More Animals Deserve Their Own Version of 'Shark Week’
I used to give sharks the benefit of the doubt—Jaws really did a hatchet job on their reputation-
- but recent events have given me pause. I’m not referring to some new behavior in the shark
community; I haven’t spoken to any, but to the best of my knowledge they’re still doing the
same things they always do. And that’s precisely the problem: sharks have an outsize media
presence for animals that have been doing the same thing for the last twenty million years.
In fact, every year The Discovery Channel holds a week’s worth of “Shark-related content.”
Shark Week has gotten more and more hype over the years, to the point that it’s become an
Actual Event that people look forward to. Watching all this hoopla makes me wonder: isn’t it
time other species had a week of their own?
Shark Week has been running since 1988. Don’t you think that by now we’ve said about all
there is to say regarding sharks? I’d love to see a Mongoose Week. Or even a Flatworm Week at this point. And I know I said I was trying to give the sharks the benefit of the doubt, but I have
to say this: might it be better to celebrate all the animals that haven’t violently killed people? As
far as I’m aware of gophers haven’t killed anyone, yet no one is rewarding them with a week of
Opening the coveted Shark Week block to other species would clear away the dross that
inevitably results from 34 years of stale subject matter. For an example of such dross: Shark
Week 2017 saw Michael Phelps racing against a computer-animated shark. Just think how much more grounded the show would have been if Phelps was racing against a bonafide non-computer-animated herring. Shark Week likes to make docudramas about massive, prehistoric monster sharks that may or may not have survived into the current age? Well, why not make an actual documentary about an actual survivor of the prehistoric era, the extremely camera-
friendly and scandal-free horseshoe crab?
Now, Discovery doesn’t have to get rid of all the glitz and glamor. In fact, giving more animals
their own week would create all kinds of opportunities to generate buzz and bring in viewers.
You could give an animal a week of programming and then pick a celebrity host with the same
name as the animal. This would be easy for wolves (Wolf Blitzer) and crows (Sheryl Crow);
extremely easy for seals (Seal); somewhat more challenging for blue-footed boobies.
Most importantly, though, there is the undeniable fact that our planet is hemorrhaging
biodiversity. We are currently living through a Great Extinction. Given the reality of the
situation, it behooves us to take stock of what we’re losing. Sure, not every animal has the cool
mystique of the shark. But if the movie Jaws taught us anything, it’s that there’s more to
celebrate in life than looking badass and eating people.
If you enjoyed today’s moot, consider donating to The Sphinx Organization, Peter’s charity of choice.
*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'More Animals Deserve Their Own Version of 'Shark Week’ in the style of Umberto Boccioni, Peter's artist of choice.*