

Another fact to consider is that human eyes are extra sensitive to the color red - which is why it only takes one red sock in the washer to turn all your whites pink.
posted by spazzm at 9:14 AM on November 1, 2003


Also discussed on metafilter, but under a different link.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:18 AM on November 1, 2003


I guess those who really want to find out the truth can go to the cove in Japan next year and see for themselves.
posted by spazzm at 9:22 AM on November 1, 2003


Oops! Sorry about that. I did search for "Sea Shepherd" and "dolphins". :(
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:24 AM on November 1, 2003


Based on the apparent size of the cove (there's pictures on the sea shepherd site), the fact that the guy with the snorkel appears to be standing on the bottom, and the huge amount of dead dolphins I'd say maybe it's fake, maybe it's real.

Well, I'm glad that's cleared up, then.
posted by rushmc at 9:43 AM on November 1, 2003


spazzm do you have anything to support that claim about red sensitivity and socks? i've never heard it before and, in the normal way that these things are emasured, eyes are more sensitive to green than any other colour.

also, eye sensitivity has nothing to do with the colour balance in a photo, nor does it explain why people would feel the red in that photo was too bright (unless they are constantly complaining about red being too bright wherever it occurs; in other words it is the relative intensity that is important).

doctoring evidence for public consumption is extremely arrogant - instead of letting others form an opinion based on the true evidence one group of people decide that their opinion is correct and that the important thing is not to let others decide, but fool them into supporting. it's depressing how often people feel that their own particular cause justifies bending rules that they would otherwise consider sacrosanct.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:46 AM on November 1, 2003


There's a similar picture in a 1992 National Geographic, and another similar picture of (IIRC) a pilot-whale kill in an earlier one I'm too lazy to find. Both have blood-red water.

While I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the pictures had their brightness, contrast, and color saturation fiddled with, that's just a normal part of good, professional photgraphy. I don't think they're outright ``photoshopped'' in the sense of having their normal water color replaced with red. Even in one of the ones that doesn't seem to have red water -- the one with the diver -- if you download it and ramp up the gamma, you can see that the water is red/brown, and that's with a 256-color .gif and a miserably awful exposure.

And what spazzm said. The people detailing the photoshopping are bloggers and commenters, not fishermen and not experts on image interpretation and manipulation.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:51 AM on November 1, 2003


andrew cooke:
Here's one of the first sites Google spat out. It explains it rather poorly, I'm afraid, but as you can see from the graphs the red and green cells respond to overlapping frequency bands, thus heightening the sensitivity in that band.

The reason for this is evolutionary, of course - things that are unimportant to survival (sky, foliage) are green and blue, while things that are cues of food or danger (ripe fruit, blood) are red.

Therefore, important signals in our everyday life are often red or orange - fire trucks, stop signs, brake lights and so on.

While you are right that doctoring evidence is arrogant, I'd say that accusing someone of said doctoring when no doctoring has actually taken place is, you know, just not cricket.
posted by spazzm at 10:09 AM on November 1, 2003


I don't know how often people go back and look at topics previously discussed, so here are a few links I posted in the previous discussion. Photo from different source. Video from Sea Shepherd. Photos of the Faroe Island pilot whale slaughter. (From what I've seen, this is done in more open water than the cove in Japan and still the water is red.) Different photos of dolphin hunt and Faroe Island.
posted by lobakgo at 10:10 AM on November 1, 2003


As for the socks - well, I guess you can easily carry out that experiment yourself.
posted by spazzm at 10:11 AM on November 1, 2003



posted by poopy at 10:11 AM on November 1, 2003


Here's an article with a better graph.

Sorry to go on about this non-relevant topic, but he asked...
posted by spazzm at 10:21 AM on November 1, 2003


Here's an interesting article about the famous Favignana mattanza in Sicily (tuna slaughter) suggests it's done for the tourists and the spectacle, more than for the meat.

Btw, I've often seen TV news reports and documentaries on tuna-fishing in the South of Portugal and Spain and the sea does turn blood-red.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:22 AM on November 1, 2003


I don't believe that those images were touched up.

If you look at this pic:


You can see a distinct CLOUD underneath the water.
Things like that are incredibly hard to paint in photoshop with out the employ of a pretty damn decent digital painter.

