Why the most defining film of our time … is from 1975

March 30, 2017

We live in a senseless time.  Our nation is ruled by no-talents who wallow with pride in their lack of knowledge and skill at what they do.  Anyone who might know what they are doing are counseled about how useless they are, and how much they must serve those who know jack shit, while yet more shit is piled on them to prevent them from getting too revolutionary.

This is why I think this is the defining film of our era, despite being 42 years early.


I’m a star!  They’ll let me!  I can do anything!


I would like to argue that Jaws is a story or parable of our times.  In keeping with our times, allow me to spout my bullshit theory.


The film has a very simple score … just a couple of repeated notes … indicative of a society where funding for the arts has been drained to pay for an already bloated military.


The film opens with the establishment of immediate, clear and present danger.  A woman is viciously slaughtered while out enjoying her God given right to swim nude, with a great white shark taking the place of a couple of gun toting FRWEASPs  (who of course oggled her the whole way through their sniper scope before shooting the sinner for her transgressions).


Enter Martin Brody, police chief of Amity Island.  The Chief is a good man who wants to do a good job, but is frankly scared (why would someone afraid of the water ever take a job on the island … as the chief puts it … “it’s only an island if you look at it from the water”).  Poor logic, but the man is honest in his convictions.  They find the poor girl’s remains, and the police immediately files a “person eaten by a shark report” and sets off to close the beaches.


This is supposed to be in late June, but the death certificate says poor Chrissy Watkins was eaten on December 4.  Just more alternative facts!


Then the real villains appear … the business owners and the politicians (unlike today, they are depicted as separate people, but if this film were made today, it would just be the mayor who owns the hotel, failing casino, and golf course on the island).  The poorly dressed mayor, gently reminds the newly hired chief that doing this will completely damage the economy which is based on suckers from the mainland coming to sunbathe and swim.  The chief gets the message from the politicians and business owners and changes the report to “run over by boat”.


Seriously, who else other than a failed land developer dresses in such poor taste.

The next day, as one might suspect, the shark returns and kills a boy.  The mother senses a false flag operation, and offers a reward for the shark’s body.  This attracts every cast member and fan of Duck Dynasty and Swamp People to show up (at one point, one of the fishermen actually asks how $8,000 splits four ways … so you know this isn’t the PBS crowd).  They go hunting for their terrorist shark, and instead bag an innocent shark that kind of looked like the other shark.


They all look alike, how can you tell?  Besides, if this shark was innocent, it wouldn’t have tried swimming away.


Needing a dose of sanity, the heroic elitist scientist is called in.  The scientist realizes it is the wrong shark, and he and the chief go hunting for the real beast at night on the scientist’s fully decked out yacht (probably bought from government grant money wasted on churning out global warming papers, despite admitting he just comes from a rich white privileged family).  They strike out, but the scientist does find a tooth indicative of a massive predator, but drops it after seeing the head of a local fisherman who somehow got eaten by the shark inside his boat without a shark sized hole in the boat (this shark must be far more flexible than any shark in history).When the scientist and chief try to build a case based on science, the mayor simply refuses to believe it.  There is money to be made by his friends in the business community … and goes ahead with the summer celebration plans …


The damn college kids believe in freedom of speech until they disagree with it.  Then it is vandalism and riots.


… but not before building a wall …. of boats … armed with heavy weapons out in the bay to protect the swimmers and keep out illegal sharks.


Who cares how many boats.  Send the bill to Mexico!


That wall does as well as you might think … the shark goes right underneath it, and kills again.  This time the mayor decides to give in, and hire a professional.  This professional … a US navy vet with lots of experience (the moderate conservative of the story), joins forces with the scientist and the chief to hunt the shark.  You can tell he is conservative because he is grizzled and sexist … but he is a moderate, because the damn mayor is on his back about parking, and he wants his shack rezoned as part of the deal to kill the shark.


Moderate Republican c. 2017 (pictured)

The scientist and the fisherman don’t get along very well at first, and both largely ignore the moderate who is barely containing his terror.  Eventually, the scientist and fisherman learn to respect each other after comparing scars one drunken evening.  Showing that differences can be overcome … with the help of ethanol!

In the end, the professional fisherman is killed … because he allowed the mayor and business leaders to run things and not insist on doing things the right way in the first place.  The scientist damn near gets killed, but escapes to hide among some rocks at the ocean bottom.  the bravely heroic moderate Martin Brody (he’s a cop, but open minded) finally kills the shark using the tools of liberal science (a SCUBA air tank likely packed with semtex for reasons) and the moderate conservative’s rifle to kill the shark.

Perhaps the moral of the story is that, in the end, the educated and open minded will be the survivors … those that can communicate and understand where both sides of the debate come from. Of course, in the sequel, the mayor and business community get their revenge by firing Martin after he tries to save the island again while the teens try to run away to Europe … so there is that.

Maybe the moral is that until a decent man is elected president, we will all be chum!


This is why I really hate cell phones!

March 18, 2017

If a student asks me my opinion on time travel, I tell them that I don’t believe it will ever happen, though the only thing I can be sure of is that I never get involved in its invention.  When the student asks how I can be so sure, I ask them to pull their cell phone out.  After they produce it, I tell them that this is the evidence, because if I was ever involved in time travel, the first thing I would do is make sure these damned things were never invented.

Cell phones a frickin’ plague on education.  No one is sure how to handle them properly, and what generally happens is a lot of fighting (or no fighting, and cell phones everywhere).

Parents are the biggest pains in the posterior about this.  I would estimate that 60-70% of texts to students are parents … and sometimes those texts are “call me”, which is code for “go to the bathroom and call me”.  It is bad enough that students don’t know how to properly use this technology, something made worse by the fact that relatively few parents know how to use this technology.

Case in point.

This past week, one of my colleagues was walking down the hall and saw a kid sitting at a desk taking a test … and was on his cell phone.  She accosted him, but on a second look, saw that the kid had tears streaming down his face, and was on the verge of hysterics.  Why?

It turns out mom had just texted him that they were taking grandma off of life support.

If you are thinking “what monster would do this”, then I say congratulations, you have not been replaced by a facsimile grown in a large seed pod.  I am often the last person to tell parents how to parent, but if I were a parent, and the family dog was being put to sleep, I wouldn’t text that … let alone that grandma was about to pass after what must have been a deeply emotional decision.  That a parent thought that it was OK to do this shows not only a complete lack of empathy to their offspring, but a complete misuse of technology.

Needless to say we had to escort the kid down to his counselor and call in the team psychologist to help with this.


Parents, please, for the love of God, DO NOT TEXT OR CALL YOUR KIDS DURING THE SCHOOL DAY!  As much as you wouldn’t want a teacher breaking in to one of your meetings to give a mundane reminder, wait until the kid is out of school.  If your kid texts you during the day,don’t respond until the day is over, and then reprimand them for texting during school.  If there is an emergency, call the school, get a hold of the kid’s counselor and have the kid brought down where they can get the news directly, AND have some human support on hand in case things get emotional.

Clearly, mom was having a bad day, but these are the kinds of things, as an adult, you need to think about before you do them.

Are you against Trump and his billionaire supporters?

March 4, 2017

Here is one way to show your disdain for at least one of his billionaire supporter families!

I wholeheartedly approve!

And on sale for the low, low price of $19.08!