Tag Archives: Napoleon

Obama ate a fish who knew Lincoln

bottom feederFishermen have always called it the Slimehead fish. It’s sorta-scientific name is Darwin’s Slimehead. But when bottom-of-the-barrel scraping began for the ocean’s remaining fisheries, fishmongers created a market for the never-thought-palatable deep bottom feeder by renaming it the Orange Roughy.
 
That much you’ve probably heard before.

Really, what’s in a name? A fish by any other name will smell too. Is there a fish story without hyperbole, that does not smell fishy? The idiom comes from the experience-honed doubt that the fishmonger’s catch is not fresh. People know steak is dead cow, so does it matter that Orange Roughy is Slimehead, Monkfish is Goosefish, Rock Salmon is Spiny Dogfish, or Tilapia is Mouthbrooder?

Actually Israeli exporters wanted to give Tilapia a biblical makeover, asserting the Tilapia from the Sea of Galilee, should be called St. Peter’s Fish, but US regulators intervened. In the Gospel of Matthew 17:27, apostle Peter tells tax collectors where they can go. In more than that many words he tells them to go fish, and from the mouth of the “first fish they catch,” they will find the four drachmas he owes them. The FDA didn’t buy it either. By the way, if you doubt Wikipedia has Zionist preoccupations, sniff the first paragraph of their entry for Tilapia. Maybe we are about to see whether Wiki momentum can surfeit the vernacular.

The US government also intervened when fish wholesalers wanted to rename the Patagonian Toothfish as Chilean Sea Bass. It’s not a Bass. And the poor Teethfish, like the Slimehead, are now endangered.

Because man’s traditional food fishes have become depleted, we’re having now to make meals of the dregs. And the populations of these deep sea dwellers have less resiliency than the coastal stocks. In the case of the Toothfish and the Slimehead, it’s because they grow very slowly. The Slimehead can grow to be 150 years old. They don’t become sexually reproductive until they are 33, and that’s not in dogfish years. Fishing operations which harvest entire sea mounts decimate every generation at once, leaving none who can spawn.

Would it give you an unsettled feeling to consume something so ancient? If we’re talking a pre-Phylloxera wine, it could be a great thing. But a fish that old has been absorbing mercury from the height of the industrial revolution onwards. So there might be a health benefit for showing deference to your fish elders.

It recently upset me to learn that with modern agriculture we eat cattle before they’re two, when they’re barely adolescent. Now I wonder what’s too old. We revere elephants and tortoises for their longevity, such ancient beings we don’t eat.

I’m old enough to remember learning about the old carp in the fountains of Paris, who also lived quite long. French schoolchildren could marvel that some carp still lived who might have glimpsed Napoleon.

A Slimehead Orange Roughy caught today could have lived in the time of Lincoln. Certainly those fish drag-netted in the 1970s, when the Orange Roughy exotic star was contrived to rise, were contemporaries of John Wilkes Booth. Though swimming many thousand feet below sea level, Roughy might have encountered a fresh shipwreck of Lincoln’s era, carrying gold sent from the west coast to finance the Civil War.

Today finds Americans awaiting their and their fellow man’s emancipation from war, torture, illegal detention, economic enslavement, usury, exploitation, impoverishment, enfeeblement and poisoning. Since just the new millennium Americans learned quick to participate again in their political system. They elected what many thought impossible, an African American president. The voters placed all their hope in Barack Obama, and their faith in party politics foretold that Obama’s majority would deliver the mandate he was given. Obama’s first days were anticipated to rival FDRs. Obama’s legacy could already be measured for laurels because it meant simply reversing the calamity of his predecessor. By such a deliverance alone, it was visualized, Obama would stand beside Abraham Lincoln, America’s greatest president.

Abraham Obama may be an unjustly loft comparison, as wanting to believe Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. But what else was an expectant public to do? They put him in office, they believed his promises. He spoke of change, they wanted change. What swiftly Bush had done, they wanted undone. And Obama assured all that he heard them.

And has it worked out that way? Obama’s speeches begin where the last one ends. They’re long, they’re reasoned, but where at first Americans reveled at a suddenly well-spoken president, now they wish he’d stop talking and start doing. Apparently “yes we can” meant “you can wait” –more likely “hi Mom” or “cheese.” Now the hand which Obama raises so famously to give assurance, is looking more like just the hand.

It may be dawning on many that this junior senator from Illinois didn’t have to debate Frederick Douglas, build a log cabin, read Aristotle by candlelight, or climb a long leadership ladder to get to Washington DC. It may be occurring to them that Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, was the only accomplishment they’d seen of this unknown senator from the land of Lincoln.

An Orange Roughy served on fine porcelain may turn out to be the only thing our President Obama shares with Abraham Lincoln.

And very likely, you ate one too. So if stone-carvers are already bidding on the project to add someone’s face to Mount Rushmore, your likeness may be as appropriate as any.