Sunday, August 4

Make up your mind, Shark Week

Welcome to Shark Week!

A docile, peaceful shark.
The Discovery Channel's famed week of shark-based television programming returns for yet another year. Sharks on sharks on sharks. But I am not as excited as most. Yes, the first day or two, I will probably check it out. However, I do not see myself watching much more, for one reason: contradiction. I don't know what to think of sharks, and Discovery Channel is 100% to blame. There are two types of shark shows on during this week, and they give the opposite message.

1. The first type of show, are of the "Sharks are actually peaceful, misunderstood creatures" variety. These shows get into the idea that sharks are actually nice creatures who mean us no harm. Us mean old humans just agitate them and confuse them into thinking we are a nice otter sandwich. Poor sharks, they are so misunderstood. And humans are so dumb. We are really dumb, for real. They're not eating errybody out here!

2. The second is the "HERE'S BLOODY RE-CREATED FOOTAGE OF THE MOST BRUTAL SHARK ATTACKS EVER" shows. Thirty minutes of carnage, stock videos of sharks and a 4 second clip of an actual attack that gets played 50 times. Check out this shark that ran up on the beach and attacked a bus! This shark swam up the Mississippi, to Chicago and attacked fans at Wrigley Field! This shark was waiting for us on the moon, and almost ate Neil Armstrong!

For every sympathetic portrayal, the next show will undoubtedly feature sharks acting really uncool to people. And by uncool, I mean eating them whole.You can't have it both ways, Discovery Channel. Either sharks are just misunderstood dolphins with feelings, and families and teeth, or they are savage monsters, bent on the destruction and domination of this country's sea to shining seas.

And personally, after a few shark shows, I've had my fill. I don't think shark programming is all that interesting. I'll watch Planet Earth all day, because there is a wide enough variety of topics, species and antelope maulings for me to digest while digesting Twizzlers. Sharks, not so much.

Have fun with Shark Week, and let me know if the shark community decides if sharks are mean or misunderstood. But I'm guessing Discovery Channel will leave you hanging. In the ocean. With  fins circling your broken surfboard. Hint hint, Open Water does not end well.

By Aaron Brandt, who thankfully never owned a shark-tooth necklace.