An ode to the shark
A.C. Douglas is really putting together a best-of with his "Featured Past Post" link. I am particularly fond of this one. I confess a weakness for one kind of nature films: shark films. They are nature's own killing machine, they are loners, and they are just really cool.
The best shark films avoid falling into the Jaws-trap: i.e., presenting sharks as mindless villains, ravening for the "sweet, gamey tang of human flesh" (Mr. Burns' words, not mine). No. The best ones do nature's research and design department justice by presenting the shark as a machine built to kill. From the sensitive olfactory and vibration centers to the ever-regenerating rows of razor-sharp teeth, the shark is designed to do some damage. No human is ever going to form a Whale Rider-esque attachment to a Great White or Tiger shark. There is no March of the Penguins allegory to be found with sharks, unless you're a sociopath. There is only the visceral thrill of watching a two-ton fish, streamlined like a '65 Cadillac - I might add, fly out of the water to use a mouth full of daggers to rip something apart that it might devour it. That's why sharks are cool.
Sharks are the ultimate cool-kid in the animal school. They do their thing, like they have for millions of years, and they clearly don't give a damn if they're cuddly-enough for housewives in Dubuque. Nor do they mind killing the prey of human fishermen. The ultimate animal for the cultural conservative, really. Perhaps Mr. Douglas should drop his unfortunate fondness for the wusses of the animal world - the friendly, dolphin-on-'roids killer whales - and come over to the shark side. He won't regret it. I didn't.
Did I mention how cool sharks are?