Monday, February 12, 2007

Cousteau's legacy

French philosophers are remarkably silly humans, but I refuse to discuss them or even mention their names. Lampooning the French has become a favourite pastime in the Anglophone world and I have no intention of jumping on the bandwagon. When good-natured teasing degenerates into chauvinistic gloating, the presiding gorilla must thump his chest and announce that enough is enough.

The French, of course, could help us love them more by showing better judgment in their choice of national heroes. They might start by singing the praises of
Jacques Cousteau , the intrepid ocean explorer, who could have exploded the pretensions of les grands penseurs with a single burst of gas from his aqualung. Cousteau was a visionary submariner who serenaded the sea-turtles and danced with the dugongs. And no matter how exquisite or alluring the creatures he encountered, he always resisted the temptation to prod them with his harpoon.

For all Cousteau’s efforts to get us to appreciate the diversity of marine life, I’ve never been able to drum up much enthusiasm for sharks. It’s not that I blame them for eating humans – anyone who chooses to show off on a surfboard is pretty much asking for it. What depresses me about those toothy demons of the deep is their utter lack of conversation or social graces. On a visit to an aquarium in Sydney I pulled every face in the book to get the sharks to wink or grin, but all I got in return were cold, fishy stares. So what if they have tiny brains? Crocodiles do as well, but it doesn’t stop them from opening their jaws and hissing whenever you inquire after the missus.

Dolphins are a totally different kettle of non-fish. I’ve chatted with a fair number of these characters and it’s difficult to get them to shut up once they get started. On a recent cruise to Hong Kong, I was limbering up on the railings when a dolphin’s head poked out from under the waves.

“Hello Mr Hairy,” he chirped. “You look like a giant sea slug – click, click, clack!”

“Hello Mr Slippery,” I replied. “You look like a giant dildo.”

“I am one,” said the dolphin smugly. “The female whales in the neighbourhood have to book three months in advance to get me to service them – click, click, clack!”

I clenched my jaw to avoid chuckling. It’s important to keep a straight face when you’re bantering with aquatic mammals. “As if you’d dare mess with a whale, you saucy sea-devil!” I cried. “Haven’t you got fish to catch or something?”

“Nah, it’s my day off,” explained the dolphin. “Why don’t you jump in so I can take you for a ride? The water’s lovely – click, click, clack!”

I wasn’t going to fall for an obvious trick like that. Dolphins are infamous practical jokers, and I might have ended up in Bermuda if I’d jumped on the back of that bottle-nosed bullshitter.

“Thanks for the offer, my flippery friend, but we gorillas don’t ride other animals. That sort of thing generates ugly rumours. If you want to amuse yourself I’ll throw you a beach ball.”

“I don’t need a beach ball to play with myself,” said the dolphin with a smirk. “But if you hang around for a while you’ll see some real fun and games. The females will be coming; they always do with me – click, click, clack!”

I might have asked him how he knew the females weren’t faking it, but I didn’t want to end the conversation on a rancorous note. “An enthralling spectacle to be sure,” I remarked, “but I regret that I have another engagement and time is pressing – click, click clock!”

“You’ll be sorry! – click, click, clack!” exclaimed the dolphin as I waved and took my leave.

Jacques Cousteau was surely right about the ocean being a world of wonder, inhabited by the most extraordinary creatures, but I don’t intend to explore it for myself. Putting on a diving suit and squirming about like a fish is not the gorilla way. My hope is to discover the secrets of the deep from dolphins, who are far better equipped for that sort of work than we primates. First, I’ll have to persuade them to stop larking about and start patrolling the seven seas with cameras attached to their heads. It won’t be easy.

Here is their
theme song.

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Let’s just do it anyway, I love to laugh at the French. . .
The French do revere Cousteau, he was a Minister under the Mitterrand administration and was both a Member of the Academie Francaise AND a recipient of the Legion d'Honneur. Although as underwater Frenchmen go, I prefer Jean-Marc Barr in Le Grand Bleu. Which incidentally is also the name of Roman Abramovitch’s yacht, the second biggest private yacht in the world.
I also do offering link exchange with you bloging. I like do fluid exchange too. You like my face and hands?

My favourite Frenchman is Renee from 'Allo, allo'. There was a man who knew which side his baguette was buttered.
Ahh, the lure of the deep blue.
I have a very good friend who was born and bred in Fiji and I have to constantly remind him that dolphins are for eating and humans for fornicating with, not the other way around.
Landlubber and the sea don't mix well in the longterm.
That also brings me to wonder as to why exactly that sting ray fatally stabbed the overly enthusiastic Steve Irwin, was he getting a bit fresh?
This Barr chap seems to be an actor, milady. Are you sure it wasn't a stuntman that caught your attention?

Goodballoon, dammit, I wanted to delete the first comment but now have to leave it in so your one makes sense. And I don't believe you about Renee. You're the type who'd be a fan of Antione de Caunes and Eurotrash .

