Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Elegant and beautiful

Is it Shark Week again? I wouldn’t know, because their destructive and dishonest portrayals of these amazing animals was a major factor leading me to turn off the Discovery Channel and never watch it again.

Read David Shiffman’s essay on the abuses of sharks, and join the rest of us in contributing to Discovery’s declining audience share.


  1. mkoormtbaalt says

    Nat Geo Wild is apparently doing a “Shark Fest” at the same time. I wonder if it is any better.

  2. tbtabby says

    This commercial suggests that they’re portraying sharks in a more positive light this year. I hope that’s the case.

    And don’t be too hard on Peter Benchley. He’s at least had the decency to feel bad about giving sharks a bad name.

  3. microraptor says

    I have long been annoyed about how Shark Week focused on great whites, tigers, and bull sharks with barely a mention of any of the other species. And of course, it’s all about either lurid tales of shark attacks or leaping white sharks.

  4. Julie says

    Sharks are my favourite animal. Benchley terrified my eleven year old self ( I watched most of that movie through the holes in my baseball cap, seriously on the big screen was the only way to really appreciate that movie) BUT he also made me fascinated and I’ve never stopped.

    Shark week. Yeah one of the many reasons I stopped watching discovery. I never got over losing which was a science news show they had up here. It was awesome. I’m going to check out NatGeo’s shark fest… maybe. NatGeo has some dumbass shows nowadays too (Drug Inc. really NatGeo?) and I am starting to worry.

    I think the most fun would be watching Shark biologists watch shark week. I came across a blog once where they were just losing their shit over shark week.

  5. Denverly says

    SharkFest on NatGeo Wild is much better than the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. It has actual documentaries. I don’t know about their other shows, but when I turned off Shark Week last year, SharkFest came to the rescue. And technically it wasn’t really Benchley’s fault. It was more Spielberg’s fault with the movie rather than Benchley’s book. The movie makes the shark the monster much more so than the book. The book actually kind of sucks. Jaws is still my favorite movie of all time.

  6. says

    As a kid, the whole way through Jaws, I was like “Why are you chasing it? Why do you have to kill it? It has to eat! It doesn’t know you’re humans! It’s not targeting you – you might as well be seals that are terrible swimmers! If you don’t want to get eaten, stay out of the damn sea! Or at least stick to the shallows! Don’t you idiots know about food webs? Sharks are more important than you! What if it’s pregnant?”

    Benchley and Spielberg might well have made people fear and loathe sharks, but they made me love them more than I did already. My parents love the ocean and dad’s a retired high school science teacher who wrote a thesis on a local reef; many of our holidays included long beach walks identifying and collecting washed-up creatures. The idea of punishing an animal for being itself just seemed nonsensical and abhorrent.

    Recently in Western Australia, a shark cull was instituted by the state government after some fatal attacks on swimmers. I had almost exactly the same reaction as I did to Jaws, as did many others. It’s heartbreaking that people get killed by sharks and nobody wants to be insensitive to that, but we need to realise that the sea is not our domain. We are, however, dependent on it for our survival so we need to respect and protect it, including every creature we might find unpleasant or frightening. We make a recreational choice to swim in the sea; sharks don’t. Murdering a bunch of sharks on the off-chance you kill the one who killed a human makes about as much sense as culling blue-ringed octopodes or cone-snails or stonefish on the off-chance you get the individual who poisoned a human after being stepped on.

  7. treefrogdundee says

    The new head honcho at Discovery said a bit ago that they would be moving away from the sensationalist drivel and back towards more actual science. I’ll believe it when I see it but I’d like to be optimistic.