Shark Week: Are you terrified yet?


The Inertia

I learned, Sunday night, through my Facebook feed that Shark Week was starting on the Discovery Channel. “OMG, I’m obsessed with Shark Week!” “You watch Shark Week, too? It’s my favorite seven days of television of the year.” “Shark week after the Olympics!!!! Does TV get any better?”

Jesus Christ monkey balls — these people are serious. Watching Shark Week has become a badge of honor for most of the young, college educated, Trader-Joe, farmer’s market, and Ikea loving, one-vacation-a-year-to-all-inclusive-resorts-taking white people that I’ve spent much of my life around. These are people who only “swim” in water no higher than their waists — spf 10 users. By gushing about how much they like the shows on shark week, they are demonstrating to each other that they are a) like, totally into science, and b) are like, totally into the ocean, too.

Presumably, the producers over at the Discovery Channel who conceived of Shark Week and now market it as an annual educational tv event are slightly older versions of the same people. This year, in what must have been an extended and positively depraved stretch of media circle-jerkery, they created a lineup of shows that includes scientifically groundbreaking works like “Shark Fight,” “Sharkzilla,” and the possible Nobel prize contender “Air Jaws Apocalypse” (which is, of course, the sequel to last year’s groundbreaking “Ultimate Air Jaws”).

In case you didn’t catch this: jaws are a big theme during shark week, as evidenced on the network’s web page in which, out of 17 pictures of sharks featured on the main page, 10 are prominently focused on gaping maws. They’re dangerous…get it! There are more giant shark mouths on the Discovery channel this week than there are breasts on late night, premium cable. Which is appropriate, because it’s an entire week of soft-core shark porn.

The word “porn” is often used in the limited sense to refer to images or film of people with no body hair having fake, boring sex with each other so men and women can watch it and have fake, boring sex with themselves. Porn is empty, self defeating, and more than a little sad because it is limited to the to the strictly utilitarian act of stimulating your sex drive in the most obvious and grotesque manner. It’s the media equivalent of junk food — tasty, but ultimately unfulfilling and bad for you in large doses. Too bad then that, in a broader sense, most cable tv has turned into porn. You can get your political porn on Fox and MSNBC where botoxed beauties like Bill O’Reilly and Rachel Maddow scream and pout lustilly at the camera with staged, hoaky outrage, like lusty housewives telling the plumber they need their pipes cleaned. You can watch food porn on the Food Network where BBW’s like Ina Garten and Paula Dean promise to show you their cooking secrets as they whip up gourmet food in professional kitchens made up to look like home kitchens. There is sports porn, reality porn, home building porn, car porn, gun porn, animal porn, porn porn….and all of it teaches us exactly nothing.

It’s not supposed to. Its purpose is provoke our most basic instincts — lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness, fear — but ultimately, withhold the money shot: any moment of understanding or catharsis that may actually edify us educationally, emotionally, or aesthetically. They want us unfulfilled, jonesing for another voyeuristic shot of tits and ass, or football highlights, or outrageous soundbite, or grilling steak, or vicious shark about to rip your head off.

Shark week profits off the fears of people who haven’t spent enough time in the ocean to know better, just like Fifty Shades of Grey profits off the fantasies of women who haven’t had enough sex to know that you can, in fact, do it in a position other than missionary. It titillates their soft, landlubbing senses with images of gaping maws and razor sharp, serrated teeth, only to pull the camera away at the last second, before the water clouds with blood and screams ring out. This is how you sell a boogeyman. Implied violence and danger makes good porn, real violence and danger are gauche.

I don’t watch shark porn, not because I have a particular love for sharks and feel that they should be represented in some other light. In fact, I’d question anyone without a healthy respect for the brutes. I don’t watch shark porn for the same reason I wouldn’t watch rip tide porn, jelly fish porn, ship wreck porn, killer whale porn, seal porn, or tsunami porn: Because I’m an adult and I know and accept the infinitesimal amount of danger that these things pose to me, then I get on with my life.

