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Blackfish

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SeaWorld does bad things.  They had an Orca, they didn't really want to have to give it up despite the fact that it was dangerous, and so they told themselves little white lies to make sure they could keep it, because it was worth mucho dinero.  It then ends in tragedy when it kills one of the handlers.

SeaWorld is a problematic place even aside from this story, and so I had a healthy dose of confirmation bias here.  I'm particularly not a fan of them cloaking their for-profit nature.  Almost every zoo and aquarium is either run by the government, or as a non-profit organization.  This has led Americans to take a few things for granted when seeing big animals: it's ingrained that this place is almost certainly a) transparent in their financial records and daily operations, and b) primarily designed as a cultural showpiece to educate the public and foster a sense of husbandry and environmentalism.  I'll grudgingly let them have the second point, but they completely fail on the first -- they are incredibly secretive.  Part of this is a longstanding feud between the save-the-whales faction and Seaworld, but a healthy dose of it comes from the fact that this is a for-profit institution, aimed at maximizing profit, and not particularly interested in letting public see anything that might make them look bad.  Transparency is fundamentally against the corporate model, and although SeaWorld wants you to have the warm fuzzies whenever you see a whale leap out of the water, they don't want you to think too hard about how they got a whale to leap in the first place.

It's not that the people in SeaWorld are evil.  Like most corporate mismanagement and sleazy behavior, the culture itself is corrupt.  People in the system believe that they are powerless, or that the ends justify the means, or that it's simply impossible for an organization like SeaWorld to do something bad.  The true corrosive nature of the establishment is the ability to get good people to do bad things collectively.

But I digress.  The movie is worth seeing.  It's an eye-opener if you don't know about the culture of SeaWorld.

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