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has Shark Week jumped the shark?

The Discovery Channel thought I’d be interested enough in “Shark Week” to open an email from them about it. Apparently I was, but only in a meta way. Twenty-four years after Jaws, do we still find sharks so threatening that they get their own week of TV? Sure, they’re killing machines, but so are ant-eaters. Sure, they very very occasionally kill one of our own species, but so do woodpeckers, and death by woodpecker is way more grisly, not to mention time-consuming.

Besides, it’s Cold Cereal Week on Top Chef, so I’ll be otherwise engaged.

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On a more literary note, I just finished Richard Price’s Lush Life. Price is one of my favorites — great at characters, sentences, social worlds, and bruised moralities. Lush Life has the form of a police procedural, although in some ways it’s an anti-procedural. (I say no more, lest I venture into the spoilers realm.) My only disappointment with it is that Price he doesn’t go as deep into some of his characters as others; he often excels as a writer about race, but this novel the main white characters felt more surely drawn than the main black ones. Still, I really enjoyed it.

6 Responses to “has Shark Week jumped the shark?”

  1. I found this funny enough that I actually read it aloud to my wife… and she and I both had a chuckle about the woodpecker. “Not to mention time-consuming.”

    We actually watched an episode of Shark Week when Carrie and I started dating and she lived with roommates who had a TV (about 7 years ago – I stopped watching TV regularly in 2002). We decided then, because of the angle they took that year, that the motto for Shark Week should have been “Because every once in a while, people should get eaten.”

    It reminds us that we’re not 100% at the top of the food chain, but unfortunately doesn’t keep crazy people from doing things like playing with wild lions.

    Thanks for the funny post!


  2. Can we add the “OMG it’s a crocodile” programs to the list? :-)

  3. I like the discover channel. There was many interesting stories about shark. Actually, shark is not always threating our life.


  5. This years Shark Week has revealed a bacchanalia of man made shark horror well beyond any concerns the shark conservation community and commercial shark diving community could have fathomed.

    Without a doubt Discovery Networks have reinvented Sea Monsters, erroneously establishing the shark as the most feared predator on the planet.

    34 years after JAWS, and 34 years of conservation science discoveries, pro-shark media, and conservation themed initiatives have been swept away by the 2009 Discovery Channel anti-shark juggernaut. This year broadcast in gory, blood soaked HD, to an estimated 30 million domestic viewers.

    Great for advertising revenues, lousy for the perception of sharks worldwide who have been thrown back to the stone age with last nights docu drama, “Blood in the water” and this weeks entire line up of gratuitous Shark Porn.

    As a commercial shark diving operator I find over hyping one small facet of a sharks entire Raison d’etre to be patently dishonest and a disservice to animals that are suffering one of the highest rates of destruction on the planet.

    Approximately 90 million sharks are killed each year. That’s a stunning statistic. And yet Discovery Networks feels compelled to bring back the 1970’s shark mythos, blood and fear, with absolutely no Sympathy for the Devil.

    At the same time Discovery Networks have rolled out a simply draconian and somewhat East Bloc ham fisted media campaign showing conservation for sharks. An afterthought pushed out by Discovery and it’s hand selected group of “Shark Porn Programming Apologists” to mollify the growing push back from an appalled research, science, and commercial dive community.

    To those who are supporting the very dark decision by Discovery Network executives to bring back, promote, and hype the fear of sharks, rethink your position.

    At a critical time when sharks, as a measure of the health of our oceans, need as much support as we can give them, programming decisions that demonize these animals for ratings, ad sales, and corporate profits are wrong, dishonest, and bordering on fraudulent.

    Discovery started Shark Week 20 years ago with programming that was fresh, alive and informative. Our company along with many others have been involved in some of that programming and happy with the results.

    Early Shark Week programming started with unflinching production companies striving to produce they best they could, fully engaging local operators to introduce them to the full range of shark behaviors.

    Discovery has officially lost it’s way. It can come back, hopefully this is the final year of Shark Porn. Hopefully those within the community who are currently in bed with Discovery Networks “will see the light”.

    As both the alcohol and tobacco industries have discovered you cannot sell these toxic brands to minors and then ask them to “drink and smoke responsibly”.

    Discovery Networks cannot sell fear and loathing of sharks…and then push for conservation.

    Patric Douglas CEO

  6. I must say that I am very disappointed with Shark Week this year. I think that Discovery Channel is reading their own headlines and that their entertainment ratings comes from hiring re-enactors from the unemployment line and once more bore us to death for two hours about the Bull shark in the New Jersey river. Man should be evolving, not devolving for ratings. Stop dumbing down the program and present more science and study. I’m tired of other Discovery Channel “stars” doing stupid stuff that should be on Dumb Ass instead of a true science program.

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