The world has gone mad. How long have we believed that? Our parents must have thought it, too. But these days, we’ve "jumped the shark.” Do you know where the phrase came from? It was written by Jon Hein to describe the moment in the evolution of a TV show when some over-the-top gimmick is used in a desperate attempt to keep viewers’ interest. The phrase is taken from the fifth-season episode of the sitcom Happy Days when Fonzie LITERALLY jumps over a shark on water-skis.
Now it seems everyone in England has “dropped their bacon sandwich.” This is a Brit expression to express ultimate shock, popularized in the 90s by Loaded magazine. British Prime Minister David Cameron surely dropped his and has been undergoing a national embarrassment for the last two days. Is seems as a youthful member of a “debauched” Oxford University group known as the Piers Gaveston Society, Cameron put his dick in the mouth of a dead pig. So now we get #snoutrage, #hameron and #piggate.
The amazing thing is the similarity to an episode of the dystopian TV drama Black Mirror, which tells the story of a PM forced to fuck a pig on live TV to avert the killing of a kidnapped princess. The show’s creator, Charlie Brooker, has gone on record in the wake of Pig-gate to say that he WASN’T aware of the rumor when he wrote it. (You can see it on Netflix. I just watched that episode this summer and it is intense.)
Humorist Andy Borowitz said recently, referring to Donald Trump, the bar can’t go lower;
“According to a new study, the bar is now essentially flush with the ground.”
Yes, Trump is a “SERIOUS” candidate for President. And can you think WAY back to the outrage over Walter Palmer‘s trophy hunting murder of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe this summer? We do have a scandal dujour, but the internet lost it’s collective MIND over this killing. (Myself included) Of course, Donald Trump defended Palmer.
So, nothing really surprises us anymore, does it. When TV shows come true and billionaire blow-hard TV personalities are the talk of the news every single day, then what is “news” anymore? Can the refugees from Syria hold our attention? When we accept mass shootings on a daily basis and ISIS beheads people as routine, we have OFFICIALLY jumped that damn shark.
To take it even further, look at sharks themselves, as entertainment metaphor. We get the Sharknado movie series, taking the implausible to the extreme. And this summer a surfer was attacked on live TV, 40 years after Jaws made us all afraid to go in the water…
We also get wonderful moments that are STILL hard to believe, like the SCOTUS ruling making same-sex marriage legal throughout the land but then… Kim Davis. We get another Davis, Viola, winning the Best Actress Emmy in a TV Drama FOR THE FIRST time in 2015…? But then there’s (white) soap actress Nancy Lee Grahn grabbing the spotlight immediately, Tweeting about white injustice, TRULY not understanding the significance of the milestone.
Yes, we are ALL just one Tweet away from fame or ruin, it seems. Nothing is too far or too much for the insatiable 24/7 news cycle. We are all guilty of piling on too, when it’s a cause dear to us or some “bridge too far” statement or behavior. Demonize and vilify first, get the facts later. (Facts? LOL. They really ARE irrelevant in 2015, ask the GOP.)
So, what do we all do? How do we combat this shrill culture we’ve all helped to create? I’m afraid the answer has been there all along, something the postmodern, shark-jumped life has required for quite a while now. Edit. You must edit your life as ruthlessly a Housewivesepisode. Look away from that which you revile and focus on the good and the positive in the world and in our lives. If we keep “making stupid people famous” then who do we have to blame? Everybody trashes the Kardashians, but if people TRULY had enough of them, they would go away like Scott Walker just did.
We now need and want to be entertained endlessly and it’s about to get worse –or better depending on how you look at it. Oculus Rift is coming… I just read a fascinating story in Vanity Fair, which isn’t exactly news, but we’ve not collectively focused on it yet. Virtual Reality is not a dream or just for gamers. It’s already here. Mark Zuckerberg bought 22 year-old Palmer Luckey‘s garage-invention (for $2 billion) and is making it available to the masses. There are other VR sets coming to market and we WILL be able to go into space with Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson and play celebrity or take all our friends to London and steal the crown jewels, just for kicks. This will be bigger than 3D and smartphones, you can bank on it. You think internet porn ruined sex? This is set to give us all brand new disorders, for sure.
So, get ready kids. You can all VIRTUALLY jump the shark in Jaws in 2016.