TV doesn’t have to edify to have value. But if it doesn’t teach you something, it sure as hell better be interesting, and therein lies the cardinal sin of shark porn. It’s the same thing over and over again: scary music, underwater shadows, dorsal fins, sharp teeth, gaping mouths, imminent doom…cut, rewind, replay. As a viewing experience it promises a sort of vicarious commune with one of nature’s great predators and instead delivers a limp, self-satisfied rehash of of the same old story, like the two cent street magician who pulls a coin out of your ear then then keeps pointing to it in mock amazement, as if he has just produced an elephant from thin air.

Sharks are an interesting topic, but not when they are over staged, over produced, made up, scripted, cut excessively and packaged into silly ten minute segments between commercials for detergents and Viagra. Then they are just throwaway junk, lowest common denominator entertainment that is indistinguishable from the next episode of those canniest of predators, the Kardashians.

If you would like to criticize this viewpoint by talking about how thought provoking and educational the shows on shark week are, I would like to respond, in advance with this clipthis clip and finally, this clip.

 

  • Chris Cote

    Those metal jaws look cool.

  • Chris Cote

    Those metal jaws look cool.

    • ted

      I actually tap all of my kegs with a set of pneumatic jaws.

    • ted

      I actually tap all of my kegs with a set of pneumatic jaws.

    • Dex

      I’m surprised Cote wasn’t hosting the keg-chomp…

    • Dex

      I’m surprised Cote wasn’t hosting the keg-chomp…

    • Dex

      I’m surprised Cote wasn’t hosting the keg-chomp…

  • Dukekahuna

    I normally sympathize with Ted Endo’s thoughts on most topics, but I find myself feeling a little conflicted here. While I understand his disgust for the “porn” that Shark Week has become, I still see value in the show. Creating interest and awareness on a topic (sharks and shark conservation) that typically produces ignorance and fear is a very good thing. If that takes a little “whoring out,” that is fine by me. Sharkzilla, Sharkfight, and the various over-exaggerated show titles, are down right repugnant, but episodes like “47 days Adrift” and “Jaws comes Home” (the Chatham, Mass episode) were fascinating. Ted, does it really matter that the “SPF-10 users”, that you so aptly named, are excited about something that is normally beyond their daily life’s scope of vision? And yes Ted, I am one of the “the young, college educated, Trader-Joe, farmer’s market, and Ikea loving, one-vacation-a-year-to-all-inclusive-resorts-taking white people that I’ve spent much of your life around,” but I am also a waterman; spending the last 15 years of my life surfing, swimming, spearfishing/freediving, body surfing, body boarding, kayaking, and SUPing.
    As long as Shark Week does not reproduce the wide spread panic and fear that the original “Jaws” movie did in the summer of 1975, I say keep the Shark Weeks coming. My suggestion, focus more on the lack of new content, shark protection awareness, and ocean mindedness rather than the excitement it creates and the demographic it targets.

  • Dukekahuna

    I normally sympathize with Ted Endo’s thoughts on most topics, but I find myself feeling a little conflicted here. While I understand his disgust for the “porn” that Shark Week has become, I still see value in the show. Creating interest and awareness on a topic (sharks and shark conservation) that typically produces ignorance and fear is a very good thing. If that takes a little “whoring out,” that is fine by me. Sharkzilla, Sharkfight, and the various over-exaggerated show titles, are down right repugnant, but episodes like “47 days Adrift” and “Jaws comes Home” (the Chatham, Mass episode) were fascinating. Ted, does it really matter that the “SPF-10 users”, that you so aptly named, are excited about something that is normally beyond their daily life’s scope of vision? And yes Ted, I am one of the “the young, college educated, Trader-Joe, farmer’s market, and Ikea loving, one-vacation-a-year-to-all-inclusive-resorts-taking white people that I’ve spent much of your life around,” but I am also a waterman; spending the last 15 years of my life surfing, swimming, spearfishing/freediving, body surfing, body boarding, kayaking, and SUPing.
    As long as Shark Week does not reproduce the wide spread panic and fear that the original “Jaws” movie did in the summer of 1975, I say keep the Shark Weeks coming. My suggestion, focus more on the lack of new content, shark protection awareness, and ocean mindedness rather than the excitement it creates and the demographic it targets.

