Rob Beschizza at 11:47 am Thu, Nov 19, 2009
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I saw this a few days ago and am still trying to get the horrible site of an animal being tortured out of my mind.
For the record, I’m not a vegetarian. I even own a hunting license.
…but where’s the humor, or amusement, in watching an animal suffer horribly?
I’ve heard that they beat dogs to death in Korea with baseball bats to make them more tender. Maybe you could have a video of that?
Or I’ve read some utterly horrific stories of children being “punished” with boiling water. A video of that would be a delightful addition to the front page.
Seriously – what’s wrong with you that you think that displaying horrible degrees of suffering like this is acceptable in a palce that’s billed as ” A Directory of Wonderful Things” ?
The reason they beat dogs to death in Korea is so that they have “fight or flight” chemicals flowing through their blood at the moment of death, and in theory increase manliness. As far as I know, dog is a dish rarely eaten by women.
That’s the middle kingdom between Heaven and Earth, keepin’ it classy.
Hey, that’s a good line! Thanks…
Put MOAR horrific pictures of half-fried live animals on the front pg plz.
Can we get some disfigured humans too? Maybe a graphic still from that Russian bludgeoning murder that’s been going around. Fascinating stuff!
> I refuse to click the play button. I’ve read about this video, and I don’t want to see the poor fish suffer. This is more than just animal cruelty, it’s completely and utterly evil.
Can we have some context? Practical joke or horrendous event?
Without further explanation or sources, what is the point of this?
Side note: Nothing against kanji, posting in English on a Japanese language blog would be as bewildering.
Hideous. Thanks for warning me.
The fish is Alive. It is prepred by losley wrapping its head and gills in a very wet towel to allow it to breathe whilst its body is quickly cooked over a hot Grill. I’m sure its nerve endings would be quickly burned out but I doubt the heat would be allowed to penetrate deep enough to stop the heart and organs from functioning. So yes this fish is alive. No its not a reflex action and yes I find this video is truely vile. I cannot understand why BB would post it without some context
I have read nearly a hundred entries from people proclaiming that the dish is cruel. I agree, that style of preparation is for all intents and purposes ‘Playing With You Food’, very much like a cat does with a mouse.
I’m curious to know how many of you (non-vegetarians) would eat at a restaurant where you are presented with small live animals; Chicken, Duck, Fish, Piglet, Goat, and Baby Cow for the purposes of this hypothetical place. You get to select your animal, and then the dinner guests are led through the killing, butchering, and cooking process, the evening culminating in a meal killed, butchered, and cooked by the guests.
Would anyone else be interested in experiencing the process of taking food from living to eaten? It is an experience that few get to have in the modern age; and I for one would pay to have it.
Thanks, BLAST 420.
Take note, Rob Beschizza, you too can add context to your posts with a simple wiki link.
Posting this without information was a jerk move.
the beating of the animals has nothing to do with tenderizing and everything to do with the superstitious notion that animals that are afraid are more tasty and tender due to “fear juices”.
it’s a sad and horrific and a typical example of human hubris towards the rest of the planet.
You said: “it’s a sad and horrific and a typical example of human hubris towards the rest of the planet.”
We are definitely NOT the Superior Beings on this planet, are we!
However it is true that terror causes Nancies to secrete a hormone that makes their pelts more lustrous:
Could there at least be a warning about the content of the video, the title isn’t descriptive enough if someone hasn’t heard about this before. This is the sort of thing you wish you could wipe off your eyes after you’ve seen it – I don’t think people should be unwittingly exposed to it.
I hunt, fish, and am not vegetarian…. this act is an example of unnecessary suffering caused by people who are moral and intellectual twits.
I was visiting a friend in Korea & there was talk about “cruel food” and the various dishes involved. Didn’t hear of this one though. He told me a lot of people there will not eat seafood unless they see it swimming in the tank first. From what he was told it was more a matter of people not trusting the delivery of fish meat, so it’s more a matter of not getting sick.
I did eat eel that was writhing skinless under a glass dome on a grill for a short time, but this is a whole different level.
“UNICORN CHASER! STAT!”
yeah, no thanks. Would rather watch this vicious attack of cuteness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNS6SUe-kGc&NR=1
I hate my species.
The stockyards used to be a must-see Chicago tourist destination, watching terrified pigs get picked up by one hind leg and killed, or cows getting a sledge hammer to the head.
Today I think a lot of new vegetarians would emerge at the end of the tour. Maybe that’s the point of this post?
An example of food fetishization, in which novelty of the consumed item is the prime motivator. Most, if not all cultures pursue this to some end. It is unfortunate.
