Today’s exploding whale (caution: graphic photographs) is brought to you by dumb researchers at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan:

Residents of Tainan learned a lesson in whale biology after the decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours.

The 56-foot-long whale had been on a truck headed for a necropsy by researchers, when gases from internal decay caused its entrails to explode in the southern city of Tainan.

I say “dumb” because this kind of problem can 1) be reasonably expected, and 2) be at least somewhat contained by covering the dead whale with a tarp or something.

You may be wondering what other exploding whales I have in mind that I would call this one “today’s” exploding whale. Well, there was a now-infamous incident in Florence, Oregon that occurred in 1970.

What was remarkable about that incident was not merely that the authorities decided that TNT was an ideal method for disposing of a beached whale carcass, nor the fact that large chunks of whale were subsequently responsible for damage to nearby cars, but that a local news crew caught the entire incident on video.

Dave Barry, not surprisingly, wrote a column about that one.

But the thing about the exploding whale in Taiwan that really makes it special, is this:

“More than 100 Tainan city residents, mostly men, have reportedly gone to see the corpse to ‘experience’ the size of its penis,” the newspaper reported.

I am, of course, resisting the urge to make a really bad joke about a certain Melville novel, the species of the whale in that novel, its name, and the MSNBC headline on the story.

UPDATE: The video link above now goes to a site that actually downloads the film in less than a zillion years.

16 Responses to “The Amazing Exploding Whale of Tainan”
  1. Melinda says:

    *whines* All this graphic footage and you couldn’t include a picture of the penis?! For shame!

  2. Anne Haight says:

    Well, there wasn’t one with the news story, but if you really want to know…

    Gray Whale

    Species Unknown

  3. Low-Tech Redneck says:

    [Ed. Note: I moved this comment out of the wrong blog entry. Hope you don’t mind, LT. :)]

    The Oregon Highway Dept’s “Whale Removal” video is one I’ll always enjoy watching. THe priceless moment is the delay between the explosion and the rain of blubber, the crowds reaction, slowly changing from amusement to horror at being pelted by blubber is funny stuff

  4. Classical Values says:

    Another portentous story involving death — sexed up by the BBC?

    Will the BBC ever quit sexing up stories? I mean, it’s one thing to report a death, but it just strikes me as degrading to get into gory, gooey details about exploding body gases and decomposition and stuff. But for…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is it me or are Japanese men absolute freaking wierdos when it comes to sex? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a sexual wierdo (sadism and pedophilia excluded), but I just don’t think a bunch of Americans (or even Germans) would be really all that interested in seeing a giant dick.

  6. Anne Haight says:

    Well, for starters, Tainan is not in Japan. The people in question are Taiwanese.

    Additionally, many eastern cultures have religious beliefs around the symbolism of male and female duality. The penis is an ancient, traditional emblem of the male half of duality, the male force in the universe.

    There is also the obvious fertility symbolism. I mean, a sperm whale’s penis is like 5 feet long.

    And if something like this happened in the US, I honestly do think that a rather large number of people would turn out for a gawk at the huge whale dick.

  7. Low-Tech Redneck says:

    I get the feeling that person has never seen the caliber of person who joins a college frat in this country….

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maybe I should simply just expand it to Asians.

    Have you ever seen anime porn?

    And with regard to a frat boy they are boys. These are supposedly adults trying to experience a very large penis. It’s as infantile as it is bizarre.

  9. ting says:

    Perhpas I am somewhat biased because I am Taiwanese, but c’mon! Assuming that the report of Taiwanese men gathering merely to “‘experience’ the size of its penis” is accurate, I feel the need to say that culturally, the Taiwanese are a lot less sex-obsessed than Americans. (Again, anime is Japanese, not “Asian”.) And if this happened in the U.S…please! Tons of people, frat boy or not, would go check out the rumored large whale penis.

  10. Catbarloo says:

    I know I would

  11. James says:

    I am a US ex patriot living in Taipei, Taiwan and my observations are that Taiwanese men are just as penis obsessed as any red-blooded american male. Sure you might find it odd (because you might not be comfortable with your sexuality) but I would imagine seeing a huge dick would be funny, although a bit sophmoric. Whats wrong with having it as a laugh.

    The odd thing is i find that most the people here will laugh about a penis (i even visited a friends house over chinese new year and they had a penis piggybank) but will they talk about sex or engage in it? No. I would say they are more repressed than your average american male, and any outward homage to the penis stops there.

  12. jerkweed says:

    Have you people even read Moby Dick? There’s a whole chapter dedicated to them cutting off a sperm whale’s penis, and wearing it as a cossack, and running around pretending they were some kind of huge penis priest. And you’re critizing some people for wanting to just LOOK at it?!

  13. Yi says:

    What’s wrong to watch a penis of whale? I guess people who think it is dumb or funny are too sensitive to the “sex”. Actually, I think only 100 people came to “take a look” of this penis is not as much as I expected. I am a Taiwaness girl, I would like to see it if I had a chance, it is just something unusually, interesting, and worth to study, and maybe I could only see it once in my life.

    In fact, I feel sick about the sex culture here (I am in US). I got lots junk emails everyday showing how important the size of penis is, selling drug to enhance it and showing it through email even I told them to stop it. The “sex” shows in the cable are not healthy either. I am so worried to put my children under this environment in the future.

    Think about yourself first then talk about others later. Look what happened in the super bowel. It is ok to show your naked body, but it is wrong to have a girl naked in the public. I just don’t understand why people here are blaming her more than blaming him.

    I just want to tell you the differences of cultures. Other people’s cultures are for respect and taking as a mirror to correct ourselves’, but not for making fun or taking it to show how well developed we are. I do believe US is doing this very well compared with other countries, and that’s why I came here for study.

  14. Lindsay Rae says:

    I just had to say that if somethin like that was coming through my town that I too would go to check it out, after all it’s not like something like that happens everyday (the whale, not the exploding part). And since nationality seems to be becoming such an issue in this discussion, I happen to be Canadian.

  15. matt byrd says:

    Those who wanted to seeMoby’s Dick…

    http://www.geocities.com/matt_byrd/whale.jpg

    Here is a Killer Whale (Orca orca) that is getting special handling at Sea World?. Found on the Web, don’t know the story behind the meat harpoon.

    Matt

  16. Vereen says:

    Are there more testimonials around the site?

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