That, in addition with the video convinces me.
posted by cinderful at 10:42 AM on November 1, 2003


spazzm - a quote from your link: Notice that sensitivity is peaked at yellow-green.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:45 AM on November 1, 2003


i have to agree with cinderful... unless they had an experienced digital painter on hand, there is no way they could have doctored this photo. the CLOUD is a clear giveaway.
posted by poopy at 10:52 AM on November 1, 2003


andrew cooke: Yes, but that is referring to the rod cells, which are colorblind and mainly used for nightvision. So while you might be able to see green more clearly than other colors at night, you won't be able to see that it is green.

But seriously, that's all beside the point. Thanks to the links provided by lobakgo and cinderful's comment, I think most are convinced that the images are in all likelihood real and unaltered.
posted by spazzm at 11:04 AM on November 1, 2003


How can any of these bloggers claim to know what that much blood looks like anyway? All the blood you see in the films is, you know, fake. The fakest looking blood I've ever seen was a puddle in a parking lot in Toronto; it looked like someone dumped red paint trying to be a jackass. It was too bright and...not bloody-looking enough. But it was real blood at the scene of a fatal stabbing an hour prior.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:05 AM on November 1, 2003


spazzm: the *eye* is most sensitive to green. See this graph in the link you posted. This is one reason why things like night-vision goggles often use green phosphors -- they need less actual amplification to get the same effect on your retina.

But even if this is true, it could still be the case that the *brain* responds more to red.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:13 AM on November 1, 2003


I have to tell this story, which I heard only two weeks ago. It's all very well trying not to editorialize in a post but sometimes it's only curial to show one's cardinal colours, whilst avoiding sounding more papist than the Pope. I apologize beforehand for the length.

We were having a long, early lunch at a charming, utterly delicious outdoors restaurant called "Bataréu" in Setúbal. They only open for lunch because the proprietor's father has been a fisherman for over 40 years and he brings in his daily catch around midnight the day before. He considers that 14 hours is the maximum time for fresh fish to continue fresh (it actually improves after 8 hours, as freshly caught fish is tough and bland). And it's so popular that, to guarantee a table, you have to be there around noon at the latest, a decidedly unportuguese hour. But we put up with this breakfasty trend because we're greedy.

Anyway, this old fisherman likes sitting next to the grill and the expert griller - a chain-smoking sourpuss octagenarian who hates not only fish but people and restaurants and life itself - and does his best to interrupt everyone's conversation.

We were having a dozen pristine scallops, grilled with just a drop of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt, when he came over to confess he was much shaken by the events of the night before. Apparently, a dolphin had been killed (highly illegal in Portugal, occasioning a long prison sentence and a crippling fine) and hauled back by an irascible fisherman friend of his.

Dolphins ruin fishermen's nets and are much disliked for this but, because of superstitions and the law, nothing can be done about it. But this other guy, because of an unnerving argument with his newly-wed wife, went crazy and killed it.

Well... for the duration of the trip back to the harbour, the boat containing the dead dolphin was not only followed by a school of wailing fellow dolphins but they actually tried to ram it and tip it over, putting the fear of God into such seasoned fishermen.

He said they were lucky to make it back alive. Dolphins are called "toinhos" here, meaning "Tonys", because they're considered to be, not only very intelligent, but just like people.

I can still see the expression of fear - as well as the consciousness of having broken some ancient code and committed a dark, unpardonable sin - on the old man's face.

That surely helped me believe that the photograph was, if enhanced, only very slightly exaggerated...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:13 AM on November 1, 2003


ROU_Xhenophobe:
Here's another graph showing red as the most sensitive color. It all depends on measuring method and wether you compensate for the relative energy of photons of different wavelengths and so on. Plus it must vary from person to person.

While it is likely that the brain is more sensitive to red (since that would make evolutionary sense) that is not really a big difference. After all, it's not like the brain and the eye are discrete components than can be probed and tested independently - some even go as far as saying the optic nerve is the only visible part of the human brain.
posted by spazzm at 11:28 AM on November 1, 2003


So, now that most are willing to concede that the photo is likely at least mostly authentic, how many are willing to examine their motives in being so quick to doubt it? Skepticism is healthy, but surely we can all agree that willful blindness indicates deeper issues.
posted by rushmc at 12:40 PM on November 1, 2003


spazzm: I don't know what the hell you're talking about. if you even look at the link you sent, you'd see you were wrong. There three peaks. Red, green and blue. Red is the smallest, meaning we are least sensitive to it. Humans are most sensitive to green, not red. Geez. And I seriously doubt your evolutionary explanation of your incorrect assumption.



