It must be nearly 9/11 o’clock, because sharks are back in the news.
On the nearer-to-NYC beaches of Long Island, flags are flying, warning bathers about our rarely chompy friends in the sea. Further out that way, beaches have been closed off and on as fins fly by. Nantucket’s beaches were closed yesterday — sorry Barack Obama, sounds like you’re having a really rough summer with your birthday party and also some of your wars in tatters.
It’s been 20 years since Time magazine chummed America into a feeding frenzy about sharks. What’s weird about “Summer of the Shark,” and why it always feels adjacent to conspiracy theory, is that 2001 wasn’t even a record year for human nibbling:
The International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History reported 76 worldwide shark attacks in 2001, with 55 of those in the USA, while in 2000 there were 85 shark attacks around the world.
Please enjoy this beautiful and specific sentence from Wikipedia: “The Summer of the Shark came to a quick end following the September 11 terrorist attacks, as the media had shifted attention to the destruction at the Pentagon, lower Manhattan and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.”
Why did sharks occupy our attention for the summer of 2001, when in fact sharks are wonderful. Who knew what when? What shark fuel melted the steely beams of the media?