Shark Tale

Environmentalism & Animal Rights


Fantasy though it is, Steven Spielberg’s magnificent thriller, Jaws, is still a better Guide For The Perplexed on shark behavior than the “experts.” Using anthropomorphism (the practice of attributing human characteristics to an animal), not reason, the shark seers insist that this perfectly designed killing machine prefers feasting on fish than on folks. (“Too tough and chewy,” says a spokesfish for the shark community. “The attacks in the Florida Panhandle were carried out by two rogue members of our society.”) Let’s see: isn’t the alleged feeding preference of sharks a consequence of there being more fish in the sea than people? Hmm… And so we hear that the two teens who were recently savaged were either mistaken for seals or were perceived by Jaws to be jostling for his food supply. (“This is a turf war,” said the spokesfish, otherwise known as “The Mouth.”) A witness —a brave surfer who paddled to the rescue —says Sharky didn’t seem remotely ambivalent, and was doing what powerful, flesh-eating animals with pointy teeth do: tucking in.
“Different species; different cultures,” philosophized MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. That neoconservatives adopt the language of equivalence vis-a -vis man’s relationship with a man eater isn’t surprising. They have embraced many pink perversions (Andrew Sullivan does proud to Greenpeace and the Sierra Club). “Why do you think the Bush administration has such a blind spot on the environment?” Scarborough whinged at actor Robert Redford, who proceeded (with permission) to slime the president for taking pleasure in “shredding” nature. Bill O’Reilly and Joe Scarborough pounce on anyone who repudiates the invasion of Iraq for the moral, legal, and constitutional corruption that it is. But they openly allow liberals to slam Bush on the one issue he’s not that bad on: the environment (for one, his refusal to capitulate to the Kyoto-protocol crazies showed good judgment). Go figure.