And the photo is obviously doctored, if it wasn't the rocks near the water would be colored red as well, from reflected light.



If the watter was slightly red, then they could have amped that up in both the image and the video.
posted by delmoi at 12:45 PM on November 1, 2003


... but surely we can all agree that willful blindness indicates deeper issues.

and so it goes with the motives of those who really believe *laughs* this photo to be authentic.
posted by poopy at 1:14 PM on November 1, 2003



posted by poopy at 1:19 PM on November 1, 2003


Let me try to shed some light on the color vision controversy. Color discrimination is best in between 500 (green) and 600 nm (red). This means telling one wavelength of light from another. At best it drops to a nanometer or so. It doesn't just depend on the sensitivity of visual pigments. Alot of perception happens after that stage.

Brightness discrimination peaks at around 555 nm (yellow) . This means that all things being equal, that wavelength of light will be percieved as the brightest. Essentially this is where vision is most sensitive. You can confirm this for yourself by adding the values of the three curves (red, green, and blue) together on the graph that has been repeatedly linked to.

Actually rods are much more sensitive to light than cones and can reliably detect single photons of light. Their peak sensitivity is 507 nm, which is why I suspect night vision goggles are green. Incidently, low-light instrumentation is red or orange because rods are not sensitive to light in those ranges so reading a gauge (with cones) doesn't disturb the dark adapted rods.

And it is true that the color red red is better at attracting our attention and eliciting a response than other colors which is why stop signs are red. I imagine it has something to do with blood being that color and vegetation not being that color but that is speculation on my part.
posted by euphorb at 1:21 PM on November 1, 2003


it's incredibly easy in photoshop to adjust the color balance, hue, and saturation of specific parts of a photo, and to keep the elements of the image intact and readable (that cloud, or shadows, etc).

on preview: as poopy shows : >
posted by amberglow at 1:25 PM on November 1, 2003


Know what? Whether the red is real or not, there's a whole fuck of a lot of dolphin blood in the water. If Sea Shepherd used technology to make you see it and to be uncomfortable about it, good for them. The only problem I would have (if they enhanced the photo) is that they don't come clean and say something like: here's what we did and why we did it - isn't it interesting how such a little tweaking can make you view a situation differently? How many parts per million of blood in the water does it take before you're disgusted?
posted by stonerose at 1:27 PM on November 1, 2003


*gathers collection of aborted fetus pictures. places pictures in pro-life article. wipes hands.*
posted by poopy at 1:37 PM on November 1, 2003


doctoring evidence for public consumption is extremely arrogant

And extremely stupid. The Allies and their propagandists in the media spread false and exaggerated stories about German atrocities during WWI, for the highest of motives (the Germans must be defeated!)—but of course once the truth got out, as it always does, the backlash benefited the Germans. Not only that, but memories of the faked "Belgian atrocities" made people unwilling to credit early reports of the Holocaust. The truth is always your best weapon. If you can't make your point without exaggeration and lies, it isn't that important a point.
posted by languagehat at 1:43 PM on November 1, 2003


poopy, what's your point? that graphic pictures are impolite and only zealots use them? that zealotry is distasteful? that lefties like me will reveal their hypocrisy by lauding Sea Shepherd but booing the pro-lifers? I happen to think adults should be exposed to reality in all its ugliness. Imagery is one among many types of data that people can use to develop political postures.
posted by stonerose at 1:45 PM on November 1, 2003


I really hope everyone flipping their lid about this is one of two things:
A) a vegan
B) an advocate of non slash-and-burn type game harvesting practices, since slaughter like this seems to be the sort of thing more than capable of destroying local populations

I don't think there's anything more wrong with eating dolphins than with eating cows, dogs, or chickens. The kool-aid-red blood looks incredibly fake to me, but then, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. So I don't know. However, if it is faked, then yes, that's just as bad as any falsified propaganda.

stonerose, his points are twofold and pretty obvious:
It was really easy to photoshop this and,
Using imagery like this is propaganda, it's appealing to emotions rather than anything else, it's the technique used by pro-lifers, and it's altogether distasteful. We shouldn't make policy decisions based on how horrified we were or not at a picture that might or might not have been real.
posted by kavasa at 1:56 PM on November 1, 2003


Propaganda, of course, is not an inherently pejorative term: n: information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause

As I said earlier, we're shown lots of things - real and unreal - in an effort to appeal to our emotions: product advertising, political campaigning, movies, war photography, etc. So to dismiss an entire category of visual information that you find distasteful on the grounds that it appeals "to emotions rather than anything else" is bogus.

