Let me frame the following with the quote: “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane” (Jimmy Buffet).
I recently had the great joy of being the keynote speaker in Alaska for the Sitka Whale Fest.
This multi-day festival is aimed at making marine science more accessible to the public and to increase action for our oceans. It includes a film fest, art show, science workshops and . . . a musical event called “The Grind”.
I dared participate in this with my talent being rewriting lyrics of songs to have a marine theme. Yes, I’m the Weird Al Yankovic of marine science (believing very much in the power of humour to educate and enlighten).
Photos were taken. I then also dared share the photos on social media. Here they are.
The text accompanying the photos was:
“Not a stoic scientist.
Photos are from #SitkaWhaleFest where I sang my adapted lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody = “Captivity Matters”.
Is this the real life?
Here in captivity?
Caught in a big net,
Taken far from my family.
Open your eyes,
Admit all the lies and see . . .
I’m just a poor whale, I need my liberty.
Because I’m easy come, easy go, jumping high, sinking low.
Anyway this whale blows captivity matters to me
To me. . .”
So grateful that, last minute, I did not have to sing this solo. Thanks so much David Harvey for the spirt and humour! And oh the absolute joy resulting from around 200 people singing along.”
The response to the post was overwhelmingly “Show us video!”
So for those of you not on social media, here you go. I would not want you to be deprived.
Text accompanying the video:
“You asked for it. Here is my rework of the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody to be about Orca in captivity. As a result of posting photos of this performance at Sitka’s Whale Fest, there were many requests / demands to see the video. One has surfaced from the audience. It’s a little shaky due to laughter. It is a little off key due to my skills as a singer. The topic is not a laughing matter but humour is a powerful tool. Video by Mollie Fisher and Tony Thompson. Accompaniment by David Harvey.”
Below, another of the many brilliant ways that #SitkaWhaleFest made science far more accessible, understandable and fun. All we scientists wore sashes so that people could identify us and chat. This is so important in a time when science, truth and facts are at risk. Of course, as a woman, it is also so powerful to me to wear a sash in this context rather than the historic / typical way. Oh the joy of a world where you get to be a scientist AND wear a sash.