photo credit Oceana & Carlos Suarez
Okay, how could I not write an entry about sharks on Shark Week? Sadly, I don't have any television services, so I haven't been able to participate in the sharky-madness, but I've been hunting around the net for some good stuff anyhow.
To get ourselves in the proper shark mood, let's check out this AWESOME commercial for something unfortunately titled "Air Jaws"...Lame name, awesome video. Seriously, just check this out.
Alright, now that we've all been sharkified, let's move into a general history of Shark Week, and why we love it.
First of all – there’s sharks. Who doesn’t love sharks? Okay, seriously.
"The idea for a week of programming about sharks arose in the late ‘80s when Steve Cheskin—now the head of programming for Discovery’s sister network TLC—blurted it out during a brainstorming meeting at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C."
No one was really hot on the idea besides Discovery founder John Hendricks. He knew the program would draw viewers to Discovery during the summer when normal programming was suspended.
"It was an immediate hit with audiences, helping grow Discovery into a company with $3.6 billion in annual revenue, and spawning sister network, Animal Planet, in 1996."
Hendricks drew cable companies to carry Discovery on the grounds that it would give a greater variety in programming and that it was popular amongst parents and community boards for its educational value. Shark Week was here to stay.
I've heard a bunch of people saying that they're a little tired of all the shark attack hype Discovery brings with their programming and that they should be more responsible with the information and the images they're showing to the public. But I’ve also heard that it's been better this year. I think this is a much needed step in the right direction. I'm sure we've all heard the figure by now that approximately 5 people are killed each year by sharks, while 100 million sharks are killed each year by people. It's not really fair of us to be showing them as the deadly predator.
So how can you help our beloved sharks? First of all, you can jump on the bandwagon cause of putting an end to the gruesome practice of shark finning - where a live shark has its fins sliced off by fishermen, only to be thrown back into the water to die in agony. I suggest writing to your Congress or other representative - it takes two seconds and it's really not as hard as people make it out to be. Additionally, you could adopt a shark from Oceana, and also make some pretty awesome cookies while you're at it. Check out this page for more ideas.
But the coolest thing I've seen in a very long time has to be this. Go on, click it. This is an auction to bid on shark experts. That's right - real people! Winners get to share an afternoon with their favourite shark expert and the money will be used to help protect our favourite cartilaginous fish. I'm going for Sylvia Earle or Eugenie Clark.
If you're just up for some good ole' sharktacular fun, you simply must check out these two games on Newgrounds:
A little ridiculous, a little crazy, a little far-fetched. But we all just need one week a year to go fanatical and completely lose our minds. And that week, my friends, is Shark Week.
History of Shark Week article here (The Daily Beast)