My personal sensitivity is to food consumption contests. No less deplorable than this example in their way.
How many raw oyster eaters know their food is alive?
Wow, I will eat pretty much anything (I had some nice horse tartare this weekend), but that is seriously fucked up. Even the animals that we eat should be allowed some manner of dignity and mercy. If you eat meat, eat free-range and local.
“Wow, I will eat pretty much anything (I had some nice horse tartare this weekend), but that is seriously fucked up. Even the animals that we eat should be allowed some manner of dignity and mercy. If you eat meat, eat free-range and local.”
you lost me after the horse tartare part. That’s even more f–ked up than eating alive fish.
I highly suspect hte fish is actually dead, and it just twitching or whatever. The same way that corpses will sit up in the morgue, or whatever.
Not in any way a “Wonderful Thing”.
Thanks Rob. It’s a door opened – with a content behind it that people would like to pretend does not exist.
Interesting to see the argument being about neccesity (of it being shown, or the dish being prepared as such) when there is no option to blame the perpetrator of our disgust (the fish in this case – remember the research showing that the harder a torture victim screams, the more guilty the accomplis percieves the victim). Next step taken therefore is to either blame the messenger or to resolve our cognitive dissonance by trivializing the event as part of ‘normal’ provision of sustenance.
Fact is, we can live without eating animals. Our disgust shows a way out. Maybe not directly (Although i will certainly cut down my consumption of fish far more now too) but by not rationalizing away our dissonance we might get more real.
p.s. if anybody wants to take a closer look at the philosophical confusion around animal ethics I highly recommend A. Campora’s Corporal Compassion http://www.amazon.com/Corporal-Compassion-Animal-Ethics-Philosophy/dp/0822942852
I feel wretched, but can’t find anyone to blame.
This really needs a WARNING. Simply put, it grossed me out. I dig sushi. I kill things and eat them. I don’t torture and laugh at animals as they die. This is completely INAPPROPRIATE and even on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikizukuri) mentions its controversial practice. I think a WARNING as per its controversy and graphic nature is in order.
I appreciate the look at another culture and its eating habits, but its a little irresponsible to post something with no description or warning that depicts the prolonged death of an animal.
If anyone is wondering, the people are saying “OMG, I’m so scared. It’s so gross. It’s scary!”
And a man is say “we fried it in oil.”
Needs more than a mere unicorn. This needs the squee power of a baby chinchilla drinking from a tiny baby bottle.
Corpses that sit up in the morgue are not dead. They are undead, and as such, should not be eaten.
I understand the whole “this is our blog and we’ll post whatever the hell we want” thing but c’mon, don’t you think you fucked up just a little bit with this one? Maybe it’s the lack of context that’s so disturbing. Please let us know your thoughts on this particular practice Rob.
It’s an unpleasant but fascinating video. I recently started eating seafood, despite not liking the taste, on the grounds that it’s more humane and healthy.
But this reminds me that the suffering of the animal, and eating animals, aren’t quite the same issue. The former isn’t a blank check. Even if the fish is dead, this is totally fucked-up behavior.
@Rob Beschizza I recently started eating seafood, despite not liking the taste, on the grounds that it’s more humane and healthy.
Healthy and humane are not words I would use to describe fish consumption except under very rare and expensive conditions. Take a look here for starters:
Also, this post was super weak. You have a responsibility to provide context, otherwise it seems juvenile and prurient.
1) Typo in headline.
3) No, seriously: Why Did You Post This?
No context at all, just a video of unpleasant things. YAY.
I got better things to waste my time doing.
I think it isn’t a typo, but a fish-based pun
The fish is dead. Those are reflexes. Dead fish move for a long time. That is just a very fresh fish.
The people aren’t “torturing” it; it’s dead.
I am so tired of whiny city kids (mostly) freaking out every time they find out that meat doesn’t come wrapped in cellophane. It is made of animals. Animals with eyes. Animals with desires. Animals that very likely have emotions. That doesn’t mean they aren’t food.
We don’t eat people because cannibalism can very easily spread Creutzfeldtâ€“Jakob disease. And that’s it.
Stop whining and learn some biology, folks.
Or, better yet, go catch a fish, gut it, and cook it in a matter of minutes. You’ll see the same thing. The first time I ever ate fish that I caught myself, I was shocked to see how long the severed heads kept moving. Fish are not very complex animals.
If you can’t handle it, go vegetarian. But stay away from me if you don’t speak Japanese (I live in Japan). I am sick of having to quiz wait staff on the ingredients of everything to satisfy your selfish superstitions about food. Much of the world has no idea what a vegetarian even is. Stay home or learn to cope.
