Shark Week: Why We Buy into Unreal Reality

August 5th, 2013

I just finished watching the first night of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. The programing the first night was designed to grab people’s attention at the beginning of a celebrated week of shark attacks, science, and slow motion. It’s a yearly television event my family all watches together. The first installment was called Megalodon. This two-hour special presents the case that this ancient 100 foot shark still lurks beneath the deep. They go so far as to show footage of a boat being sunk by this “shark” and tell how the crew all mysteriously died in the process. Oh, “Parental Caution” was advised.

Now for my ire…

This show was a farce. At the end of the exaggerated show, climaxing in a filmed attack by this 100 foot shark, popped this very quick disclaimer…

“Though certain events and characters in this film have been dramatized, sightings of “submarine” [this supposed shark] continue to this day.”

This two-hour special billed as factual was all fiction based on hearsay. Upon doing a quick Google search, none of these sightings they present show up online. This was intended to raise awareness of Shark Week. Sure it trended on Twitter and inevitably will garner a large audience because of it, yet it presents a problem incredibly present in our culture.

We are so desperate for reality; we invent our own. Just by reading Twitter, thousands upon thousands of people of all ages believed this show. This shows how eager we are to settle for entertainment at the sake of truth. And we settle for it all the time.

How popular have “reality” shows become? Now how often are they real? Hmm…

We escape our own reality to enter into a pseudo one. Why?

As a pastor, I like truth. Truth strips down our reality and in the process, Truth redeems it. I have no problem with being entertained, but when we substitute what is real with what is fake, we’ve only run from our own problems.

So I’m angry with Shark Week, yet it just highlights a bigger problem. It’s not that we can’t handle the truth, but by and large, we simply don’t want it.

Who wants truth when you can be entertained?


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