    • ted

      these are all fine points, especially the fact that people enjoying something is pretty much harmless, or dare I say, even positive. Still, if the general American wankathon surrounding shark week doesn’t get on your nerves, you are a much more balanced and happy human being than i am. Actually, based on your even handed and generous comment, I’d say that is most certainly true.

      Quick point about your last graph: I think shark week absolutely plays on the “Jaws” fear and uses it to get viewers. There seems to be a token “conservation” angle in most of the shows, but it comes off as cynical and disingenuous when you look at the rest of the imagery and content they put out surrounding sharks. I think more than trying to demonize or save sharks, they are mostly interesting in creating disposable entertainment with sharks as an audience-drawing excuse. That’s not a sin, but it is pretty mediocre. Thanks for reading.

    • ted

      these are all fine points, especially the fact that people enjoying something is pretty much harmless, or dare I say, even positive. Still, if the general American wankathon surrounding shark week doesn’t get on your nerves, you are a much more balanced and happy human being than i am. Actually, based on your even handed and generous comment, I’d say that is most certainly true.

      Quick point about your last graph: I think shark week absolutely plays on the “Jaws” fear and uses it to get viewers. There seems to be a token “conservation” angle in most of the shows, but it comes off as cynical and disingenuous when you look at the rest of the imagery and content they put out surrounding sharks. I think more than trying to demonize or save sharks, they are mostly interesting in creating disposable entertainment with sharks as an audience-drawing excuse. That’s not a sin, but it is pretty mediocre. Thanks for reading.

    • ted

      these are all fine points, especially the fact that people enjoying something is pretty much harmless, or dare I say, even positive. Still, if the general American wankathon surrounding shark week doesn’t get on your nerves, you are a much more balanced and happy human being than i am. Actually, based on your even handed and generous comment, I’d say that is most certainly true.

      Quick point about your last graph: I think shark week absolutely plays on the “Jaws” fear and uses it to get viewers. There seems to be a token “conservation” angle in most of the shows, but it comes off as cynical and disingenuous when you look at the rest of the imagery and content they put out surrounding sharks. I think more than trying to demonize or save sharks, they are mostly interesting in creating disposable entertainment with sharks as an audience-drawing excuse. That’s not a sin, but it is pretty mediocre. Thanks for reading.

    • ted

      these are all fine points, especially the fact that people enjoying something is pretty much harmless, or dare I say, even positive. Still, if the general American wankathon surrounding shark week doesn’t get on your nerves, you are a much more balanced and happy human being than i am. Actually, based on your even handed and generous comment, I’d say that is most certainly true.

      Quick point about your last graph: I think shark week absolutely plays on the “Jaws” fear and uses it to get viewers. There seems to be a token “conservation” angle in most of the shows, but it comes off as cynical and disingenuous when you look at the rest of the imagery and content they put out surrounding sharks. I think more than trying to demonize or save sharks, they are mostly interesting in creating disposable entertainment with sharks as an audience-drawing excuse. That’s not a sin, but it is pretty mediocre. Thanks for reading.

    • ted

      these are all fine points, especially the fact that people enjoying something is pretty much harmless, or dare I say, even positive. Still, if the general American wankathon surrounding shark week doesn’t get on your nerves, you are a much more balanced and happy human being than i am. Actually, based on your even handed and generous comment, I’d say that is most certainly true.

      Quick point about your last graph: I think shark week absolutely plays on the “Jaws” fear and uses it to get viewers. There seems to be a token “conservation” angle in most of the shows, but it comes off as cynical and disingenuous when you look at the rest of the imagery and content they put out surrounding sharks. I think more than trying to demonize or save sharks, they are mostly interesting in creating disposable entertainment with sharks as an audience-drawing excuse. That’s not a sin, but it is pretty mediocre. Thanks for reading.

