Week 1 (Discussion): Dylan Branch

Being a Southern California native, it is a very important week here, that is “Shark Week”. For those who don’t know, it is a 7 day marathon on TV following anything and everything about sharks. Seems fitting that it airs every year in the middle of the summer for beach goers to get nightmares and follow up with a nice relaxing day on the ocean. Strange right? After diving deeper into the subject, it is clear that society is influenced by the airing of Shark Week. While some TV shows throughout the week display sharks as being these huge under water beasts, other shows portray them as magnificent creatures that we need to care for and learn more about. My theory on the Shark Week fad begins with bringing in viewers in any way they can. People are intrigued to learn more about these mysterious and sometimes terrifying animals. But after watching multiple episodes throughout the week, I started to realize that so many of the shows dealt with the conservation and research of sharks. Not showing them as these killers we need to be afraid of. The first impression of Shark Week can give viewers the idea that sharks are man-eating machines but I started to realize that the more I watched, the more I realized what beautiful animals they really are and wanted to learn about sharks. This had an immediate affect on me in the way that I became aware of the danger they can possess but at the same time, I became aware of what the media outside of Shark Week tries to make them seem like. For example, the movie Jaws caused a feeding frenzy within the media. People were suddenly more terrified of sharks then ever before. They were portrayed as monsters in these films and led viewers into thinking they were extremely dangerous creatures. And while they do pose a threat to humans, there are countless species that can be just as threatening. I believe the airing of Shark Week has really opened the eyes to many people in the sense that they are not the huge monsters people originally think of them as. They can be graceful and very intelligent animals that have been wrongly labeled by the media and therefore been given names like beasts or man-eaters. This just goes to show the affect that the media can have on society and their thoughts about certain topics.