The Most 2022 Apology of Them All
Well, boys and girls, if I may use such words, it’s been another bumper crop year of virtue-signaling high-profile “apologies”, but I think we have a winner.
Cue the legendary moviemaker Steven Spielberg, who has given us countless hours of rich entertainment on the big and small screens.
In the “Hollywood Reporter”, quoting a BBC interview, Spielberg is saying sorry…to sharks.
Seems that his 1975 classic, “Jaws” keeps him up at night—not out of fear of being eaten by a shark, but out of fear that “sharks are somehow mad at me”.
It would be hard not to laugh in their face if your child said something like this to you, but Spielberg is 76.
In an otherwise fascinating discussion about making this and other movies, he thinks the film fanned the flames of shark fear and hatred.
If we hate them so much, how to explain “Shark Week”—although its creators are apologizing too. What, did the sharks start a blog or something?
Apparently, starting around the time of the Peter Benchley book that spun-off the movie, shark hunting began to increase. But it turns out that other kinds of trophy and commercial fishing took off in the 1970s, too. “Jaws” probably contributed, but it’s egomaniacal to think it was the sole driver. People were over-fishing tuna, too. Where was the killer-tuna movie? An equally plausible explanation for more fishing was the diet and fitness craze that led to more fish in Americans’ everyday diet. You can look it up.
Since Steve cites Hitchcock as an inspiration, he might also remember that Hitchcock’s magic was employing, and then exaggerating, elements of basic, everyday anxiety. In other words, you make scary movies about what people already find scary. I’m pretty sure we knew sharks weren’t domesticated housepets prior to 1975.
I lived in New England during the immediate post-“Jaws” era. The book was a novel, which I read as a kid, the movie wasn’t exactly a “60 Minutes” segment, and we still went to the beach and went into the water every chance we got.
Of course, his “apology” follows the usual course of such things: nearly half a century and an entire personal fortune later, it’s easy and cost-free to say, “oops!”
If I could, I would love to ask the legendary director one question: if you suddenly spotted a shark in the ocean right near you or a loved one, would you try to swim away, or approach it to tell it how sorry you are?