Then take a look at current human neuroscience. There is not much more than reflexes when it comes to the brain. Your thinking, feeling, movements, all are reflexes. No argument there.
The fish is alive. That’s the point of the dish. If you are as familiar with Japan as you claim you may be aware of the practice of ‘ikizukuri’ which is not uncommon. It is banned in some parts of the world. As is usually the case for the eating of people, although not for the fear of contracting CJD as you state, but rather, well because eating people isn’t all that cool in most cultures. You may wish to write this off as another “selfish superstition about food”. I wish you well on your endeavour to convert the world to soylent green.
I’m a vegetarian and I have no idea why people are upset by this. People eat animals. Get over it.
@Apreche I highly suspect hte fish is actually dead, and it just twitching or whatever. The same way that corpses will sit up in the morgue, or whatever.
Although it may not be true, I so desperately want to believe it because it made me feel so much better after watching some of that.
I’m pretty sure the fish is dead. I’ve heard about this cooking method a long time ago, and it’s possible that I was misinformed, but I remember something about wrapping the fish in towels or something as they cook it, and when it’s served it’s able to spasm like you see in the video.
The fish is clearly trying to breath…
This is horrific. NO thanks for sharing.
Way to post your Warning AFTER the link.
Kyle #121 – the reason you don’t eat other people may be because you’re worried about catching CJD, but I have other more complex and ethical reasons.
Amazing that YouTube won’t take this down, constituting “animal cruelty.” If this were any animal other than a fish- bird, mammal, whatever- would it stay up?
Boing Boing, you made my wife cry, and she’s a tough ol’ gal. This post seems very out of place on this website, and I’ve been a regular reader since ya’ll first began as a magazine. I eat fish, and I am aware that in their natural setting fish are commonly eaten alive. I am also aware that prey go into shock easily and quickly for that very reason. Nature provides. However, this is by no means “natural”. It troubles me greatly that we, as critters with (purportedly)the ability to reason, would consciously choose, for any purpose, to prolong the death throes of any living being. I do not agree with previous commenters, who, if I understand correctly, suggest that empathy is a merely a product of culture. In my opinion, this is decadence.
We need that “justice field” from Red Dwarf.
If you don’t like this video, then definitely do not watch the Outer Boroughs episode of No Reservations. (Well, don’t watch the Queens portion at least.)
So uh… I hear hyenas eat their prey while they’re still alive. What immoral and terrible creatures they are.
I’m not a PETA member or anything like that. I love sushi too. I’m not even particularly nice to animals. But this is some seriously fucked up shit, more for the mentality of the people who would do it than for the actual suffering of the fish (although that is sad too). Kill the frickin thing and eat it. Jesus H.
@Haineux I think it was a pun or play on words Plaice being a fish and all http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaice
Could be a Portmanteau of the words Places and Plaice.
I must have become pretty decenticised or whatever that word meaning “unable to evoke emotion in because of too many gross internet videos” is. But isn’t this actually kind of cool? I mean when I eat a piece of chicken, I haven’t had to look it in the eye and kill it, I just go down to the supermarket at get a piece.
I think that’s almost worse, when you think about the sheer number of animals killed everyday, what’s worse? one fish probably having a pretty good life for a fish and then suffering for a few minutes and die or 1000 chickens suffering their whole life (about one month) and then being slaughtered ever so “humanely”?
When I turned 5, my mother made Rabbit ragÃ¹ for my birthday dinner, from rabbits I had known since they were born and had cared for their whole life, it certainly was a dinner with mixed feelings of deliciousness and sadness, but thinking back I think my mom was pretty kick-ass for doing this. It taught me a valuable lesson, if I can’t kill an animal, I shouldn’t eat it.
It’s kinda scary, I felt so bad after felling a big tree once, I don’t actually think I could kill a cow, it’s just too darn big, but I certainly can enjoy a good steak, I’m a hypocrite by my own standarts :(
That is grotesque, but please bear in mind that ALL fish that you eat are essentially drowned (unless perhaps you might beat them to death yourself). When they are taken out of the water the surfaces of their gills stick together and they are unable to “breath” so they drown (in a very similar way to how we drown). I haven’t eaten fish for more than 25 years and if they start holding cows under water until they stop twitching I won’t be eating them either.
I’ve spent a good amount of time both commercial and sport fishing. I have no bones about killing fish, but I find this sort of thing to be outright disgusting.
A fish caught at sea typically gets a quick kabong on the head, lights out, where it’s then killed without being conscious of the fact. This, on the other hand is a creature gone to great length to be kept alive while eaten.