You're right to say that we shouldn't make policy decisions based solely on how horrified we are at a picture - but where does the onus for collecting other relevant information start and end? What obligations does the image provider have? How about the image consumer? I'm a big boy: I can take troubling (or tantalizing) images from a variety of biased sources, place them in social context, and make my decisions. Are you arguing that most people can't overcome their emotions, and therefore need to be sheltered from troubling images and unpalatable information?
posted by stonerose at 2:17 PM on November 1, 2003


A more interesting question is: is it OK to "enhance" real evidence, if the salient facts are true? Or even, more radically, if the cause is just and dedicated to save lives or relieve suffering?

That is an interesting question. If it's OK for these dolphin savers to enhance "evidence", mightn't it also be OK for a government to exaggerate weapons claims if they were convinced it made the world a safer/better place?

I think the answer is no in both cases. I might be considered motivated on the issue of animal rights (and human rights, for that matter), but there are other means for groups (and governments) to seek an end to suffering and murder without themselves murdering truth.

But where exactly is any evidence of stretching the truth in this particular case (the bloody photos?) I can tell you from firsthand experience that a little blood goes a long way, and the photos look real to me. It looks like a protected cove, and local concentrations of water discoloration and detritus up close to the shore (depending on tide and wave action) are pretty common. And as others have asked, both the photos AND the movie were doctored?

In any event, the horrors of killing other sentient beings for our wants requires no enhancement. I wonder whether in this case some merely cannot face what real slaughter looks like. If the reality of our actions is too brutal, then let's not question our actions....let us instead dilute and deny reality. Seas and factory floors flowing crimson with that peculiar liquid strangely similar to our own can't really be the truth behind a simple fish sandwich or hamburger, can it? Does that endless, throat-tightening stain of red in the sea, in the abattoir, beneath burning skyscrapers, and in the bombed streets of the Middle East arise from merely endlessly sating our selfish tastes, avoiding legitimate suffering, and seeking the chimera of "security"?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:20 PM on November 1, 2003


the consciousness of having broken some ancient code and committed a dark, unpardonable sin

but did he grill the fucker with just a drop of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt?
posted by quonsar at 3:20 PM on November 1, 2003


Did you skeptics all completely miss the other bloody whale and dolphin pictures?

Sixty dolphins were killed.
A human has 6 quarts of blood in the bloodstream.
we'll say a dolphin has 5

60 x 5 = 300

4 quarts in a gallon
300/4 = 75 gallons of blood

so if half their blood leaked out - that's 37.5 gallons of blood

That's a lot of blood.
sounds like enough to create a large surface cloud to me.
posted by cinderful at 3:44 PM on November 1, 2003


For comparison, here's a pilot whale kill: still photos and Realvideo. Another dolphin still photo.
posted by stonerose at 4:03 PM on November 1, 2003


If you can't make your point without exaggeration and lies, it isn't that important a point.

Well said.

I don't think there's anything more wrong with eating dolphins than with eating cows, dogs, or chickens.

And you're entitled to your opinion. But are you man enough to acknowledge that there are other people who disagree and that they, too, are entitled to their views?
posted by rushmc at 4:32 PM on November 1, 2003



posted by quonsar at 4:44 PM on November 1, 2003


ew
posted by amberglow at 5:13 PM on November 1, 2003


It's also worth noting that the bllod of a dolphin or whale may have different (in particular, lower) density than water, contrary to the old adage, in which case something like this might be far more plausible, especially in a small cove. Contrary to Cinderful's estimation, depending on the species, a dolphin would probably have more blood than a human - the smallest species weighs on average 85kgs, or about 165 lbs.

Comparing the other photos we've seen to those on the seashepard site, I'd say that the second photo down on the left is entirely believable, and that the one that's stirring the controversy isn't all that much brighter. But conclude as you will...
posted by kaibutsu at 5:20 PM on November 1, 2003


I wouldn't mind trying some dolphin steaks. No matter how they're processed.
posted by WLW at 5:42 PM on November 1, 2003


Color... phooey. It's trivial to manipulate the saturation of a given color.