  • Dukekahuna

    I normally sympathize with Ted Endo’s thoughts on most topics, but I find myself feeling a little conflicted here. While I understand his disgust for the “porn” that Shark Week has become, I still see value in the show. Creating interest and awareness on a topic (sharks and shark conservation) that typically produces ignorance and fear is a very good thing. If that takes a little “whoring out,” that is fine by me. Sharkzilla, Sharkfight, and the various over-exaggerated show titles, are down right repugnant, but episodes like “47 days Adrift” and “Jaws comes Home” (the Chatham, Mass episode) were fascinating. Ted, does it really matter that the “SPF-10 users”, that you so aptly named, are excited about something that is normally beyond their daily life’s scope of vision? And yes Ted, I am one of the “the young, college educated, Trader-Joe, farmer’s market, and Ikea loving, one-vacation-a-year-to-all-inclusive-resorts-taking white people that I’ve spent much of your life around,” but I am also a waterman; spending the last 15 years of my life surfing, swimming, spearfishing/freediving, body surfing, body boarding, kayaking, and SUPing.
    As long as Shark Week does not reproduce the wide spread panic and fear that the original “Jaws” movie did in the summer of 1975, I say keep the Shark Weeks coming. My suggestion, focus more on the lack of new content, shark protection awareness, and ocean mindedness rather than the excitement it creates and the demographic it targets.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

  • wyatt

    Ted –

    You make a reasonably articulate
    argument, though based entirely on a false premise: That Shark Week – or
    any big budget thriller – owes its viewership reasoned & scientific caveats
    of the ACTUAL danger involved. It does not. It owes its viewership a good time.
    Here’s a quote from Discovery’s recent
    network mandates – as sent out to solicit new content –

    Discovery
    wants to balance their blue-chip shows with their fun ones that don’t have as
    much substance but allow viewers to walk away with at least learning something
    (WEED WARS and SWAMP LAGGER). They describe what they want as “Holy Shit meets
    Who Knew?”.

    Does shark week provide for “at least
    learning something.” Yes. Does it consistently underscore the
    remote statistical danger to humans posed by sharks? Thankfully, no.
    It’s not PBS. It’s not
    supposed to be. How realistic was
    the scenario in “Contagion?” In “Armageddon?” Do all “rockers” really “bag babes” backstage? Are the
    storage lockers stuffed with goodies BEFORE they tape Storage Wars? Are the Real Housewives, REAL? WHO
    CARES? The fault is with your
    expectation. As we say, maybe
    you’re not the target demo. But
    the programming delivers on its promise: it’s fun to watch. You yourself inadvertendly
    provided the dream checklist for networks/studios – lust, hunger, anger, aggression, loneliness & fear. Wrap those into 22 minutes and you’re
    in business.

    The argument that TV does not depict
    reality is a yawner, even outside the intellectual community. My mom stopped saying, “You know, I
    heard The Kardashians is fake!” around 2008 (and honestly, you’re a journalist
    & still defaulting to The Kardashians & Viagra? Zzzzzzzzz).

    Entertainment is HYPER-reality and
    should be analyzed within that framework. Instead, you’ve given us one more tired diatribe on the shallowness of television, that makes both yourself & The Inertia sound
    crotchety & dated.

    Somewhere – in various bars, right now,
    embittered crab fisherman are flinging insults at Deadliest Catch, doctors are
    goofing on House and P.I.s are scowling at both Rizzoli AND Isles. You are welcome to join them – shouting
    into a void – for the next seven days.

    • Dex

      Wyatt, I’m not sure what your angle here is, but it certainly isn’t a critical one. In fact, it seems that you have ties to the entertainment industry? Rather, you seem to praise the successful delivery of hyper-reality in spite of proposing a new–and unarticulated–framework for examining entertainment. Certainly, Discovery has a successful commercial formula. However it’s not about what the production company “owes” the viewer or assuming that Ted has any expectation of insightful programming from commercial media. Although maybe articulated only between the lines, I think Ted’s argument goes deeper than criticizing yuppies and sensationalist outdoors programming, touching on the banality of most entertainment in spite of its marketing as “hyper-reality.” Sure, the Kardashians/Housewives drama is no more authentic than your average adolescent schoolgirl idiocy and Shark Week is just a bunch of cameras and sponsors beyond a cage-dive or shark-watching cruise. The issue is with the state of media, our readiness to consume and accept hyper-reality tv, and the existential and discursive emptiness of media in spite of its self-certainty that it’s saying a lot and saying it well.