I guarantee without question, fish killed a few hours ago tastes exactly the same as fish killed before your eyes. No reason for this sort of seafood snuff.
I’m Chinese and this is anything but funny… I may like my fish fresh, but not THAT fresh! That’s just simply, cruel and barbaric. Well done China, I’m now ashamed to be Chinese.
It’s even not comforting in the least to know that fishes do not have a specific region in their cerebral cortex to feel pain.
this a horrible act. the heart’s still beating and its simple, piscine brain is going through stark terror and pain.
that people would do this is awful. worse that it would be filmed and posted. still worse that there’s so little outrage. the worst though is that some find amusement in this.
The video is descontextualized if it is not explained that this is common practice in many parts of Asia.
I don’t like it (heck, I don’t eat whole fish, I feel repulsed) but we should really think about what we don’t see in our own backyard.
Our chicken, cattle, pigs. Golly, you don’t want to know how they take it.
But you know what? Such is life. Killer whales torture seals, cats torture mice, we shouldn’t torture animals perhaps, but we do. The surprising thing is that many of us don’t or are repulsed by the idea.
I was working up some bile having to do with health care, the torture of distant humans, and forcibly induced climate change… all really abstract, hard to visualize problems.
But now, thanks to this post, I can forget all that stuff, and feel outraged that this practice is being celebrated on YouTube. I guess as long as there’s no copyright problem, it’s all good, right?
I suppose I should be grateful that there was a warning of what it was. I probably would have started the video if all I saw was that opening still.
Maybe if they had shown *this* in Lynch’s Dune, we’d have truly understood how awful the Harkonans were.
Something isn’t right.
A live fish can’t be picked apart with chopsticks. Fish hide is pretty tough.
Cooking a fish will kill it.
How is this fish both alive and tender enough to pick apart with chopsticks? Any asian freaky cousine experts that can shed some light on this?
The fish is very quickly fried from the neck down. For those asking, that’s why they can easily pull off flakes of meat. The “trick” is to only fry it long enough to cook the meat and not through to the organs thereby killing the fish prematurely.
This was shown on television on the show “The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World”. It’s still as disgusting and deplorable as the first time I saw it on there.
As others have said, this is cruelty for amusement. That fish clearly senses pain. There can’t possibly be any blood flow in the fried tissue, so I don’t see how there’s an argument for somehow having a fresher meal than say, chopping the head off and immediately frying & serving the dish.
This kind of stuff makes me want to see aliens visit our little planet who happen to find us simply delectable and watch people like this run for their lives.
In Soviet Union, corpses that sit up in the morgue eat you.
Kyle #121 Much of the world has no idea what a vegetarian even is.
Yeah, like India.
(And the reasons for not eating other people are far more complex than CJD, kuru and prions.)
Saint Kurt said “It’s okay to eat fish cause they don’t have any feeeeeelings.”
So, sure, I find this a pretty creepy way to eat a meal. Noe everyone or every culture has a lot of empathy for food animals. Factory farming, which supplies the bulk of the meat that Boing Boing fans eat, is really no less grotesque, you just don’t have to look at it. I just picked up the four lambs we had butchered. Their end was quick, and their grass fed life was good while it lasted, and I’m the one who processed their skins and sent them off for tanning. It’s a part of my desire to get a little closer to my meat, be a little more responsible about it. Maybe you don’t live in the country and can’t raise your own, but you can find out more about what you eat and how it lived, how it died.
This is horrendous of course, but it’s little worse than how fish normally die for food – hooked in the face, pulled so quickly from the water that their internal organs (and sometimes eyes) dislodge from the decompression, and then asphyxiation. But I guess it’s different when it’s on a plate. Eating fish is also more devastating environmentally than most people realize. For instance, More than 90% of commercially caught sea animals are “by-catch” — unintentionally caught and then thrown back into the ocean after suffocating.
human beings stand outside the natural order. our actions should never be compared to those of wild animals.
a quick death is something people who eat meat can provide to animals to minimize suffering. it’s our duty as supposed higher beings.
human beings stand outside the natural order
Well, might as well post this video where they eat dogs alive:
From teh Wikipedia article:
“The chef, who is most of the time a sashimi chef takes the animal out of the tank and filets and guts it, but without killing the animal, which is served on a plate, sliced, with the heart still beating.”
Some fish are incredibly resilient. Tougher fish, like the hard spiny rays, can have hearts that beat long after they’re cut out of the body. As long as the heart is still beating, and the fish hasn’t asphyxiated, this is totally believable. A live, skinned fish whose meat has been separated from the bone and sliced thin for consumption.
