Lonely Whale

(10 points)

For war purposes there were hydrophones placed along the ocean floor which are microphones designed for the water to capture sounds. Initially they were used to capture the sounds of Soviet sub marines used during the war, but with all the wars over they discovered a different sound being picked up from the microphones. One acoustic technician believed it to be a whale, and with further analysis they claimed it to be precisely a blue whale. Fascinated that the hydrophones picked up a whale sound that had the frequency of 52 hertz. Blue whales usually send sounds that are between 15 and 20 hertz, this particular whale was exceeding that. Whales would “sing” to attract a mate or help find food. Due to loud volume that male blue whales could make they were considered the loudest animals in the world but this whale was different. Since he was unique and all the technicians knew about him was that he had a sound of 52 and he was a blue whale so they called him 52 Blue.

He was never in a group but alone, so he was the only one that had that frequency. A whale song would attract another but his seemed to attract no other whale. Eventually people gained feelings for him because he was alone, people assumed maybe he was deaf therefore couldn’t hear how loud he was, marine researchers were assuming that he was trying to tell others that he was out there. Maybe he was looking for another whale? or perhaps he hoped a specific whale was looking for him? People connected their own stories with him. Sooner than later everyone was associating themselves in some way. 52 Blue had a song from a singer named after him, an album was dedicated to him, and a sculpture was dedicated to him.

His sound was a sound of sadness for many, because he was so loud he had no mate or family. We can suspect that he wanted love but couldn’t find it. People associated him with bad relationships, death in families and sadness. People were actually moved by this whale and bonded and sympathized with it. The writer states, “One of the themes of Zeman’s film is modern loneliness, that people are particularly responsive to the story of 52 in the digital era—when the Internet promises connectivity but can actually deliver us even deeper into isolation.” I think this quote means that there is some type of fascination with this whale that it draws people in and allows them to not only connect emotionally but along the way give the whale a story of its own. The internet was invented for people to connect but then again its the same thing that may makes us feel isolated or want to be isolated. All whales have the ability to make this song-like sound to attract others yet it can’t attract another whale. Humans have the ability to use the internet to connect yet we may still feel like we are unable to connect with anyone.

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