Zuba, it wouldn't surprise me. Irwin, peace be upon him, was an obsessive beast-hugger.
Monsieur de Caunes has a great deal to offer; he is a splendid gentleman with a good eye for irony and a fine head of hair, but he is no Renee. That man single-handedly kept the resistance movement alive in that town whilst having multiple affairs. He couldn't be more french! He's almost one-dimensionally so.

Thank you for keeping the first comment in. If only everything else I wrote was given such context.
The French, don't you know, believe they have redeemed themselves by providing what they consider to be the greatest cuisine in the multiverse. Clearly they've never tried Tau Cetean arkpak thermidore.

As for to dolphins, I'm directing Granny towards them as we speak. She seems to recall that having met a romping rabbit, there was also a friendly dolphin close by...
I remember Cousteau. A very good place to see dolphins is Cromarty Firth but have never had a desire to swim with them. Whales are great to watch just off Vancouver Island. I have done a lot of travelling but the one thing I haven't done is a safari or Africa at all and I do rather hanker after it.
Love Jacques Cousteau ... there's just something about a french accent...
You can see Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins swimming alongside the ferry to Stornoway sometimes. Your post confirms my suspicions about they're being the romeos de la mer. On more that one occasion I've seen a dolphin wink up at me and I'm now sure that it was an obscene suggestion that big one was making with his flipper.

On an unrelated note, I used to always think, when I was a girl, the there was something very depressing and mass-gravey about a tin of sardines, particularly the ones in tomato sauce. I never wanted to eat them but could never fully explain why, so was made to.

Horribly enough, I love them now.
their being the romeos lalalalalalala
I have quite the shark phobia. It's irrational, really, since I rarely go into the ocean and never past my knees. But did you know sharks can attack in 3 feet of water? And some dude got bit by great white off the Oregon coast on Christmas a year ago. No fooling. It's freaking cold up here, but they're so bloodthirsty, they don't care. So maybe it isn't irrational. Maybe people should stop making fun of me about it. Assholes. Stupid fucking sharks with their stupid dead eyes.
Atyllah: dolphins may have more than granny can handle.

Pat: I hope you still get a chance to visit Africa, but if not there are some visually stunning documentaries you could watch.

Hello Laverne, nice to see you here! Everyone say hello to Laverne, the working mom who does yoga! Antoine de Caunes is another Frenchman with an accent worth hearing.

Are you sure it was a flipper, Sam? They are very well endowed. Don't you ever miss eating guga?

Kara: I don't like sharks, but I'm surprised they'd attack someone standing in 3 feet of water. It's normally people paddling on surfboards that attracts them.
Fascinating! I have always believed that dolphins could talk, and you have done it!! Its more important than ever that we stop the tuna fishers killing dolphins! You need to get the evidence together and show them and stick it to the man! Once and for all!!

But, well fuck the French...Don't you agree?
I can't see why you're so anti-French, Mutley, it's the one place in the world where you'd be allowed to go around fouling pavements willy nilly.

No it wasn't Jean-Marc Barr now I come to think of it. It was Jean Reno, who played Enzo Molinari. Tanya Streeter the last but one world free diving champion was a student of the real life Enzo.
Without the French there would be:

no garlic
no stripey t-shirts and berets
no phallic bread
no bad disco music
no champagne
no reason to learn french
no illegal tobacco/booze trips
no badly dubbed films
no Brigitte Bardot
But there would be:
more snails
more frogs with limbs

And Daff, I don't think Mutley was being 'anti'!
Without France there would be:-

A big hole in the map of Europe
A channel tunnel that ended in the sea
A couple of very one-sided games in the Six Nations
No trips to gay Paris
Less arguments in the European Parliament
A huge island called Spain (hooray)with mountains on the beach

But I did like Jacques Cousteau
and I don't like Sharks (not even in soup) or strange people asking for links to there blog
Mutley: unless you are referring to a poodle that caught your fancy, the answer is 'No'. The French are funny in a variety of different ways.

Lady Daphne: you are a mine of information on your Gallic brethren. They should present you with the award they gave to Sharon Stone.

Minx: Brigitte Bardot was bigger than any nation and would still have existed. Perhaps she would have been Swiss.

Spanish Goth: If France vanished under the sea, would Britain still be a European country?
I have heard many stories about these dolphins and how they secretly live off balloons, and not tuna, as I was lead to believe.

Please check fro me, next time you see one.
I would think that Britain would still be European, unless all the froggies swam and jumped on Britain as their own country sank like Atlantis and managed to sink Britain. But perhaps then we would all develop gills and live underwater and we too could converse with the dolphins, and laugh at them cos they only had blow-holes but we'd gone the whole hog-fish and developed gills, like Mermaids, but without the fishy tales, and without beckoning sailors to come and crash on our rocks or anything, except they couldn't because our rocks were underwater, unless they were in submarines, which I suppose they could be. *wipes brow* Phew. Glad I got that off my chest...

Effectively, Yes.
Goth, it's a bit early in the day to be on the sauce. Sober up man, or you won't be able to fully appreciate the wonder of MOI on Thursday at the blog-up.
Ha ha - hate to tell you this my dear but my brain works that way when I am sober ;-)
I think you are being unfair to the French and Sharks.