It’s very fresh, raw flesh and totally unnecessary.
on the aliens remark!
Just so you and everyone knows, that link was just to a dog playing… it wasn’t being eaten alive. o_0
Eating live food isn’t for me, but I just want to point out for the record that this is NOT less humane than the way much of our supermarket food is killed. Compare this to the video of baby chicks getting their beaks chopped off so they don’t peck their cube-mates, and the less profitable male chicks being throw into a grinder alive.
Aren’t we lucky that alone in the animal kingdom we normally don’t end our lives in terror and pain.
Rob, thanks for posting this. Despite what anyone may think, it was educational all around.
I have learned more about human nature by reading the posts. It’s kind of scary.
I wouldn’t have a problem if the fish was dead when they fried it, and they kept one half unfried so I could see the quality of the fish before it was fried. That I could understand. This I can’t understand.
Can’t fish, or any other animal for that matter, be of poor quality before they die? Low quality food may taste better at its freshest, like shitty pizza, but extreme freshness is no guarantee of tastiness. Seems like its more about drawing your attention away from the food.
Well, Rob Beschizza, it looks like you’ve got people feeling empathy for fish. It’s about damn time, too. Normally only the cute animals get it.
I personally wouldn’t want to eat a fish that was still moving, whether the spasms are postmortem or not. However doesn’t it strike anyone that all of this indignation at the dish (it being foreign to our method of eating an animal) is similar to the old cultural imperialism of the white mans burden?
We offer up disgust and anger over what amounts to another cultures choice, declaring them ignorant and evil. Are you all that much different from an British general looking to a group of natives and seeing a disgusting rabble who don’t share your good manners?
boingboing.net — the new rotten.com.
> I just want to point out for the record that this is NOT less humane than the way much of our supermarket food is killed.
Agreed. I’m a carnivore, but only buy meat that was raised and slaughtered in an ethical manner.
> Compare this to … less profitable male chicks being throw into a grinder alive.
FWIW, I’m convinced by the argument that the quickest, most humane way to kill something that ways an ounce is to crush it quickly. I’d never support throwing a large animal into a grinder, because it would have time to suffer, but I think it probably is the most human way to kill something of that size.
“A directory of wonderful things” ?
Saw this in a volume of the Iron Wok Jan manga. Always wondered if it was real or just something crazy made up for the manga. Sadly, now I know.
@danlalan – human beings stand outside of nature. we aren’t in the same category as other animals. our level of development sets us apart. natural laws don’t apply in the same way to humans as they do to other species.
darwinian evolution got us to where we are. do you really think that only the fittest biological specimens of h. sapiens sapiens are currently alive? nature can keep its own balance. it isn’t until we come in and upset natural order that niches decline and/or become ruined.
Interesting, people eat all kinds of animals without wanting to know how it ended up on their plate. There’s no better way to demonstrate the process on the plate itself then…
Even creepier than this I think is æ³³ãéª¨ (oyogu hone, swimming bones). They cut the meat from the side and quickly prepare the sashimi while putting the fish back in the tank, where it is able to swim around for a while with most of its skeleton exposed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLt3z4pG2Nc
It’s a fish.
Stop projecting human emotions into it.
@Opspin & Haineux
I think the title is likely a rhyming reference to the video ‘Faces of Death’ which i believe showed a variety of scenes of death and violence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faces_of_Death
Pretty ugly clip.
the post about the 10 year old girl getting tasered had me more upset than this one … it’s a fish! we eat them!
I have seen other kinds of live prepared sashimi … but never this way (is he half cooked? how can they pick pieces out so easily?) .. but then again .. it is a fish .. we eat them….
That’s korean they’re talking, although the kanji in the video title would refer to chinese. Poor little fish, it must have been rather afraid.
pain isn’t an emotion but a physical sensation. fish have a fully functional nervous system. they feel pain.
I agree they may feel pain, but does ‘feeling’ pain cause the fish to suffer? The state of suffering, no matter how you try to define it, is an emotion. So does the fish have emotion?
We don’t like the torture of people because it scars them for life and robs them of dignity. I don’t think a fish with a memory span of a few seconds can be scarred for life, nor do we normally consider fish to have dignity.
Suffering isn’t merely an emotion. It is a response to pain and a state of perception in a concious entity. Who are we to say what level of suffering the fish is experiencing? All we can derive from the video is that it is in pain. The perception of suffering in other living creatures is related to empathy. If we have no empathy for the pain of another being then we may not perceive its suffering. The ability to inflict suffering and to actually deprive enjoyment from it is sociopathic.
