US Before Shark Week and "Jaws," World War II spawned America’s shark obsession
You’re Being Manipulated
Political partisans are using social media in order to divide, dominate, disorient, and ultimately demoralize the people on the other side. One way to do that is to flood the zone with falsehoods and conspiracy theories, and to cause mass disorientation. Another way is trolling: using outrage to hijack people’s brains. But another way to do that is use social pressure to silence, demoralize, isolate, and shame those who are your targets. And anyone can be the target. It turns out probably the most frequent victims of canceling are progressives who are canceled by other progressives.
A painting for the US Army "Stars and Stripes" newspaper shows a downed US Army Air Force pilot fighting off sharks with a knife in 1944 somewhere in the Pacific Ocean Illustration by Ed Vebell/Getty Images
Every summer on the Discovery Channel, "Shark Week" inundates its eager audiences with spectacular documentary footage of.
Debuting in 1988, the television event was an instant hit. Itswildly exceeded the expectations of its creators, who had been inspired by the profitability of the 1975 blockbuster film "Jaws," the first movie at the box office.
Ian Ziering on Working With ‘Sharknado’ Co-Star Tara Reid for a Real-Life Shark Adventure
Ziering co-hosted Monday's ET and opened up about teaming up with Reid for an exciting new Shark Week special.Ziering served as a guest co-host of Monday's Entertainment Tonight, alongside Nischelle Turner, and he opened up about getting into the water with his longtime Sharknado co-star for a new special about the fearsome predators of the deep.
Thirty-three years later, the enduring popularity of thein cable TV history is a testament to a nation terrified and fascinated by sharks.
often credit "Jaws" as the source of America's obsession with sharks.
, I argue that the temporal depths of "sharkmania" run much deeper.
World War II played a pivotal role in fomenting the nation's obsession with sharks. The monumental wartime mobilization of millions of people placed more Americans into contact with sharks than at any prior time in history, spreading seeds of intrigue and fear toward the marine predators.
America on the move
Equilibrium/ Sustainability — The gentler side of Shark Week
Today is Thursday. Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. With humans killing 20 million times as many sharks every year as sharks kill humans, two Australian states will now refer to shark "bites" or "negative encounters" rather than using the more inflammatory word "attacks," The Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday. TheWith humans killing 20 million times as many sharks every year as sharks kill humans, two Australian states will now refer to shark "bites" or "negative encounters" rather than using the more inflammatory word "attacks," The Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesd
Before World War II,. But during the war, the nation was on the move.
Out of a population of, per the 1940 U.S. Census, Americans served in the armed forces, many of whom fought in the Pacific. Meanwhile, crossed county lines to work in the defense industries, many of which were in coastal cities, such as Mobile, Alabama; Galveston, Texas; Los Angeles; and Honolulu.
Local newspapers across the country transfixed civilians and servicemen alike with frequentin the open ocean. Journalists consistently described imperiled servicemen who were rescued or dying in " ."
Whether sharks were visibly present or not, these news articles magnified a growing cultural anxiety of ubiquitous monsters lurking and poised to kill.
Analysis: How Afghan war showed limits of US military power
WASHINGTON (AP) — It took only two months for U.S. invaders to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, a seemingly tidy success against a government that had given refuge to 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Twenty years later, the United States is withdrawing — visions of victory long vanished and an ascendant Taliban arguably within reach of restoring their rule. Afghanistan proved to be a lesson in the limits of America's military power. ItAfghanistan proved to be a lesson in the limits of America's military power.
The naval officer and marine scientist H. David Baldridge reported that fear of sharksamong servicemen in the Pacific theater. General George Kenney enthusiastically supported the adoption of the in the Pacific because its twin engines and long range diminished the chances of a single-engine aircraft failure or an empty fuel tank: "You look down from the cockpit and you can see schools of sharks swimming around. They never look healthy to a man flying over them."
"Hold tight and hang on"
American servicemen became so squeamish about the specter of being eaten during long oceanic campaigns that U.S. Army and Navy intelligence operations engaged in a publicity campaign to combat fear of sharks.
Published in 1942, "" was a "travel" survival guide, of sorts, for servicemen stranded on Pacific islands. The book emphasized the critical importance of conquering such "bogies of the imagination" as "If you are forced down at sea, a shark is sure to amputate your leg."
The War of 1812 vs. Jan. 6: Which was the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol?
British soldiers actually burned Washington in 1814 — believe it or not, the Jan. 6 insurrection was worse Donald Trump, January 6th Capitol Riot and the War of 1812 Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
Similarly, the Navy's 1944 pamphlet titled "" advised wounded servicemen stranded at sea to "staunch the flow of blood as soon as you disengage the parachute" to thwart hungry sharks. The pamphlet helpfully noted that hitting an aggressive shark on the nose might stop an attack, as would grabbing a ride on the pectoral fin: "Hold tight and hang on as long as you can without drowning yourself."
