The phrase jumping the shark gets tossed around when a show or popular figure does something that is considered ridiculous, out of character, gimmicky or all of the above. It comes from an old episode of Happy Days when Fonzie jumps over a shark while water skiing.
I read an article by Fred Fox, Jr, who wrote that particular episode. He doesn’t think it is deserving of the title. But he admits:
…it’s clear that “jump the shark” is no mere fad. It has become a part of the American lexicon.
I wonder, how far a person or even a character in a show or novel can go outside their comfort zone and still be convincing.
Sharknado was silly gimmick but it was also entertaining and very popular. While there were plenty of shark jokes flying, I didn’t see anyone say that SyFy Channel had jumped the shark with this one. I think that’s because no one expected a scary Jaws kind of movie. The promos showed a campy, ridiculous premise and followed through.
So I think that is the answer. Jumping the shark is an accusation of false advertising. If I’m going to spring something new on people, something out of character or implausible I’d better give some warning.
I read The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman, recently. One of the topics he covers in detail, is how drought impacts the overallocation of many of the world’s rivers. Even if I could afford to buy a river, chances are, the river of my desire is already sold out or drying out, or both.
A sampling of rivers mentioned in the book.
Murray River in South Australia.
In the water years 2008-2009, the Murray River received only 1,860 gigaliters of water inflow total. The farmers alone take 7,000 gigaliters. (pg. 196)
The Colorado River in the US
Lake Mead in mid 2010 is 125 feet lower than it was ten years earlier… (pg. 55)
The Chattahoochie River in the US
The states of Georgia, Florida and Alabama have their own modern version of water wars during drought years.
The Tigris and Euphrates, shared by Turkey and Iraq
Shatt al Arab River, Iraq
No longer holds back the Persian Gulf, so that salt water is now flushed 100 miles inland. (pg. 281)
One person’s craziness is another person’s reality. Tim Burton
I enjoy conspiracy theories and ideas that seem totally out there. I like to think about how someone could come to a completely different conclusion than I do. I see a meteorite in Russia on the news and someone else sees an alien invasion. Some people believe those posts from the Onion.
Why do we humans think differently? Are there ten points of view?
An article about the allure of the mystery behind the disapearance of Flight MH370, says that people who tend to believe conspiracy theories are more likely to buy into a theory that the researchers just made up, and will even entertain logically inconsistent theories.
John S. Wilkins, writes: The development of beliefs is not merely a metaphor: it is a literal developmental process. in his fascinating blog post, Why do believers believe silly things? The function of denialism.