The reasons we “don’t like torture” are more complex than you state. We know torture is wrong because it is the wilful committing of harm against another, for whatever reason. It is the rejection of an empathic response to suffering and as such, actually harms both the torturer and their victim. In this case it is not the dignity of the fish that is at issue, but of the dignity our response to its suffering.
disclaimer: I am taking devil’s advocate because despite feeling that this practice is wrong, I want to be able to concretely enumerate reasons WHY it is wrong.
We perceive the fish suffering, although, to the extent of our knowledge all the fish feels is pain. Pain, in and of itself is not ‘bad’. It is just a feeling. Let us assume, then that the fish has no emotion (as in, the higher cognition of feeling, ie suffering), that what is ‘bad’ is the lack of empathy that the people who take pleasure in consuming this living fish display.
Hence our disgust is not at the fishes plight, but that people can show such little empathy (for the fish, but also in general). We are also equating our respect for the fish (and all beings in general) with our own dignity.
So, torture is taboo because it destroys the dignity of the tortured and, as a result, the torturer who forfeits his dignity, without regard to the ends.
Would this be a good way to put it?
I think there is something to the wilful wantonness of the behaviour that is striking and hence troubling. We know that we live in a harsh world where terrible things happen to people and other animals every day. Yet when we are confronted by the reality of it, be it photos of Abu Ghraib or meat grinder baby chickens, we’re forced to find place for it in our ethical world view. Perhaps what is so troubling is we know there is no such place for it to fit, without profoundly damaging ourselves. I believe this video illustrates something that we find enormously difficult to reconcile about our species and ourselves. Something about existence. Call it the shadow perhaps… Between the idea and the reality. Between the emotion. And the response.
Hey, so this wasn’t the Japanese “Billy Bass” commercial? Oh, MAN….I thought he was too quiet…
@21 & 42- thanks for the chasers. This made me go, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!”
It’s not so much sympathy for a fish that has me upset.
What I don’t get is the delight in suffering – why?
The warning is directly below the play button. I think it’s well placed.
I wouldn’t be able to eat the dish, but it is interesting to see what passes in other cultures. There’s an honesty here that sits at the opposite end of the spectrum from the processed-formerly-living-things-disguised-as-product that we are accustomed to.
I think it’s highly unlikely that this fish is still alive. I fish commercially in Alaska, and you can get these sort of responses from fish hours after they’ve been gutted, or even after the head has been removed from the rest of the body. I don’t think any animal could survive the cooking process.
This is a pretty common practice in much of Asia. I didn’t find this disturbing as much as the definning of sharks.
This video is much more despicable than if I told you that every now and then a child starves to death somewhere on this planet.
It is just a matter of exposure and habitualisation. These dying African kids are just annoying, for years they keep on starving and dying, and they are on loads of posters and in loads of ads that are to raise my awareness. But it is only this one fish that I see that comes to epitomize the cruelty of humankind â€“ and not these anonymous masses of starving kids. What is wrong with me? My neurons should know better.
From my perspective, this fish’s suffering is no different from the suffering of any other being on this (or any other) planet. This video gives us the opportunity to see suffering in a way that we do not normally. It is good that we are upset, it would be helpful and instructive if we thought about this often.
Oh and Rob; A bad pun does not constitute context. Saying it does won’t make it so. You left the readers to do all the heavy lifting. It’s lazy blogging and your carelessness is drawing you some ire. Deal with the criticism and do better next time. That’s all I’m asking.
“You left the readers to do all the heavy lifting. It’s lazy blogging and your carelessness is drawing you some ire. Deal with the criticism and do better next time. That’s all I’m asking.”
Most who have contributed to this thread understood the context perfectly well, and didn’t require any help from me. They know implicitly what they feel about what they’ve seen, and don’t need their ethical or emotional hands held to be able to express something interesting or salient about it.
Whenever something is ambiguously presented or stripped of context, there are always those who want to see it as laziness, or banality, or whatever form of moral disinterest they think ails the presenter. While all around them others are making hay, such folks always seem more interested in counting entitlements.
You believe it leaves others to do the “heavy lifting” but another person complained that it’s a “heavy handed moral lesson.” At least he credits the notion that this had a point, and that you don’t need to have it spelled out to you to find value in it.
