Friday, April 24, 2009

OnlineSpin: Let Beached Whales Die

Last week Max wrote "Why Inventing Matters."

Pamela Principe-Golgolab wrote in response, "Max - Awesome!

This comes at a perfect time, when we are promoting a group of 8th graders from Chester, NJ, who just won first place in the state for their inventions in the Destination ImagiNation program -- a worldwide, school-supported creative problem-solving program.

I agree, we need more creative thinkers -- and real teamwork.

Love your posts!"

Friday, April 24, 2009
Let Beached Whales Die
By Max Kalehoff

The New Scientist is one of my favorite publications -- especially its online version. It was launched in 1956 "for all those men and women who are interested in scientific discovery, and in its industrial, commercial and social consequences." It's punchy, smart and entertaining.

The New Scientist is also where I find many counterintuitive gems -- eerily metaphoric of big issues elsewhere. Consider its recent report on beached whales: "Large whales that strand themselves should be killed, as any attempts to save them are probably futile and likely to cause more suffering, according to animal welfare specialists.... Euthanasia can be a very emotive issue... but it is often in a stranded whale's best interests. Death is normally induced by lethal injection.... Rescuers often have struggled to save stranded whales. In 2002, a pod of pilot whales stranded themselves on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, - many were refloated, but proceeded to re-beach themselves, with fatal results."

This report was interesting and surprising in its own right. It contradicted popular belief, and sparked discomfort. But it reminded me that it's often unnatural, inhumane and more destructive to keep sick things alive -- especially big things.

In these messy times, our own government and citizens should consider the lesson of beached whales. Too often our gut instinct is to fiercely preserve what we have and what we know. The bigger the institution, the more protection we seem to think it deserves -- even when we know it would be best in the long run to simply let go and start over.

But unfortunately, "too big to die" has become a ubiquitous phrase in our lexicon. And in many prominent cases, too-big-to-die has been put into practice. Consider the auto-manufacturing sector. Think of finance, banking, health care and public education. Even consider certain dying sectors of the media industry. It forces one to ask: How much have our protectionist tendencies stifled innovation and re-invention? In the big scheme of things, how much have we weakened ourselves?

If the law of beached whales applies to our various industries and institutions, then we run a big risk of repeating those last words of the animal welfare specialists: "Many were refloated, but proceeded to re-beach themselves, with fatal results."

Again, it's often unnatural, inhumane and more destructive to keep sick things alive. Euthanasia is tough, but we must let beached whales die.

Max Kalehoff is vice president of marketing for Clickable, a search-marketing solution for small and mid-size businesses. He also writes

Online Spin for Friday, April 24, 2009:

You are receiving this newsletter at as part of your free membership with MediaPost. If this issue was forwarded to you and you would like to begin receiving a copy of your own, please visit our site - - and click on [subscribe] in the e-newsletter box.
For advertising opportunities see our online media kit.

If you'd rather not receive this newsletter in the future click here.
email powered by eROIWe welcome and appreciate forwarding of our newsletters in their entirety or in part with proper attribution.
(c) 2009 MediaPost Communications, 1140 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10001

No comments:

Blog Archive