Alarming True Facts About My Interests:
One of my many hyper-defined, odd personal obsessions is stories about large, normally non-violent animals that snap and kill their trainers while in abusive captivity. I spent last summer, for instance, compulsively reading about elephant rage and elephant captivity. This is either a weird feminist thing, a very weird psychological thing, or just the result of having seen Jurassic Park at least six times the summer it came out. I don’t know.
What I can tell you is that I have rarely wanted to see a movie more than I want to see this one.
The captive-orca situation and the captive-elephant situation are very similar: They are not inherently hostile or violent creatures, at least not toward us. Elephants are herbivores; resident orcas, which most orcas are supposed to be, eat only fish. (However, transient orcas, which are not a sub-species of orca but a different “culture” — yes, orcas apparently have culture; they also communicate in different “languages,” depending on where they come from — eat human-sized mammals. It’s unclear whether Tilikum, who partially ate his human-sized mammal trainer, is a captured resident or a captured transient, which speaks to some really fucking shoddy safety practices.) Orcas and elephants are, however, large, smart, and possessed of an alarmingly human psychological and emotional complexity. Which means that they — like humans — are pretty much designed to experience complete psychological breakdowns, including violent rage, while in captivity.