Clouds in the water... bah. The healing brush in PS >6 is a wonderful tool. A little healing brush here, a little transparency adjustment there -- before you can say Bob's your uncle -- you have clouds in the water.

Jinmyo in the original link summed it up best, "that is astoundingly obvious once you point it out."

The dolphins have no blood on them, the fisherman have no blood on them, the boat has no blood on it and the water must be remarkably calm because the rocks don't have any blood on them. It's a shame, I along with a zillion others, saw this picture on Yahoo and was outraged. My outrage is diminished by the obvious manipulation both of the photos and of my emotions.
posted by cedar at 5:44 PM on November 1, 2003


Here's a much longer AP video of the scene. I have to wonder if the people who doubt the blood in the water have had much experience in, on, and around water. Or much experience taking photographs. Maybe it's just they don't have much experience with bleeding animals.

Miguel--thanks for the story. Makes me think of the idea that Apollo took the form of a dolphin and the ancient Greek taboo on killing dolphins.
posted by lobakgo at 6:01 PM on November 1, 2003


I just watched the AP video and as horrific as it is, the only comparable part is about 23 seconds in. Even then it is nowhere nearly as highly saturated as the stills. No doubt it is a horrific scene of slaughter, but no more horrible than that which occurs a thousand times a day in slaughterhouses all over the world.

I'm sorry, but when a 'news' photo is enhanced to generate a calculated visceral reaction it loses credibility. It works on the Sea Shepard site, after all it's what they do, but it fails to meat (pun intended) the criteria of being factual.

lobakgo: has is it ever occured to you that those of with expierience taking photgraphs and with post-processing are skeptical because we know just how easy it is to cheat? As far as bleeding animals go, it's hunting season and I won't even tell you what's been hanging from the tree in my yard all afternoon.
posted by cedar at 6:33 PM on November 1, 2003


delmoi: Sheesh-chill man. This is nothing to get excited about.
First of all, if you take the time to read my second link, you'll see that the eye is more sensitive to red light. It all depends on how you measure.
Secondly, does it really matter wether the increased sensitivity is in the eye (as my link points out) or in the vision centre of the brain (as no links point out)? The end result is the same, after all.

If you want my guess at an explanation of the difference in graphs, I'd say that one measures the response compared to the number of photons received, the other measures the response compared to the amount of total enegry received (blue light has the highest frequency, thus each photon carries more energy). Or it could be that one takes the number of the different cell types in the retina into account, the other does not.

While you dismiss my evidence out of hand, you have provided none yourself.
posted by spazzm at 6:44 PM on November 1, 2003


Question - why are the outfits of the fishermen and the boat both pristine and blood free?

(Possibly because all the blood is in the water? I dunno...)

Dolphin fishing bad. Don't fish for dolphins. Plus - dolphis aren't fish - so we'd have to call it mammalling. Don't mammal for dolphins.
posted by swerdloff at 8:25 PM on November 1, 2003


This thread would make for a great high-school discussion topic concerning "Truth and fiction in the digital age".

How many words have been spent here arguing for the truth or falsity of the blood red water? How many opinions seem to have been changed in the process?

Regardless, I don't like the idea of killing dolphins and think the blood red water issue is a red herring of a fish-tale - so the water was dull red and not bright red?

Does that somehow change the fact that beings, dolphins, which are probably as intelligent as you or I, in their own fashion, were being sliced to bits while still alive?

Save your outrage, folks, for the outrageous lies aired every minute of the day on mainstream media (and not just on Fox).
posted by troutfishing at 8:27 PM on November 1, 2003


I think a lot of confusion comes from the possibility that many subconsciously think of the ocean as blue when it is in fact translucent. The blueness is the reflection of the sky.
Since the ocean does not have any color of its own, any colored fluid suspended therein will be clearly visible.

Also, the photographs are taken from a steep angle with a dark background, further reducing the reflection of sky, and thus the percieved blueness.

And what troutfishing said.
posted by spazzm at 8:54 PM on November 1, 2003


"...dolphins, which are probably as intelligent as you or I..."

