Day 65 8/29/13: Ron Burgundy & The Politics of Captivity

Ron's SportsCenter audition.

Ron’s SportsCenter audition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While editing my shark syllabus,  I realized I ordered a textbook for my class penned by OCEARCH supporter Greg Skomal. Ugh. The only positive is that the  chapter on shark tagging, replete with pictures of sharks being landed on decks with no running water over their gills, and assorted disturbing “research” shots–one of which shows a a live sandbar shark being held upside down with a pipe down its throat–gives me a perfect way to explain the “fishermen posing as scientist” mission of OCEARCH and hopefully encourage  some student action. Sigh.

Signed a petition asking the producers of “Anchorman 2” to nix footage of Seaworld from their new movie. Apparently in the sequel, Ron Burgundy’s career has sunk to such an abysmal low that he’s become an announcer at Seaworld.

I loved “Anchorman,” and appreciate that at least that stupid hellhole is the butt of a joke, but why give it any publicity at all?

In related news, I RSVP’d to a protest at SeaWorld San Diego this Sunday. Can’t wait!

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Day 34 7/29/2013: The Ghost of Jack Webb & Me

I felt the ghost of Jack Webb working through me today. In the morning, I showed my international students the documentary “Los Angeles Plays Itself” which uses movies to explore L.A.’s identity crisis. Multiple shots of city hall stirred up some heavy “Dragnet” nostalgia. The spirit of Sgt. Joe Friday sparkled in the bright badges of the LAPD officers I spoke with about the horror in Chinatown. As I dropped by PETA’s fancy office in Echo Park, I imagined  Jack Webb reborn as an animal rights crusader. In another era, he could have broken up backyard dogfighting rings, or brought down poachers with the same relentless moral superiority that he used to lecture acid-addled hippies. I hope PETA can help me with the turtle-pet store crisis. Stay tuned.

As for sharks, besides buying a 6-pack of Great White beer that features a slick, glossy and too-manic shark clutching a mug of froth and a chewed up surfboard, (I just had to buy it, I hope it’s not horrible), I’m reminding everyone to send comments  asking the National Marine Fisheries Service not to undermine the Shark Conservation Act with loopholes and exceptions.

I also want to finish dividing “Jaws” into readable “chunks.” I hate that word.  It evokes chewed up humans. Chunks of human flesh remind me that although I did succumb to using the word “Sharktastic” yesterday, I’m trying to outlaw cute shark language here–no “bite-sized” monologues, for example.  Even the Great White beer package doesn’t resort to cutesy words, although I just noticed that the shark mascot stands on a sandy shore littered with a shell, a starfish and a bloody human hand, a kind of nautical crime scene.