He suggests that for tonight we keep our tradition of oysters alive, like the oysters themselves: freshly kept undead until shucking, although the precise moment of death is unknown.
The presence, or absence, of brain and heart are debatable when defining the life and death of an oyster. Just because it may react to stimuli does not mean it is consciously thinking about its actions. Just because it may react to stimuli does not mean it has any emotions about its actions. But then that's not what a heart ever does, feeling emotions. A heart is not shaped like a bi-valve teardrop. A heart is a mechanism to keep a body alive. A heart is an engine, a muscle: a protein, but not protean. A heart does not evade danger by adapting.
Shucking has both formal and informal definitions, the exact origins of which are unknown.
As noun, an object: an outer covering such as a husk or pod.
As noun, informally: a person or thing regarded as worthless or contemptible.
As verb, an action: to remove the husk or pod of corn or shellfish.
As verb, informally: to take off, such as a garment.
As verb, informally: to abandon or get rid of.
As verb, informally: to cause someone to believe something that is not true, to tease.
How do you get rid of something that has no heart or brain to speak of? That cannot speak or declare or react, but squeeze a little juice on it and watch it as it shudders; the cilia and flagella spasm. To flagellate is to flog someone for either religious discipline or for sexual gratification. Formally.
The French way to judge a fresh oyster is to be sure a lemon's acid makes the pulp-sac squirm.
The French way to judge a fresh oyster is informally told as elles doivent grincer.
The French way to judge a fresh oyster is translated into English as they must wince.
The French way to judge a fresh oyster is translated into English as she (plural) must wince.
Out of a plural of women I will always be only one.
Does the French way to judge a fresh oyster not apply to me?
My name has a half-shell in it already and I can be shucked as a noun or verb, informally.
Do you think Venus was dead or alive when she was birthed from the sea on a half-shell?
Do you think Venus would squirm under acid, or wince when she's fresh?