This week, Discovery celebrates the 30th anniversary of Shark Week. Do you understand what that means? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Well, not nothing . It means that if you are under 30, Shark Week existed before you were born. You never knew Shark Week! On the day you were born, someone could have said, "Boy, I'm really looking forward to Shark Week next year." And the other person would have hopefully screwed up and said, "Are you?"
It has not always been exactly the phenomenon that it is now. Perhaps Shark Week reached its full maturity in November 2006, when Tracy Jordan, played by Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock Kenneth, gave the page with these advices: "Live like Shark Week every week." If you want to use the search engine of your choice, you'll find that there's plenty of bootleg merchandise that carries exactly that slogan and simultaneously demolishes 30 Rock and Shark Week at the same time.
Since then, Shark Week has been omnipresent. How much? It even came out in an interview with Stormy Daniels, which aired earlier this year on 60 minutes .
The saga continues. This year airs Discovery Specials like Alien Sharks: Greatest Hits Cuba's Secret Shark Lair Guy Fieris Feeding Frenzy Shark Tank Meets Shark Week Sharkwrecked Great White Shark Babies Sharks Gone Wild and my personal favorite ̵
And what, after all, is more fundamental to the culture of our collective moment than to get more attention in wallowing in your worst decisions?
This year, you can get a wealth of shark wrap products that allow you to promote your own cable programming! You can build a shark in the Build-A-Bear workshop, buy Shark Week ties or eat a Swedish fish from a Shark Week bag!
Look: The phenomenon of Shark Week is very … strange at a fundamental level. (It's a hi-tech term from the TV industry.) It began with the marketing of a Discovery Channel – a way to lure viewers over the summer by BOO! about beaches and oceans with the power of science. They have also used it in the past to promote nature conservation and to highlight the problems faced by shark populations, and they say that to some extent. But that's not the reason why there's a special called Sharkcam Stakeout this year. Sharks are an example of a common fear that, while real, is very unlikely to ever affect a single person. With the thrill of the diabetes week or car accident week, you could not attract a large audience. The dangers of sharks are reminiscent of the very threat and exact distance that this type of exploitation requires. It's right in the bag: it's exciting, but the chances are very small, that's how you'll die. Try the Weasting Patterns Weekly Instancable We Instancement We
But at some point Shark Week was treated like a real time, like Flag Day or October. It is widely used beyond discovery. Now every summer we have a Sharknado movie. ( The Last Sharknado: It's about time premieres on August 19th, and it involves time travel.) (I know, believe me, I know.) Nat Geo Wild – who did not even exist Shark Week was invented – now runs the very similar rival "Sharkfest", which this year will be two weeks long and already running. (The offer includes Shark vs. Tuna The whale injuring the jaws: New evidence and Shark Kill Zone .)
That must stop. Shark Week is not an Earth Day. It's not even as charming as Valentine's Day, and Valentine's Day is a scam! At least other fictional holidays are invented to get you to buy presents. Shark Week is just there to see Shark Week.
There is a lot of science on TV – especially public television. There are also many wild animals on TV. But when Shark Week organizes a crossover with Shark Tank just because they both have "Shark" in the title, and when they get Naked and Afraid of Sharks just for the sake of laughter If you read the title aloud (just done, only one), you've come quite far away from science and conservation. The key is not to live every week as it is shark week. The key is to live Shark Week like any other week. Because it is.