I agree. I’d like to point out that I was ready for something gruesome not because I know anything about Plaice or Plaices, but because I figured that a dish of food with the title ‘* of death’ wasn’t going to be about cute little bunny rabbits. I don’t think that was ‘heavy lifting’
I think it’s actually kind of sad that people get so upset when they see something that they’d rather not. On some level or the other, everyone would like to ignore the things that are hard for them to deal with. If you didn’t like it, you shouldn’t have watched it the whole way through. I know its not the kind of thing most of you would seek out, and a comment like “Oh my god that was disgusting” or even “I hate you and will never read your stuff again” is “ok” (tongue firmly wedged in cheek), but don’t accuse him of putting too hard an intellectual burden upon you… that just seems a little wrong.
You completely misunderstand what I am saying. Context isn’t required because it’s shocking, it’s required because without it you are doing no more than holding up the milk carton and inviting your readers to ‘smell this’.
You are being equally lazy in cherry picking from my comment. I see a great moral value in the post and said as much in my full comment. You seem to reading way more into what I am saying than is actually there.
I’m a red-blooded meat-eater. I shot a deer last weekend and butchered it into roasts. I regularly club trout to death when out fishing.
And, without a doubt, the cruelty in that video completely disgusted me. I actually felt like crying. Seriously.
This isn’t done because there is no other option–this is done for novelty and that is, only in part, what makes it so reprehensible.
Rob, I do not agree that eating a live fish is the same as eating a dead one — but I can understand that to some people, it is.
You have played a mean trick on your trusting readers. This isn’t peta.org — people are not expecting a shock video, heavy handed moral lesson from a gadget blogger.
I hope you have appeased whatever it is that motivated you to do this.
See you in a few weeks.
The people who did this are scum. If you think this is ok you are also.
commission is worse than omission, onigorom.
There are not enough unicorn chasers in the world.
What bothers me most is that most people assume that their construction of ethics, being most popular in their immediate vicinity is THE absolute. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but something else could be right instead. Or there could be no right and wrong. I tend to believe that: think of Godel: there are true statements you cannot prove. The contrapositive is: there are false statements you cannot disprove. In this case saying n is true and ~n is false even though I cannot prove it is subjective, otherwise you’d be able to prove it.
If people in Asia think it’s fine to eat fish like that, its fine to eat fish like that in Asia. Unless you are trying to say that our morals are more true and more universal than theirs. Reminds me of how a kid came and told me in elementary how his religion is better than my religion because his is true and mine is false…
So what bothers you is a lack of moral relativism? Displaying disgust with extreme suffering (in this case of both the fish and the humans who seem completely ignorant of the suffering they are causing) is nothing like what happened to you on the playground.
The correct label for the belief you express here is nihilism and I am pretty sure that Godel would not support your hitching of his cart to that horse.
Whether Godel will allow me to reason or not is not particularly important, methinks. I don’t think eating a fish alive has anything to do with playgrounds. What I was referring to was that saying that YOU cannot do this in Asia because we in America don’t like it is a little arrogant. Unless you can prove that there is an absolute ethical system. I’m not sure that you can, either. I have no problem with saying that this is wrong, but I do have a problem with saying that I am absolutely correct.
@Dante — you are suggesting, then, that there are absolute ethics upon which society is based?
What I was referring to was that saying that YOU cannot do this in Asia because we in America don’t like it is a little arrogant.
Do you apply that to female infanticide, bride burning, stoning rape victims, etc. Or is it relative moral relativism?
Yes I do. Prove to me that it is wrong, and I will go and assassinate the people who perpetrate these injustices. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can without a subjective normative judgment or a lot of work. The best you can do is implement strong mobility to allow people to leave these places. I am not supporting or condoning female infanticide, bride burning, the stoning of rape victims, etc. But you have to be able to prove that the presumptions that lead to these actions are inferior to a set that does not lead to these actions, or that these results are logically inaccurate.
because, wrecksdart, one of the prevailing theories in Vietnamese cooking is that the fresher something is, the more profound the taste. they take this to an extreme and believe that the closest that you can get your meat to the moment of death, or dying, or if possible- still alive- the better the meal will be.
you can judge for yourself if it is right or wrong, i wont make that judgement for you (nor will i say i agree or disagree with you), but now you have taken at least one step to understanding what is happening here
Having grown up on a farm, I have killed my own dinner a few times, but NEVER would I have tortured the animals the way that fish was tortured. What the HELL is up with this CRAP?
This is really fucked up.
Well, I guess that’s the difference between those of us who believe that animals have consciousness (even if on a sliding scale), and those who don’t.
I don’t believe this fish has a consciousness, neither do I believe that my cat does. But this is not about consciousness, it is about pain and suffering and it sickens me. I won’t watch the video.
Rob sez: “I recently started eating seafood, despite not liking the taste, on the grounds that it’s more humane and healthy.”
