Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Shark TV Month is Coming!

Greetings again everyone. The battle for the whales of the Faroe Islands is well underway. We have succeeded in taking over their vacation hashtag #Faroeislands on Twitter. Now when people go on twitter to look at vacations in the Faroe Islands, they may see a few beautiful pictures of the islands, but they will also see far more pictures and stories of the atrocities that take place in those islands on a yearly basis. So that is a quick update on Operation Faroes Killing Bay. Now tonight's blog is going to be about sharks. In particular, sharks on TV. Sharks of Discovery Channel's Shark Week and SyFy's Sharknado Week.

First of all I will go on the record here and say that I find great amusement in the shark movies that the SyFy channel puts out. I take absolutely zero stock in any of them holding any kind of facts and I know that they are strictly for entertainment only. Bad entertainment mind you. The kind of train wrecks you just can't take your eyes off of. I mean seriously, look at the movie "Ghost Shark". At one point a ghost shark flies out of a fire hydrant and eats the top half of a few kids. The legs continue running around. How cheezy can you get? It is amusing though. Let's not forget another gem in the form of "Sharknado". Sharks in a tornado attacking the good people of LA, it doesn't get much more amusing than that. Then we have "Two Headed Shark Attack". Yes, the shark has two heads, is roughly the size of an island at one point, and then the size of a large great white the next. The thing created a large enough wave to literally wash over an entire island just so it could get the group of people on it. The list goes on and this year we have a couple new wonders of cinema coming out in the form of "Sharknado 2" and forgive me if my spelling is wrong... "Sharktopus vs Pteracuda".

Looks like a great concept no?

"Sharknado 2" is set to take place in New York and will probably be as big a train wreck as the original and offer just as much horrible entertainment as the first. Sharktapus... I have no words for. All I know is that it involves a shark crossed with an octopus and a pteradactyl crossed with a barracuda. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that'll be about... So why am I bringing up all these past and sure to be future 5 star films? Well it is to debunk a myth or two that shouldn't exist, but for some reason seem to.

First and foremost... Sharknadoes do not exist. If a shark were to be picked up by a tornado, the last thing the shark would be thinking about doing is eating whatever it gets tossed to. Several people have asked me if a sharknado could happen in real life. I don't know where that theory comes from, but it is a terrible terrible theory that someone who looks waaaaaay too deeply into SyFy movies probably came up with. Next. The vast majority of sharks live only in salt water. They cannot survive in swimming pools or bath tubs. There are fresh water sharks and even the bull shark has been known to travel over 100 miles from salt water, but they do not show up in pools or tubs. I've been asked that a few times after "Ghost Shark" came out as a shark randomly showed up in a swimming pool. The point that I am trying to get across here is that SyFy movies are SyFy movies and nothing more people. I'd say roughly 99% of what you see in shark SyFy movies is well... Sci-Fi. I know it sounds silly probably to be reading that, but there are some people out there that are unaware of just how much fiction is poured into those movies. With that being said, when Sharknado Week does roll around this year, by all means, enjoy it. The movies will be horrible yet awesome, but keep in mind. You are watching fiction and none of those movies should make anyone afraid to get into the water. That's all I really have to say about that. Just keep things in perspective when watching these films. You may just find yourself terribly entertained! 

Now that the more entertaining portion of the blog is done, grab a drink or a snack or something because the rest of this blog is something that I personanlly have issues with. <Proceed to get snack/beverage/whatever now>

Welcome back for part 2 of this blog. So let me get everyone started with this not so light hearted portion of the blog with a little clip that summarizes what this portion is going to be about. 

It's that time again folks. It's time for Discovery Channel's Shark Week. You may recall that last year I followed Shark Week and basically tore a few of the shows apart as lies and accused others as nothing more than fear inducing and un-educational aimed at ratings and nothing more. Well let's look at what Discovery Channel has in store for us this year. First of all the trailer you just watched. Everything that is wrong with people's images of sharks are in this trailer. Let's dissect it shall we.The announcer states  "The shark that has been terrorizing...", the fact that the shark is a great white "dead" on a scale (which would be illegal) with many people, including children taking snapshots at the warrior fisherman and his quarry, mass hysteria ensues when the shark randomly comes back to life for a moment, okay a seal comes out of the shark alive (I get that is a joke from last year's promo when the shark ate the seal), but then a person comes out of the shark. Allright so we got terrorizing, mass hysteria, glorifying shark hunters, and man eaters all in one 30 second clip. Impressive right? That is just about everything wrong with people's images of these animals. The media instills these fears and it drums up great ratings for the network. In the end that's what matters to them, but for people like myself who are trying to change the image of sharks in the public eye, it is a slap in the face. For Discovery to sit there and crow about it being all about conservation and then show the promo, is a slap in the face of anyone who fights for these animals. We all work 365 days a year to change the image of sharks to what it truly should be and Discovery decides to push that horrible image that originated with "Jaws" right back into everyone's faces. Don't believe that image exists? I personally know several people who refuse to go into the ocean because of what they have seen on TV (Namely Shark Week) and in movies (namely Jaws and to a lesser extent it's sequels). So before the week even gets here Discovery Channel is cramming that image of fear and monster down our throats. Fantastic. Well, let's look at some of the upcoming shows and see if there is any saving this year's installment of Shark Week.

