Shark Week 2016!!!

Shark Week should be a national holiday, and I think everyone should be required to learn more about these powerful, beautiful animals.

Plus, there’s always my Shark Week crush, Joe Romeiro. He’s smart, adventurous, and ridiculously sexy. Of all the people I check out on Shark Week and whose dedication, bravery, and informed commentary I enjoy, Joe is my favorite. If he’s not gay or wouldn’t be interested in me, can we clone him until we get a copy who meets both criteria. Scientists? Anyone? I’ll assume someone is getting on that and I will hear back later.

Of course, some of Joe’s stuff pales compared to the sheer nerve and cojones of Paul de Gelder (who is, himself, so attractive that I think his face and body are actually outlawed in several countries). He lost part of his right arm (including the hand) and leg to the attack of a bull shark. Yet this man  routinely jumps back in the water and has taken to being a shark activist and studying them. This is a man who I would rather not be on a boat with. Why? Because the sheer weight of his balls of steel might capsize the largest of seaworthy vessels, and I suspect that without the proper support, they may at any moment drop to the deck and sink the entire boat. He’s brave, smart, courageous, and all other good things. However, he has a body about a thousand times better than my own. A man with those…I wouldn’t even call them disabilities at this point…challenges doesn’t let a damned thing stop him, and I have immense respect for him.

Then there are the others whose bravery cannot be doubted and whose personalities are amazing. Andy Casagrande (of course); the rather gorgeous woman who was attacked when she was 18 0r 19 and still gets in the water with the sharks; and then the paragon of unrelenting bravery or relentless stupidity, Dickie Chivell. And Eli Roth is back as the host again this year. I can’t not love him (smart, funny, and cute, too? Jerkface.). All these people are the bookends to the real stars of Shark Week.

Some of the shows are sensational dreck. No, I’m not even talking about the Megalodon specials, because anyone who thought that hammy acting was real deserved to be fooled, though the specials admittedly added little to the week. There are others that legitimately try to promote the science and learning behind the sharks. Most all of the Shark Week specials end with some obligatory blurb about how humans kill well over 100 million sharks a year and how this is essentially killing both us and our oceans. Wrap your mind around that. 100,000,000 sharks a year are killed by humans, and the true number can be as many as 273 million. A year. Even if you take the tragedy of the USS Indianapolis, you would have to multiply those killed (not necessarily by sharks, but just in general) by over one hundred thousand to approach the tame estimates of what we kill a year.

And why? For shark fin soup? Eat a bowl of Campbell’s clam chowder and shut the fuck up. If shark fin soup isn’t one of the most arrogant, reprehensible, irresponsible, cruel “luxuries” in the world, I don’t know of the others. The sharks are captured, their fins are cut off, and the shark is then thrown back into the water, completely paralyzed. They drown because they can’t get water and oxygen over their gills, bleed to death, or are eaten alive by some other predator. Imagine that happening to you. You’re walking to grab some lunch when someone snags you, puts you in the back of a windowless Danger Rape Van, cuts off your feet and hands to use in soup (just to make the soup thicker), and then throws you in the jungle, hundreds of miles away from anything or anyone. Enjoy!

In any case, Shark Week walks a line between education and sensationalist entertainment. I look forward to it every year. This year I hope they air the special Blood in the Water, about the 1916 Jersey Shore shark attacks that inspired Jaws. July 1st will be the 100th anniversary of these attacks. So, yeah, that perpetuates the ongoing wrongheaded stereotype of sharks as indiscriminate eating monsters, but it’s interesting to see how little they knew about sharks back then (another good resource is Michael Capuzzo’s book Close to Shore. A LOT of time is spent on the history of the day, but it’s interesting at the same time.)

Enough of my babbling. I have to go watch some more Shark Week. Enjoy!

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~ by Darren Endymion on June 27, 2016.

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