Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Whale's Tale

Well, it's not often that one gets the chance to type whale and scandal in the same sentence, but I have my chance today. As difficult as it is to believe, a Los Angeles area (Santa Monica to be precise) restaurant has been caught serving whale to its customers. Why any business would risk its survival by illegally selling the flesh of an endangered species is beyond me, but the owner and chef of Hump, a fashionable eatery, popular with the rich and famous of SoCal, are in jail for doing just that. Needless to say Hump's business license is probably going to get pulled, and just to make things dicey for Hump, the restaurant's landlord is the city of Santa Monica, and it's highly unlikely that a town once referred to as the people's republic isn't going to cancel the restaurant's lease.
Yes, I am glad that the chef and owner of Hump are likely to serve some time for serving whale. If violating laws meant to protect endangered species result in nothing more than a fine and some community service, well why even have a law in the first place. But what I really want to know is, who was ordering whale? At $600 a meal, there aren't too many working class types eating whale. The customers for such exotic and expensive food have to be the previously mentioned rich and famous. My guess is that there are credit card receipts with some recognizable names on them that can be linked to whale consumption. If an ordinary, poor or middle class person gets caught buying something illegal there are penalties to pay. Depending on what's being purchased and whether or not the purchaser has a criminal record, punishment can range from probation to serious jail time. Why should a famous Hollywood agent, actor, studio chief, or just plain old rich guy not have to go to court and say, "Sorry, my bad." I'm not arguing for major jail time, but a nice fine and a few weeks picking up garbage along the streets of L.A., or more appropriately, coming the beaches for litter, would be a reminder that actions have consequence.

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