"Zombie Sharks": Okay horrible title. Obviously aiming for the crowds of The Walking Dead, Zombieland, and other zombie films/movies. From the description though, it seems like this show could potentially be onto something. The show description is about tonic immobility. This strange behavior sharks exhibit when they are flipped upside down. It's almost like the shark goes to sleep or something. Either way, orcas have seemingly discovered how to use it to their advantage and have been seen inverting sharks until they drown and then eating them. Clever right? Here is where the show concerns me. I don't think this show is going to be about tonic immobility at all. The show description also makes note of one mans journey to place a massive great white into this state with his own two hands. I've got a feeling the show will be about this guy's quest and not about what the tonic immobility is, why it happens, how it happens, and how orcas have seemingly discovered it for themselves. Again, the show has potential, but given Discovery's track record, I am nervous to get on board with this being an educational show versus another one of those Shark Week shows that gets your blood pumping as to whether or not he will meet his goal. I really do hope that it turns out to be good though!

"Air Jaws: Quest for Collosus": Air Jaws has always been one of my favorite shows Shark Week has ever had. I hate the name of course, but the prior installments have actually been educational and actually really fun and interesting to watch. It's not about shark attacks on people but rather how the great white hunts for it's natural prey in South Africa and Australia (Air Jaws II). I fear for this show somewhat now. The description is very vague and it basically states that the crew will be searching for a missing mega shark known as Colossus. I'm hoping Colossus just turns out to be a large great white that has been seen in South Africa or something and that they will not be looking for this mysterious entity that does not exist. Given the sheer amount of things that were covered in the first two shows, I would like to think this wont be a borderline sci-fi mockumentary type deal. We'll probably see some great whites jumping again, but at this point I'd like to see some others doing their stuff as well... Shortfin Makos or Spinner sharks perhaps?

Not a bad start right? I mean the title "Zombie Sharks" is pretty terrible, but the name alone will attract people to what hopefully will be an educational show. Air Jaws always brings people to the TV just by it's name and the fact that well, who doesn't want to see great whites jumping clear out of the water? So Shark Week doesn't look so bad right? Well that's about it for the good as far as I can see based off of these previews I have in front of me. Let's look now at the ugly...

"Sharkageddon": Yup you got that title right. This show is about the mysterious shark invasion of the waters off of Hawaii. Shark invasion in the waters off Hawaii. Take a minute to think about that....... Sharks live in the ocean. They've been around Hawaii far longer than we have even been around. We destroyed their numbers with years of unprotected hunting out of anger and fear. Now some shark are protected and Hawaii has a shark fin law in place that prohibits the sale and trade of fins in the state. These laws and protections have, I would think, helped sharks make somewhat of a recovery off of Hawaii. So let's look at the statistics. Since 2001 there have been 2 fatal shark attacks in Hawaii. 2. Non fatal... 65... So you're looking at roughly... 5 or so attacks on average per year. That's an invasion? Yes, the numbers have been higher in the past 2 years in attacks, but seriously? 65 attacks in 13 years. Try 100,000,000 attacks in one year. That's how many sharks are being killed. This show is going to do nothing but instill fear into people and potentially hurt conservation efforts with all this "invasion" talk. If it were say, 100 people killed in 1 year. Okay then I could see a show from a historical stand point, but still Sharkageddon? Please. It's all about the ratings here folks.

"I Escaped Jaws 2": Here we have another show that will be people who have been bitten by sharks telling their stories. Usually these types of shows have ups and downs. The upside is that usually the people who get bitten blame themselves and not the shark. Usually they admit to being in the wrong place or not having enough respect for them beforehand or something along those lines. Many have even become dedicated shark advocates and conservation supporters. Those are the ups and they are good ups by all means! How Discovery chooses to get to that point however, is a disgusting down. These shows tend to be extremely bloody and extremely dramatic. They don't just have people telling the story and showing a picture or two of the bite healing. Instead Discovery makes dramatic reenactments of the event as they see it. With the shark grabbing and thrashing with no remorse and the person crying out for help as the water turns bloodier than the waters of the Faroe Islands or Taiji. All the blood and gore is for are the ratings. These stories could easily be told without all of that, but isn't that what people are drawn to? I know these shows usually try to put out the good message that it was the person's fault, but that message becomes so lost in the blood, gore, and teeth that the show ends up doing the opposite of what it could do.

"Great White Matrix": First of all, this title makes me just say "uh what?". All I can think of is the movie series "The Matrix" and try to imagine sharks in it. Well that's not what this show is. This is another one of those shows where "scientists" will be risking their lives by going into "Shark Infested" (There's those words again) waters off of Australia in an attempt to unravel the mystery behind several "bizzare" shark attacks. So basically you can take Sharkageddon and this show, switch the locations, and have the same show. As they have done time and time again, Discovery is missing the boat in what more and more people want to know about sharks. Again though, the head rush from wondering if these guys are going to be killed by some monstrous man eating shark is something that will drum up ratings. Therefore, that is probably all that Discovery cares about. Want something interesting? Why not have it be about trying to understand why there seems to possibly be more sharks around in the past few years than normal? Why not have this be about the fact that conservation efforts could actually be paying off for once as opposed to trying to reinstate the fear of sharks that "Jaws" started when it first came out? Ratings folks. Ratings.