Not necessarily, no. Nowadays, seafood is contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals, and the higher in the foodchain the fish is, the more mercury it contains. Plus, a lot of fisheries are not in the least sustainable. You may as well save your taste buds and go vegetarian. Or at least, reduce your meat consumption to the minimum required for a healthy diet that also minimizes both the animal suffering and environmental footprint. For most people, this is a meat meal once or twice a week.
unfortunately this has been going on for years.
i recall back in the 80s watching an old 70s tv cookery program where they did exactly the same.
the fish was gutted, sliced, stuffed with vegetables and, being held by the head, deep fried and served in around 2 minutes. the chef stressed the importance of speed, because if you took too long the fish would die before it reached the table.
things like this, cooking lobsters and halal butchering (to mention a few) need to be shown and discussed otherwise we all remain oblivious and politically correct to cultural sensitivities.
cruel is cruel and completely unnecessary in our so-called advanced world
Haineaux, you couldn’t be more wrong about my motives. Bye!
I was going to write something about how the Asian world has a real problem with animal cruelty. I mean, if you’ve ever visited a Korean dog farm, it’s an unholy place – except that most Koreans seem to treat their dogs like that, on two foot chains sleeping on concrete.
But you know what? It’s not that the west is more kind to animals, we’re just more hypocritical. We pamper little fido, give him baths and shampoos, love our cats and gerbils..and then we go out and eat a McDonalds hamburger, pay somebody money to keep and animal in a state of intense suffering and torture for every single minute of its short, miserable life.
In fact, the cruelty of this pales in comparison to the massive, pathological cruelty practiced on millions of animals every day in factory farming.
Yeah, this video is fucked up. But it’s NOT any worse than standard factory farming practices practiced around the world every day, and everyone should be aware that if they eat factory farmed meat you are paying you are paying someone to inflict far worse cruelty than this.
I hope that everyone who eats standard “meat” from the freezer aisle and it repulsed by this video recognizes the conflict there…
An interesting factoid is that, in the USA, “Land of the Free”(TM), possession and distribution of this video, or any other video that can be construed as animal cruelty, is a Federal Crime.
While it is unlikely that anyone — let alone you, O innocent-minded reader — will be prosecuted for this, it should be at least a little chilling that the entire US staff and readership of BoingBoing could be put in prison for this.
it should be at least a little chilling that the entire US staff and readership of BoingBoing could be put in prison for this.
They’ll go for HuffPo before they go for us.
the entire US staff and readership of BoingBoing could be put into prison for this
Great. Thanks a lot, Rob. ;)
Also, I’m picturing us all in one giant cell, like a massive county drunk tank.
This actually happened to us in Japan, about three years ago. We went to a small restaurant in Tokyo, and upon being told there was a fresh fish special, ordered it. Upon seeing that it was still moving slightly, several people refused to touch or even look at it.
We were assured that it was in fact dead, that the movements were postmortem. Still made it hard to, umm, tuck in. IIRC the movements stopped after about 20 minutes.
This reminds me of the time my boyfriend and I were Beijing at a restaurant where the couple sitting behind us ordered a fish dish. The server came from the kitchen with a live fish, the couple approved of it, and then the server put the fish in a bag and slammed it against the floor.
That is almost pythonian. I can just imagine John Cleese doing that.
I was in Kobe, Japan years ago at a fancy hotel where they unveiled whole fish that had been fileted on one entire side. All of them were gasping along the lines of this video except one that was inert. The staff was horrified and quickly removed the ‘dead’ fish. A couple minutes later they returned with yet another fish that was responding appropriately.
That’s messedâ€¦no, that’s fucked up. Now you’re being cruel for reasons I don’t understand. Just kill the damned thing and eat it.
I wonder: If the animal had fur, would this kind of treatment be okay?
I refuse to click the play button. I’ve read about this video, and I don’t want to see the poor fish suffer. This is more than just animal cruelty, it’s completely and utterly evil. The notion of “absolute freshness” is not able to justify something like this. (As is swallowing live oysters, by the way)
I second the okay-ness of eating live oysters.
Somehow, the knowledge that I’m slurping down dismembered organisms in the throes of death doesn’t affect the enjoyment I extract from the experience. The immediacy of it all makes them taste better to me in the same way eating a fish I’ve caught/speared and prepared myself does.
Maybe that feeling is what this restaurant is trying and spectacularly failing to resurrect with this Piscine Torture Fetish Plate.
I don’t think there’s any justification for eating a live fish in this situation and I agree with you, that this is cruelty. I will ask however, is it really evil? Is it evil when a bear catches a jumping salmon and bites down on it?