      Who knows, I’m just a fan of anyone who will talk shit about “sustainable consumers” (trader joe’s shoppers, etc.) and their many contradictions, so I suppose my opinion is biased from the go.

    • ted

      This is an interesting comment. You’re right that TV, as a whole doesn’t owe us, the viewers, anything. But why is that? Are we not the audience? Do we not deserve better than hyper-reality — great term, by the way. And why doesn’t a channel called Discovery, which is presumably based around science and environmental stewardship want to edify it’s viewers? Of course, we all know the answer to that: because it doesn’t pay. Just like it doesn’t pay to tell women that they are beautiful without clothes/makeup/shoes, or that middle aged men can enjoy bicycling without spandex and thousand dollar road bikes, or that you can surf on an old board with a pair of ten dollar shorts.

      The underlying ethos to just about every aspect of our society is to sell, which, in many cases (this one included) has the tendency to gut anything of worth from an idea. It appears you are aware of this, and somewhat jaded about it, but I don’t think that is the case for everyone. So some might benefit from having some of the comparisons I’ve made int he piece made explicit. That’s the hope, anyway

      Finally, you’ve got two, well developed arguments here: that my points are tired (which, to my chagrin, has plenty of merit) and that “this is the way tv is, get used to it” which is not actually an argument at all, but a clever rehash of the status quo. As a rhetorical strategy, the second argument is little more than sleight of hand because it embraces an essentially negative situation (ie: the proliferation of shit tv) and presents it as valid simply because that’s how everyone does it. You can do better than that.

      If you made a show about sharks, what would it be like? Better yet, if you had an entire network would you devote it to empty reality tv to make a buck, or would you try to put something interesting out there?

      • wyatt

        Consider it this way: Our grandparents recoiled at Elvis Presley’s swiveling hips. Our parents were baffled by Johnny Rotten. We’re given to saying, “MTV…but they don’t even play music anymore!” The evolution of pop-culture will always trump our expectations. And better still, that evolution is driven by consumer demand not, as is so easy to posit, a group of evil, faceless suits plotting the next trend. They follow. The people have and will always steer that evolution. But (sadly), we just get older, point & complain from our armchairs. Discovery is a different channel than it once was. Shark Week has been James Cameron-ized. The thing changes, and so too must our expectations. It’s neither sad nor shallow, it just is.

        The nice thing about TV (film, novels, anything) is that it’s not just one thing. It’s hundreds of thousands of options, just awaiting your (wait for it…wait for it) discovery. And of course, all these things are open for critique, but that critic owes it to his subject matter – and his viewership – to stand down on topics he innately dislikes. What do I make of all contemporary guitar jazz? I think it sucks. Therefore, I’m not the ideal critic. (but seriously, it sucks).

        And excellent work gumshoe Dex, I do work in the entertainment industry. So trust me when I say TV has pained me in ways you can only imagine.

      • wyatt

        Consider it this way: Our grandparents recoiled at Elvis Presley’s swiveling hips. Our parents were baffled by Johnny Rotten. We’re given to saying, “MTV…but they don’t even play music anymore!” The evolution of pop-culture will always trump our expectations. And better still, that evolution is driven by consumer demand not, as is so easy to posit, a group of evil, faceless suits plotting the next trend. They follow. The people have and will always steer that evolution. But (sadly), we just get older, point & complain from our armchairs. Discovery is a different channel than it once was. Shark Week has been James Cameron-ized. The thing changes, and so too must our expectations. It’s neither sad nor shallow, it just is.

        The nice thing about TV (film, novels, anything) is that it’s not just one thing. It’s hundreds of thousands of options, just awaiting your (wait for it…wait for it) discovery. And of course, all these things are open for critique, but that critic owes it to his subject matter – and his viewership – to stand down on topics he innately dislikes. What do I make of all contemporary guitar jazz? I think it sucks. Therefore, I’m not the ideal critic. (but seriously, it sucks).

