I can’t help but not be very surprised by the reaction from authorities in North Carolina after the recent increase in shark attacks – “The beaches will remain open.” After hearing this, the first thought that came into my head was Jaws. The local politicians and business owners in Spielberg’s classic film reacted exactly the same way. It’s the 4th of July weekend, one of the biggest moneymaking times of the year. Closing the beaches will ruin the local economy. Public safety, sure that’s needed, but hey, business first. North Carolina has already experienced seven shark attacks this year. Add in the three attacks that occurred in South Carolina, and that puts the two neighboring states at ten. On average, the two Carolina’s combined normally have about six or seven attacks all year.
In Jaws, the business owners and mayor pressure Sheriff Brody to keep the beaches open to devastating results. True, the shark in the film was a great white and the sharks in North Carolina are not. But, does it really matter when you are in the water, if even a small shark pops up right next to you? Checking you out, like you’re his afternoon snack. It can’t be a good thing.
For myself, the only ocean I will be seeing this holiday weekend will be when I drop my disc of Jaws into my DVD player and take in my annual viewing of Spielberg’s summertime thriller. It’s become kind of a tradition with me to watch this film on the 4th of July. For some, it may watching James Cagney do his George M. Cohan thing in Michael Curtiz’s Yankee Doodle Dandy. For others, it might be the musical 1776 or The Patriot, Rocky IV or Independence Day.
Jaws encompasses the holiday spirit, or at least the part of the holiday spirit that goes terribly wrong. It represents Spielberg at a point in his career where he proved himself a master of the cinematic universe. It’s pulp Hollywood filmmaking at its finest. So grab yourself some hamburgers, or like me, veggie burgers, off the grill, along with a big bag of popcorn, some cold drinks and enjoy the weekend from the safety of your own home.
Have a great holiday weekend!