Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Today's fish story

Over the weekend, a tuna boat from Gloucester caught and released a six to seven foot shark on Stellwagen Bank. Stellwagen is an area of shallow water in outer Massachusetts Bay roughly the size of the land mass of Rhode Island. Six to seven foot sharks are about as common there as jaywalkers on Tremont Street in Boston.

Except that this was a Great White Shark.

OMG!! Reach for the panic button! Abandon the beaches! Head for the hills! In Massachusetts, this pre-adolescent shark and the barely post-adolescent fishermen who caught it, were today's lead for much of the questionably adult local media. What else was happening? Let's see: opening of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, a high-speed police chase from downtown Boston onto the Mass Turnpike, breakup of a Russian spy ring including two local people... all below the fold, as us dinosaurs used to say in the days of print. Nope, nothing happened today that could possibly be as interesting as a teenage shark caught over 20 miles from the nearest beach.

This is the sort of coverage that makes one abandon all hope that reason and good judgment may one day prevail, and snatch journalism back from the jaws of the tabloid media. Holy crap, it's a shark too small to eat its primary food, seals! There were sharks off this coast before Jaws was filmed, and they may be there after it's forgotten, if humans stop slaughtering them for Asian delicacies and out of reckless panic. It's been 70 years since the state's last shark attack. The fact that the broadcasters all covered this information did nothing to slow down the flow of breathless, panicked leads. Oh, and outside of Hollywood, your chances of being attacked by a Great White are about the same as being struck by lightning as you're being run over by a 1929 Duesenberg immediately after learning that you've won both Mega Millions and Power Ball.

I was going to give props to the Boston Herald for it's factual, emotionless headline earlier today, but I just checked out their Web site to find that they too have bought into the panic party. I'm grateful for the Russian spy arrest, though: it should push little Brucie out of the headlines by the morning.

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