"Alien Shark: Return to the Abyss": I honestly am not sure where to put this show as far as a potentially good or bad show. I grouped it here because to me, the description seems a little out there. Scientists going out to try and find a species of bioluminesent shark in the deep sea. I feel like this is going to be another one of those shows where the ending is them not finding anything after months of grueling work. I say that because if a species of shark were to have been found, the world would have known about it long before this show airs. Example: despite extremely tiny differences between itself and the Scalloped Hammerhead, news of the Carolina Hammerhead was all over the place. That discovery involved very small differences between itself and another species. If a shark was found lighting itself up, I'm sure that would have made headlines. Personally I feel like this sounds like a chasing Big Foot kind of deal.

I'm sure at this point you are getting the picture. I'll leave all but one other show alone for now as I feel like they are either not worth mentioning for one reason or another or I really am unsure what to make of them based on the descriptions given by Discovery Channel. So that one final show I am going to look at, and I cannot believe I am looking at it is....

"Megalodon: The New Evidence": The first Megalodon show that Discovery put out last year was a mockumentary that for some reason peaked the interest of people all over the place. I cannot count the sheer number of people that asked me if Megalodon exists or where can they be found. The show last year had FAKE scientists and a ton of CGI. Whatever this evidence is that apparently nobody but Discovery has is going to be a load of garbage. The show last year was 100% fake and the show this year will be 100% fake. If anything Discovery should have linked up with SyFy to produce a Megalodon horror movie. It probably would be more entertaining than watching a fake documentary. The problem with this stuff people is the old saying... People will believe anything if it's on TV. How true is that? Discovery had people eating out of the palm of their hands over last year's Megalodon show and I'm sure the same thing will happen again. The thought of an ancient shark roaming our seas is by all means an interesting and exciting one to say the least. However, the facts are that there is zero evidence suggesting that these animals are actually alive today. I don't mean folk tales. I mean hard evidence. No unfossilized teeth, no bodies, no photos, no video, nothing. I implore you that if you decide to watch this disaster of a show to keep an open mind. Yes I do suppose it's possible, but it's only a possiblity and until it is proven, I simply cannot believe that these animals exist today. People have argued with me about it stating the first show as their source. That's the problem. People using a show that Discovery even admitted to being fake as a reason to believe something.

Ladies and gentlemen, you cannot believe everything you see on TV.

Discovery, if you want a compelling, drama filled show, then take a page from movies like "The Cove" and "Sharkwater". Have a crew do some undercover thing in the name of conservation. Have some real life drama into "discovering" (see what I did there?) the truth about sharks. Have the people jump into shark filled (NOT INFESTED) waters in dramatic dives, but don't have it be a random life and death experience. Let the viewers know there is more to them than their teeth. No, a 15 second commercial once a night is not enough to tell people the truth. More is needed. Images, videos, all things that Discovery has sed to instill fear and excitement can instill excitement and knowledge of the truth as well. Don't believe me that showing the truth about sharks and what they are really about can be dramatic, exciting, and frankly haunting? Well here just a small taste of what sharks are really dealing with versus what the shows on Shark Week may lead you to believe.......WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES AHEAD.......

Shark finning continues to contribute greatly to the over 100,000,000 sharks killed per year.

People mock and celebrate their deaths.

Thousands of dead sharks can be found in warehouses. Killed for their fins, skin, teeth. All for profit.

Size does not matter.

Age does not matter...

Roughly 3,500 fins are seen on this rooftop alone.

That my friends is the truth. Not that they are the monsters, but we are. They are just as curious as us. They are not out to get us. Sure, they may not be as intelligent as an orca or a dolphin, but there is something going on in those brains. They are not mindless eating machines. There is far more to them than we are lead to believe from Shark Week. So in conclusion, whether you choose to watch the inevitable trainwreck of good (bad) movies that will be Sharknado week on SyFy or if you decide to watch Discovery Channel's lineup of questionable at best shows on this year's Shark Week. Do yourself a favor. Remember what is really happening with sharks. 100,000,000 are being killed every year. On average less than 10 humans are killed by sharks in a year. Remember the facts. Enjoy the fiction. Remember not everything you see on TV is real. Have a nice day and enjoy more photos about  the truth of sharks! :)    NO GRAPHIC IMAGES AHEAD

These animals are not out to get us. They are just as curious about us as we are them. We still know so little about these animals and just how many different species of them exist in the world today. We are in grave danger of losing so many of these species. We are the only ones who can save them. Discovery Channel needs to change the tone of their programming towards conservation and not further away. After all is said and done... How can there be a Shark Week with no sharks left in the world?

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