‘Jaws’ – A Parable For Our Times

By Bernie Bell

In the film ‘Jaws’, the Mayor of a seaside town insists on keeping the beach open even though there have been shark attacks. This is because the town is geared up for the holiday season and would lose money if the beach was closed. (Does that sound familiar?).

An expert, who knows what’s what when it comes to sharks, warns him repeatedly that this will endanger people and could cost lives.

He emphasises that this isn’t a normal shark – it’s a whopping great big one. (It’s not the ’Flu – it’s Covid).

The Life Guards have some idea of what the situation is, and are told to be extra vigilant.  It could be said that they might have used their vantage points and their megaphones to alert people to the danger and instruct them, emphatically, to not go into the water.  But if they did that they might lose their jobs, so……….

The beach is thrown open – the people go into the sea – the shark is spotted and all hell breaks loose.  People running, splashing through the water – exactly what will attract the shark.

Doing exactly the opposite of what would be the best approach to take in the situation. ( Gathering together in large crowds – travelling – etc . etc.)

Only after enough people have died does the Mayor accept help from the experts, who then have to sort out the mess.

Some have died and many will probably be left with a reluctance to go in the water. ( A reluctance to go among people again).

It occurred to me that this film is a good parable for our times.  I mentioned this idea in a comment to this article by Fiona G https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/07/11/johnsons-freedom-day-a-dangerous-and-unethical-experiment/ but didn’t elaborate, as I didn’t think I needed to.  It looks like maybe I did.

The more I look at aspects of that film, the more it strikes me as having parallels with what is happening, and what might be going to happen after the 19th July.

I hope that ‘The Mayor’ will change his mind sooner rather than later, listen to the experts and ….behave  reasonably.

If not ??????

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3 replies »

  1. I read the Orkney News every day and I am shocked at the double digit increase in positive tests in the last month or so. Why? I am from Ontario Canada and was hoping to visit the home of my ancestors this fall but I think that it will be 2022.

    • Thank you Mr. Taylor – if only more folk were are thought-full as you.

      When the world is different – please, do come and find your ancestors!

  2. I would have liked to include a picture of the poster for the film, as I thought the image of something lurking, unseen, and someone swimming along, regardless, really fitted the idea. But – copyright is copyright. So the ever-resourceful Fiona (G) came with the film clip – which is most excellent – the experts trying to reason with the dingbat.

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