        And excellent work gumshoe Dex, I do work in the entertainment industry. So trust me when I say TV has pained me in ways you can only imagine.

    • ted

      This is an interesting comment. You’re right that TV, as a whole doesn’t owe us, the viewers, anything. But why is that? Are we not the audience? Do we not deserve better than hyper-reality — great term, by the way. And why doesn’t a channel called Discovery, which is presumably based around science and environmental stewardship want to edify it’s viewers? Of course, we all know the answer to that: because it doesn’t pay. Just like it doesn’t pay to tell women that they are beautiful without clothes/makeup/shoes, or that middle aged men can enjoy bicycling without spandex and thousand dollar road bikes, or that you can surf on an old board with a pair of ten dollar shorts.

      The underlying ethos to just about every aspect of our society is to sell, which, in many cases (this one included) has the tendency to gut anything of worth from an idea. It appears you are aware of this, and somewhat jaded about it, but I don’t think that is the case for everyone. So some might benefit from having some of the comparisons I’ve made int he piece made explicit. That’s the hope, anyway

      Finally, you’ve got two, well developed arguments here: that my points are tired (which, to my chagrin, has plenty of merit) and that “this is the way tv is, get used to it” which is not actually an argument at all, but a clever rehash of the status quo. As a rhetorical strategy, the second argument is little more than sleight of hand because it embraces an essentially negative situation (ie: the proliferation of shit tv) and presents it as valid simply because that’s how everyone does it. You can do better than that.

      If you made a show about sharks, what would it be like? Better yet, if you had an entire network would you devote it to empty reality tv to make a buck, or would you try to put something interesting out there?

  • ted

    apparently some people give enough of a fuck what I think to write an angry response to it. Keep the rage alive Tshel.

  • ted

    apparently some people give enough of a fuck what I think to write an angry response to it. Keep the rage alive Tshel.

    • Tshel

      Not so much that I give enough of a fuck what u think. More like I’ve read ur garbage before and it’s all the same. From bashing shark week to the asp and anyone involved with it to Andy irons and any other subject u choose. It all comes from ur weak ass perspective of things all I can figure is u must just hate everyone and eerything cause u suck at surfing and whatever else u try to do. So u take it out on everyone in ur writing. I read most all of the surf related articles that are written and don’t usually bother to comment on people’s opinions, but urs are so consistently lame that I get enjoyment out of telling u know one cares what some dick head named Ted endo thinks about any of it.

  • melissa green

    I thought I was the only one that loathed this week! I swear
    you are the first person I’ve encountered that isn’t totally infatuated with
    Shark Week. Even my crotchety, old boss at Dish has been sporting shark-themed
    ties all week long, and all I can do is roll my eyes. I’m just glad that my
    household has the Hopper DVR, which lets us watch or record up to six things at
    once, so my boyfriend can’t force me into watching this showcase of brutal shark
    bites. It would be more appropriate to name this event “Wound Week”!

  • melissa green

    I thought I was the only one that loathed this week! I swear
    you are the first person I’ve encountered that isn’t totally infatuated with
    Shark Week. Even my crotchety, old boss at Dish has been sporting shark-themed
    ties all week long, and all I can do is roll my eyes. I’m just glad that my
    household has the Hopper DVR, which lets us watch or record up to six things at
    once, so my boyfriend can’t force me into watching this showcase of brutal shark
    bites. It would be more appropriate to name this event “Wound Week”!

  • Gof*ckurself

    haters gonna hate.

    I LOVE Shark Week.

  • Gof*ckurself

    haters gonna hate.

    I LOVE Shark Week.

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • Myles O’Stooley

    Television is for cavemen

  • wangchuck

    i agree with you on the sharks.
    but not on the porn.

  • wangchuck

    i agree with you on the sharks.
    but not on the porn.

  • CJ

    That’s what I have to say about that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_xHbdRHqyU