For a start sharks are the only fish that can blick with both eyes at the same time! (true - tell your dolphin friend that)

The French have a better standard of living than us, more holidays and a nicer country. Oh! I know why we hate them now
or even "blink"
As for sharks I actually managed to speak to shark once but their conversation was very boring.

Mostly about what idiots dolphins are.
More unemployment in France. It's not all kir and oh-hi-hong-hi-hong over there these days. Hopefully the gorgeous Segolene will set things right when she wins the elections. Oh dammit, I remember now I bet Bert a bottle of champers that Sarko would beat her.
After watching "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", I've never been able to look at the ocean in the same way again.
Now I know why I looove dolphins. You would never get that wit in a man :-)
Criticism is easy! The French answer is required, and obligatory!
You will have to even translate you, and will note that your translation appears random.

Les philosophes français sont réellement idiots.

Le choix des héros français, n’est surement pas celui que vous croyez !

Le commandant Jacques-Yves Cousteau est adulé des français, il figure dans le haut du classement, En 1930, il entre à l'Ecole navale et devient officier canonnier. Il suit une formation de pilote, il subit un accident de voiture très grave qui met fin à sa carrière d'aviateur, Avec l'ingénieur Emile Gagnan, il met au point le scaphandre autonome, "Le Monde du silence", (Palme d'or du Festival de Cannes) Légion d'honneur, promu au rang d'Officier, membres étrangers de l'Académie des sciences des Etats-Unis, les Nations unies lui décernent le prix international pour l'environnement, Il reçoit la médaille de la liberté du président des Etats-Unis, élu à l'Académie française, pour ma part il figure au panthéon des grands hommes.

Tout comme Henri Grouès, dit l’Abbé Pierre prêtre catholique français, résistant puis député, fondateur en 1949 des Compagnons « d'Emmaüs », une organisation caritative laïque, mondialement connue.

Drama…vous avez tout à fait le droit d’en rire.
Daphne…Madame Daphne est pleine de bon sens.
Atyllah…La cuisine française est l’une des meilleures au monde, n’en déplaise à ses détracteurs.
Minx…Le béret est basque, corse, catalan ! Le pain phallique ? Peut-être une référence au pain parisien, (il m'est arrivé au Japon ou aux Etats-Unis, que l'on me dise fièrement : " Nous avons du pain français " JACQUES CHIRAC)
les grenouilles j’en ai plein dans mon bassin ! Elles ne chantent pas la marseillaise, croasse que ? Et je n’en ai jamais mangé de ma vie ! Les films mal doublés ça c’est certain !
Sans la France La marée noire de l’Erika, était pour nos amis Belges, Allemands et Suisses, et l’Angleterre ne serait qu’une ile perdue aux milieux de l’atlantique et des requins !

Very, very good subject Mr Gorilla Bananas, thank you
It's true: dolphins are the rabbits of the sea.

In fact, they are so randy they have been known to swim upside down and have sex with all kinds of passing fauna, whales etc.

This is absolutely true - you can ask any scientologist.
Monsier Dip-Dop: I think your comment is definitive. Thank you for correcting my errors. Perhaps the French should celebrate 'Cousteau Day' instead of 'Bastille Day' to make themselves better understood.

Tickles: Some years ago a man was arrested for hand-relieving a dolphin in front of women and children.

Frobisher: I intended the piece to be pro-French rather than anti-shark.

Mosha: 'Balloons filled with what?' is the obvious question.

Freelance: sharks are in no position to call anyone idiots. They are, in fact, the village idiots of the ocean.

Kim: What these films never make clear is that in the ocean, the dolphin is Batman and the human is Robin.
This 'balloon is filled with one thing and one thing only...
Helium. That's why their calls are so high pitched. It's so they don't get each other confused with Whales.
Dear GB,by now you know full well that humans are peculiar beings;human females are that all the more. I have a thing for French men speaking with their silly accent,carrying baguettes under their armpits and yes,having a debatable taste for national heros - although I have outmost respect for whoever is passionate enough about any given aspect of life to make it appealing to the masses:revealing the beauty in fish,priceless.
There is no "normally" with those fucking aquatic monsters. Don't let "Jaws" fool you...they can be subtle sons of bitches.

I will now go on a 30 state tour of high schools with a "Sharks...The Ulitmate Frienemy" presentation. It will include a slideshow. A bloody, bloody slideshow. Call me now for bookings!
Bonsieur Mr B, I've been a wonderin - is there such a thing as a gay gorilla?
Miss Chick: I agree that certain fish are quite attractive and we should thank Jacques Cousteau for highlighting them.

Kara: Sharks are cowards if you hit them on the nose. You are the kind of woman who would make a shark piss in its pants.

Muttley: Yes. There was a gorilla called Passion Fruit who took a male chimpanzee as its 'mistress'.
En garde, le gorille - Monsieur Dip Dop is something of a D'Artagnan ! He certainement defended the honneur of underwater frogmen. And frog men. Bravo, Crabtree!
I didn't like what Cousteau's sidekick, Dumas, used to do to the groupers.
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