"Bloody decks and a bumper crop": the rhetoric of counter-protest

Lamson, Cynthia (1978) "Bloody decks and a bumper crop": the rhetoric of counter-protest. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

In Newfoundland, sealing has been a traditional activity for centuries. Despite the fact that the number of ships and men who go to the ice has declined steadily since the late eighteenth century, the whitecoat hunt continues, providing additional income and adventure for men after a long and dreary winter. In the last decade, the hunt has become the focus of attention which has evolved into an international controversy and business in its own right. Initially, conservationists and humane societies were concerned about killing methods and species population, but federal government regulation and supervision corrected blatant abuses. The second wave of protest brought sophisticated urbanite ecologists to the scene, and with emotional appeals through the media, they created an outraged public who demanded a moratorium on the hunt. -- Newfoundlanders first regarded the protest as amusing, but as the threat became more apparent, frequent expressions of counter-protest circulated through newspapers, radio and television programs, and in other public spheres. This thesis argues that counter-protest is a distinctive theme which has culturally-specific rhetorical arguments. Using examples from letters-to-the-editor columns, calls to open-line radio programs, and other sources, I have constructed a typology of expressive strategies which are employed regardless of the form of counter-protest, or the background of the individual expressing such sentiments. -- Emphasis on counter-protest poetry and songs is an effort to demonstrate the continuity of traditional expressive behavior in Newfoundland. Verse-making has long been a popular and respected activity, and sealing has been the theme of innumerable compositions. The esoteric nature of the occupation further contributes to its ability to excite the imagination, and there is continuing public admiration for swilers and their ships. -- Newfoundlanders interpret the protest as an assault on their character and integrity, and their expressions reveal a defiant determination to protect their heritage and independence. In contrast, the environmentalists argue from a different perspective, one that encompasses a global ecosystem, and for this reason, it is unlikely the two sides will ever agree about the whitecoat hunt.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7766
Item ID: 7766
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 199-203.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: August 1978
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Sealing--Newfoundland and Labrador; Topical songs (Newfoundland and Labrador); Protest poetry--Newfoundland and Labrador

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