Should've evolved opposable thumbs, or the ability to create gunpowder, or something, eh?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:33 PM on November 1, 2003




it's wrong to kill animals. i know this to be true. but does the means justify the ends? absolutely not. false evidence is false evidence. if a newspaper published the photo, retouched in a way to diminish the blood, we'd all cry foul. this is no better than the way peta exploits women to further the cause.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 12:11 AM on November 2, 2003


My wife and I spent our summer vacation in Taiji last year, so I know something about this. Beautiful coastline in the Katsura-Taiji area. I ate delicious maguro-don (sliced raw tuna on rice) every day. We went whale-watching out of Taiji port and saw not a single whale, but several dolphins. They would not come alongside the bow of the boat, said the skipper, because those other boats off to our left were hunting them, and the dolphins were, of course, wary. Everyone on our boat (all Japanese except me) seemed shocked to learn that they were hunting dolphins; I don't think this is common knowledge in Japan. Later in port I saw the nasty spear guns mounted on the front of these dolphin-hunting boats, which are about the size and shape of Robert Shaw's boat in Jaws. (I'll see if I can dig up some relevant pictures and link to them.)

In Katsura, next to Taiji, they've got all kinds of whaling museum stuff, and we went aboard a huge floating museum whaling ship. No minced words about "research whaling" euphemisms here, they are proud of their whaling and they want it back.

the linked story says: "Dolphin and Whale Meat can be easily found in Japanese food markets."
I think the "food market" picture in the story is one conveniently located in Taiji, selling this meat as a novelty to tourists. I have never seen dolphin meat for sale in the market where I live. I suspect that it is only sold in traditional whaling areas like this. Occasionally, whale meat can be found in a market. It is stewed, dried or frozen to preserve it, as the hunting is very limited. Whale meat appeals to older people who find it nostalgic; my mother-in-law told me that school lunches often included whale meat whe she was young.
posted by planetkyoto at 12:37 AM on November 2, 2003


i've worked knee deep in bloody water at a salmon processing plant in alaska, loading fish out of a boat hold. The water was red, but didn't leave blood stains...it is, in fact, WATER. And even blood itself--fish blood anyways--didn't really stain plastic or metal to badly, it washes off or just smears around, especially with water splashing around. Ah, fond memories of writing "late night with david salmonman" in blood on co-workers backs.

so, Lady Macbeth is washing the blood off of her hands. What the blood touches is stained. What the bloodied water touches is not stained. Try it out with some bloody steak or something. 'Cause bloody water is still just water and the blood is too diluted to get that nice movie-like blood everywhere thing going on.

We are so far removed from Blood. Every bit of meat you eat has produced buckets of it. Don't be shocked by the blood.

That said, yeah, it could be faked--i've been using photoshop since 1993. Used to teach it. Even with photoshop 1.5 you could have done that fairly easily. Sure. What if--stone me to death if i'm wrong--that pic is just taken with a digital camera that saturates the hell out of reds [most digital cameras] and that moment was simply the very very worst it got. Could be, who knows. Show me real film negatives to convince me for sure one way or the other.

planetkyoto, i belive i read someplace once --so of course, i'm a god-damned expert all of the sudden or something-- that whale meat was widespread as food during the WWII and post WWII periods because other food was so scarce, but that otherwise it wasn't a traditional food for all japanese. Is that just anti-whaling propaganda?
posted by th3ph17 at 7:20 AM on November 2, 2003


....is it OK to "enhance" real evidence, if the salient facts are true? Or even, more radically, if the cause is just and dedicated to save lives or relieve suffering?--MiguelCardoso

Save your outrage, folks, for the outrageous lies aired every minute of the day on mainstream media (and not just on Fox).--troutfishing

Any "enhancing" going on here?
posted by jaronson at 8:11 AM on November 2, 2003


jaronson: to answer your question, I'm guessing that Jessica Lynch is not a gigantic disembodied head, towering hundreds of feet over the landscape, but I'm not an expert, I could be wrong.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:26 AM on November 2, 2003


I'm guessing that Jessica Lynch is not a gigantic disembodied head, towering hundreds of feet over the landscape

Jessicardoz?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:26 AM on November 2, 2003


Closing the loop.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:13 AM on November 3, 2003


Sea Shepherd is organizing protests in cities around the world for tomorrow, Nov. 4th. There is a list of information here, including #2 which lists the organizers in different cities.
posted by lobakgo at 10:20 AM on November 3, 2003


I don't want to...
posted by protocool at 12:44 AM on November 8, 2003


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