Comment Of The Day: “Dispatches From The Great Stupid, “D.E.I.” Division: This Story From The Washington Post Was Not A Joke…”

In addition to perfectly encapsulating the insanity of our times and being unintentionally hilarious, the Washington Post headline, “‘Shark Week’ lacks diversity, overrepresents men named Mike, scientists say” also did society a favor by triggering Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day.

He has a lot of interesting observations here, as well as revelations about something I know absolutely nothing about, sea exploration, that wasn’t explained in old re-runs of “Sea Hunt.”

Here is Chris’s Comment of the Day on the EA post about the dumbest serious headline of the year...

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Have any of the researchers currently studying the number of times white males are showcased on these series actually pitched an idea to Discovery? I don’t think Discovery Channel calls guys named Mike to do a show for them about sharks. The only Mike that I am aware of on the series is Mike Rowe who has developed a number of programs for the Discovery Channel, most notably Dirty Jobs. I suppose because I don’t see a lot of women cleaning hog pens or standing next to a blast furnace that too is discriminatory. What that Mike has done for making non-white collar jobs desirable and dignified is what most of us should aspire to emulate.

Yes, most of the shows do focus on the shark’s hunting behavior but the attacks showcased are not about attacks on humans but on prey species. Nothing captures the viewer like an 8-foot, 2000 pound Great White breach the surface as it hunts a seal (or a replica of one). The replicas are scientific instruments that take various measurements such as bite force and jaw size. When the focus is on the hunting behaviors of other pelagic species, the focus on speed and tactics. As a diver, I want to know as much about the behavior of certain species that I may encounter in the wild. One of my most favorite dives was a wreck called the Proteus where I had the privilege of swimming with over three dozen 6-8 foot Sand Tiger sharks. When I tell people about my diving, I often hear women claim they would not attempt to dive with sharks. Men probably think the same but are less inclined to admit it.

I have no idea how many shark researchers are female or male, how many ever venture out to sea or if they do their research in a lab environment. I seriously question the veracity of anyone who claims there are more of one gender in a narrow field. Marine biology does seem to be attractive to women, but the field is so broad that not every marine biology graduate winds up working with sharks.

Living on a research vessel for weeks at a time is not exactly that of being on a Carnival cruise liner. Even smaller vessels that go out for the day will beat the crap out of you most days. Hell, just going out 20 miles off the coast of North Carolina will cause most people to be chumming the waters out and back. I know, because I spent a lot of days wondering why I decided to go on this dive trip as I tried mightily to keep my eyes on the horizon while the boat ploughed through 5-foot swells which by the way are relatively mild for most days. When you get to the site, the boat pitches and rolls tossing you around making your life even more miserable. The smell of decaying sealife that clings to your wetsuits when mixed with the acrid diesel exhaust makes for a long, often cold and damp, day. The idea that the seas are calm, and the skies are sunny for the Discovery teams is created through the magic of editing. You cannot drop a shark cage over the side when the boat is pitching so we get to see only those days when the conditions are perfect.

There can be a lot of factors that result in few women or minorities seen on shows such as these. Before I can state that some type of discrimination is taking place, I would need to know how many of these persons who are heralding the study have taken the time to find out how many women or minorities have been turned down for being central figures portrayed in these programs. And as the left likes to say if you are unhappy with your treatment go out and build your own series.

5 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Dispatches From The Great Stupid, “D.E.I.” Division: This Story From The Washington Post Was Not A Joke…”

  1. Thanks Jack.
    After writing this I thought I should have explained that marine biologists typically spend their entire lives focused on a specific class of organisms . The biome is so complex there are more species underwater than above. While sharks captures the attention of viewers, they are hardly a menace and swimmers in tropical waters are injured more often by critters as small as a thimble ( box jellyfish which can kill an adult in 30 minutes) to venomous fish that can cause excruciating pain.
    Being eaten alive by an animal is fear that is often irrational given the relative few number of fatal attacks but it is that fear that drives eyeballs to shark week. It is a morbid curiosity.
    There is so much biodiversity in the marine environment no scientist could be an expert in all areas. More importantly, while sharks are at the top of the food chain and help create a balanced ecosystem everything from water chemistry that affect the growth of coral polyps which serve as food or environments for other species as well as deep water species that rid the oceans of organic detritus they all are equally important. The only people who think one species is more important and complain about not being on TV are those who are more concerned about fame than science and ecology.
    I would suggest people lookup the great Pacific Gyre to see the effects of carelessly discarded plastics. I find the whole emphasis on climate change to be misguided until we decide to focus on contamination of our oceans.

  2. I have nothing to say, Ever since my parents would trek us to the overcrowded Jones Beach or Rockaway, I have hated the beach. I avoid them at all costs, as well as the denizens that lurk in the seas that lap again the shores.

  3. Courage, knowledge and experience are the key words here. Every single human being who has trod new ground, or sea or air has possessed those. It is the business of our explorers, in science, thought and elsewhere, to gather up the gumption to go there, and increase man’s knowledge of his universe, and indeed, his own humanity.

    What total moron would give even one thought to the sex or name or such an explorer? (Sharks deserve study: the reporter deserves to be chum.) This is total insanity. The writer should change his name, dive on in, and see exactly how much his analysis means. If afterward he has the means to speak. I do not for the life of me understand why everything, everything is available to the Woke for nonsense criticism, especially when then know naught of where they speak.

    Some people actually contribute, you know. Reporters, who only report (or pretend to report) what others have done, contribute on their best day one tiny electron of assistance to mankind. Worse, they truly believe they are important. I think they should all retire to write lousy novels. Let’s see the readership there: when one has to seek out their opinions instead of having them thrown in one’s face every morning. Just watch the numbers drop to nothing, which is exactly where they belong.

    A pox on them all.

  4. Shark week lacks diversity. It’s been my experience that those that constantly screech about racism here or there, or behind every tree are in fact the true racists. And their accusations of racism are always aimed exclusively at White people.
    In this shark matter, I tend to agree with Jack that women are probably less inclined to want to swim with sharks, likely seeing the act as an unnecessary risk. In general a man has always been more of a risk taker than a woman. It’s probably that testosterone.

  5. Complaints that documentaries about sharks focus too much on their hunting and attack behaviors are hilariously stupid. To the layman, that is the only thing they do that is remotely interesting. Who would watch an hour of sharks just calmly swimming through empty water? Sharks, like most fish, don’t appear to have complex social structures and behaviors that would prompt much interest for non-biologists. So the choices are either shows that feature sharks attacking things, or shows about something other than sharks. Discovery doesn’t make these shows as a public service; they’re trying to make money. They need viewers to do that.

    Regarding “diversity”, I suspect that the sorts of women who do the kind of hands-on, in-a-wetsuit research that these programs showcase aren’t really the kind of woman that the diversity police would be happy with, anyway. The job is too demanding, as Chris lays out clearly, for people who use alternate pronouns and spend their time concocting imaginary offenses. The women out there on boats tagging sharks are probably universally tough, pragmatic, intelligent, and independent: in short, not the kind of women the “progressives” like to see.

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