The problem with sharks
For good reason, Jaws has been spoofed ad nauseum. And just when you thought this line of film had breathed it’s dying breath conservationists with cameras have taken up the mantle, bringing new levels of absurdity to this genre. The recently awarded Save our Seas Foundation video is just the ticket, driving home the point that sharks pose as much threat to our safety as falling coconuts & soda machines.
Re-think the Shark
I could rattle off a long list of astonishing facts about how sharks pose little threat to humans however it would do little to erase Spielberg’s seminal piece cinema from people’s minds. Single-handedly he drove people out of our seas and into our chlorinated pools, with the most traumatising piece of cinema since Hitchcock’s Psycho. It was only later that the author of Jaws admitted his folly in allowing the cinematic adaption of his book.
‘We knew so little back then, and have learnt so much since, that I couldn’t possibly write the same story today. I know now that the monster I created was largely a fiction. Today, I could not portray the shark as a villain; it would have to be written as the victim. Worldwide, sharks are much more the oppressed than the oppressors’
Peter Benchley, who adapted his book for the movie blockbuster Jaws.
Over history other animals have fallen prey to directors and writer’s vivid imaginations (anyone read Moby Dick? see Hitchcock’s The Birds), so there’s hope that sharks may fade from people’s Deep Seated Fears. However, given the rate at which sharks are disappearing from our seas due to the booming demand for shark fins, it may well be after they are snuffed out. Extinct. Gone. Forever.
Sharks present a unique set of questions for conservationists wanting to save this ancient species. Given that we’re dealing with an irrational fear is it best to battle it with hard facts & statistics? Do we need to like them to save them? And if so, how do we shift perception to save this species from extinction?