Being a whaler in the 1700s is unarguably the most badass position of employment in the history of mankind. These dudes were hunting whales at a time when we didn’t even know what whales were. For all intents and purposes, they were giant unforgiving sea monsters the size of boats, demons from the abysmal ocean sent to the surface to punish the white man for that kind dick move we pulled on the Native Americans. And Mexicans. And black people everywhere. And even the English, and perhaps as a precursor for when we’d ultimately make up those lost years of oppression that the Asians somehow managed to avoid for centuries in two days by dropping a couple miniature versions of the sun on them.
But these water demons were hunted down and killed, and for what? So you, as a 18th century corn husker had some oil in your lamp to read at night. Whalers were benevolent servants of the public’s desire for leisure.
But not everyone appreciated these unsung heroes of the aquatic world (in fact, I think I might be the first one in the history of ever to really reflect on it). There were those that were on the side of the whale, and in modern times that seems to be most people, what with this “save the whales” business and all.
But there were those even in the late 1700s that opposed whaling, thinking that there were alternatives to mass murdering sea giants and that maybe we should focus on trying to invent light bulbs or something. They were sympathetic to the whales, who didn’t mean to have such a high commodity attached under their whaley flesh. These people wanted to help the whales.
This did not prove to be a universally popular opinion. As infamously quoted by 18th century whaler, Ironcock McGraniteballs, “Whales are traitors to all mammals. They rejected the miracle of legs, they went back to the sea, they chose the way of the fish. Let the fish help them.”
Over time, an ex-whaler named Lovepunch Killmaster gained popularity among the silent supporters of whale’s right. A divide opened within the whaling community, and eventually the country, as people struggled to decide what should be done about whales.
The Great Whale Problem Of 1792 began to escalate as both side of the debate shifted their focus from what to about these whales to having cock measuring contests and brief laps of opiate fueled insanity with one another.
McGraniteballs advocated a “kill all whales wherever whales are” approach and offered no way of conserving their population, despite his own livelihood depending on the continuation of the whale species while Killmaster began petitioning to build government funded whale houses offshore and offering the whales a special kind of subsidized student loan at state universities.
Meanwhile, with all resources being devoted to out arguing the opposition, stores of flammable whale oil began seeping out into the ocean. A spark caused by a lightning storm ignited the oil, and coastlines everywhere exploded, kill everyone, and a lot of a whales as well.
Since that day, modern politicians have taken up the tactile methods of problem solving utilized by these completely exploderated whalers. Things seem to be going as expected.