Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Piers Akerman, Sharks, Greenies, Global Warming, Jaws, Sydney Harbour and did we mention SHARK

How long o Lord before the fat owl, aka Piers Akerman, proud newspaperman, preferring black ink in his veins to blood, takes on the vexing issue of sharks?

How long? How about today? Never put off a shark story in a tabloid when you can always do it right here, right now in Biting the hands that cleaned up the Harbour.

As usual, it wouldn't be a fat owl column if he didn't start off by lustily, mightily, smoting greenies and environmentalists and anyone else standing in his way.

It seems sharks have got their own affirmative action program going, they've been given iconic status by environmentalist groups guided by a desire to claim ecologically superior status rather than by any scientific research. And any conniving politician you might hear downsizing the issue has clearly been inspired by the mayor in Jaws (how I hate you Murray Hamilton, with your greasy, slimy political ways).

The issue's simple. Stop commercial fishing and we're all doomed. More fish, more predators.

Never mind the last person actually killed by a shark in Sydney Harbour was in 1946, an actress by the name of Marcia Hathaway. Another killing's just around the corner. SHARK!

Yep, it looks like the fat owl is ready to join my campaign to kill all the sharks, just after we've burnt down all the trees.

But what's this? Some chappie at Surfwatch Australia by the name of Michael Brown, its director in fact, actually told the fat owl global warming might be involved - something about colder nutrient rich waters coming to the surface resulting in an increase in feed for the predators.

Surely not. Global warming, as we all know, is a myth. As the fat owl points out, nodding sagely, back in '46 all the talk of the catastrophists then was of global cooling. And anyway we've always had a stack of sharks, we can just see more of them because we cleaned up the water. Not sure of the point here - is it bring back the brown poo so we can't see the sharks anymore?

Anyhoo, it seems that this chappie Brown persisted, claiming that we'll see more great whites in the next few years. Something to do with global warming he reckons.

The fat owl is cautious: With such an increase in the number of potential killers, if it can be verified, there would seem little we can do but we could better mesh our Harbour beaches.

That's right. All this blather is window dressing for a suggestion we might fix up the nets. It's all the fault of the greenies you see. Manly council didn't fix the nets because the weed growth around it was seen as a potential sea horse habitat. Fuck the seahorses, what about the ratepayers. 

Okay, we're back to kill all the sharks.

But no, the fat owl goes to water, or to sea, or whatever. He doesn't even have the courage to suggest we should start shark fishing in the habour, especially if some sort of shark attractant or berley might be involved. But how so Piers - surely we just use greenie councillors, hippies, weirdos and lefties as bait? It's a win-win scenario. We catch the sharks, kill 'em, hold flake parties with the Daily Terror as a handsome wrapping for the goodies, and if the sharks take a nip out of a greenie along the way, so what? Sure, it'll lower the delicacy of the flavor of the flesh in that particular shark, but one less greenie means one less sea horse, and that must be all to the good.

As for treating sharks with a catch and release program in Sydney harbour? Pardon me while Piers and I faint.

But what about all this chatter about how sharks swim in the sea, and nipping on humans comes naturally to them (just being curious and experimental and wondering why somebody else wants to swim in Sydney harbour and pick up a good dose of mercury poisoning)?

The argument that humans are in the sharks' environment is also silly. We walk, we swim, we are humans.

Insights don't get any more profound than that. We burble, we scribble, we are loons.

Same deal for sharks. They swim, they turn into flake, and they get eaten.

After that Einstein-like flash of inspiration, the fat owl runs out of things to say. He suggests we take precautions - avoid swimming at dawn or dusk, watch out for lightning strikes on golf courses during storms, heck watch out for lightning generally, read 'man bites shark' stories, and watch out for overcast days.

Strangely Piers misses out on the real danger. Never ever swim in the nude, pert breasts bobbing in the moonlight, legs threshing about, while ominous music plays on the transistor radio, especially if it follows a night of petting, groping, drinking or drug abuse, you free thinking hedonistic hippie swine, you suitable subjects for shark bait.

For international readers, I'd like to add that you should watch out for red backs, funnel webs, all kinds of snakes, including brown, tiger, red bellied black, king and so forth and etcetera, and right wing newspaper columnists intent on a feed. Never stand in their way, or you could perish in the stampede.

Why do I feel like I drop 10 I.Q. points each time I read Piers? To make up for it, here's Robert Shaw's great speech in Jaws about the fate of the men on the Indianapolis, from the days when we understood that global warming had nothing to do with anything, and all sharks had to do was die so they could flavor up the chips.

Quint (Robert Shaw):  Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into her side, Chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We'd just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes.

Didn't see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin' from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn't know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin' by, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. It was sorta like you see in the calendars, you know the infantry squares in the old calendars like the Battle of Waterloo and the idea was the shark come to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and sometimes that shark he go away... but sometimes he wouldn't go away.

Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn't even seem to be livin'... 'til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin' and your hollerin' those sharks come in and... they rip you to pieces.

You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks there were, maybe a thousand. I do know how many men, they averaged six an hour. Thursday mornin', Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist.

At noon on the fifth day, a Lockheed Ventura swung in low and he spotted us, a young pilot, lot younger than Mr. Hooper here, anyway he spotted us and a few hours later a big ol' fat PBY come down and started to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.

Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

Great writing. And a great performance from Shaw. Ah, I feel clean again, just like Sydney Harbour.

(Dorothy and Piers and the Daily Terror trading off on Jaws, even if the shark looks like a mechanical monster designed to scare tourists on a studio tour. SHARK! Please buy this newspaper. SHARK! Please read this blog. SHARK! Please watch exclusive on line video of shark caught in Sydney Harbour. Bull SHARK!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've been slumming it again but surprisingly Piers let through a comment that was both funny and intelligent. Sean is obviously not one of his fawning loons.

"I reckon it would take quite a few sharks to make a meal of you Piers.
The safest option for you would be to avoid the beach altogether as some do gooder is likely to try and roll you into the sea.
sean of shellharbour"