The Department of the Navy also worked with the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, to develop a shark repellent.
Office of Strategic Services executive assistant and future chefworked on the project, which tested various recipes of clove oil, horse urine, nicotine, rotting shark muscle and asparagus in hopes of preventing shark attacks. The project culminated in 1945, when the Navy introduced " ," a pink pill of copper acetate that produced a black inky dye when released in the water – the idea being that it would obscure a serviceman from sharks.
Nonetheless, the U.S. military's morale-boosting campaign was unable to vanquish the glaring reality of wartime carnage at sea. Military media correctly observed that sharks. Indeed, and other infectious diseases took a far greater toll on U.S. servicemen than sharks.
Navy SEAL, ‘Shark Tank’ winner, takes on vulnerable Arizona House Democrat
A protege of the “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, and “Shark Tank” contestant backed by billionaire Mark Cuban on Tuesday said he plans to challenge vulnerable three-term Arizona Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran. © Provided by Washington Examiner “I'm very, very concerned about the current state of this country and the direction that this country is headed,” Eli Crane told Secrets. “I got a chance and an opportunity to live the American dream. And I want to make sure that the following generations are as blessed as I have been,” added the conservative Republican.
But the same publications also acknowledged that an injured person was vulnerable in the water. With the frequent bombing of airplanes and ships during World War II, thousands of injured and dying servicemen bobbed helplessly in the ocean.
One of the worst wartime disasters at sea occurred on July 30, 1945, when pelagic sharks swarmed the site of the shipwrecked. The heavy cruiser, which had just successfully delivered the components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to Tinian Island in a top-secret mission, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Out of a crew of 1,196 men, 300 died immediately in the blast, and the rest landed in the water. As they struggled to stay afloat, men watched in terror as sharks feasted on their dead and wounded shipmates.
Only 316 men survived the five days in the open ocean.
"Jaws" has an eager audience
World War II veterans possessed searing lifelong memories of sharks – either from direct experience or from the shark stories of others. This made them an especially receptive audience for Peter Benchley's taut shark-centered thriller "," which he published in 1974.
, a Navy sailor, immediately wrote to Benchley: "I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. For I have rather a personal interest in sharks."
In vivid detail, Plotz recounted his experiences on a search and rescue mission in the Bahamas, where a hurricane had sunk theon Sept. 13, 1944. Of the original crew of 321, only 73 survived.
"We picked up two survivors who had been in the water twenty-four hours, and fighting off sharks," Plotz wrote. "Then we spent all day picking up the carcasses of those we could find, identifying them and burying. Sometime only rib cages … an arm or leg or a hip. Sharks were all around the ship."
Democrats Blast FBI Kavanaugh Investigation after New Details Revealed: ‘Injustice’
The FBI operated a ‘fake tip line that never got properly reviewed,’ Whitehouse said.The assistant director, Jill Tyson, informed Senators Sheldon White House (D., R.I.) and Chris Coons (D., Del.) in a June letter that the FBI received over 4,500 tips in its probe of Kavanaugh. The FBI then “provided all relevant tips to the Office of White House Counsel,” Tyson wrote. Ten individuals who provided tips were ultimately interviewed.
Benchley's novel paid little attention to World War II, but the war anchored one of the movie's most memorable moments. In the, one of the shark hunters, Quint, quietly reveals that he is a survivor of the USS Indianapolis disaster.
"Sometimes the sharks look right into your eyes," he says. "You know the thing about a shark, he's got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. He comes at you, he doesn't seem to be living until he bites you."
The power of Quint's soliloquy drew upon the collective memory of the most massive wartime mobilization in American history. The oceanic reach of World War II placed greater numbers of people into contact with sharks under the dire circumstances of war. Veterans bore intimate witness to the inevitable violence of battle, compounded by the trauma of seeing sharks circle and feed opportunistically on their dead and dying comrades.
Their horrifying experiences played a pivotal role in creating an enduring cultural figure: the shark as a mindless, spectral terror that can strike at any moment, a haunting artifact of World War II that primed Americans for the era of "Jaws" and "Shark Week."
, University Distinguished Teaching Professor of American Studies,
This article is republished fromunder a Creative Commons license. Read the .
The Christian nationalist assault on democracy goes stealth — but the pushback is working .
Salon's 2018 reporting helped drive the Christian right's Project Blitz underground. Now it's back, on the down-low American Flag and Christianity Cross Getty Images/Javier Art Photography