Monday, August 01, 2005

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat! or A Really Crappy Metaphor

I've been thinking a lot about the movie Jaws lately. Specifically, the character of Quint. Yeah, I know, just bear with me.

So, in Jaws, there's this little town that has a problem. Namely, a big honkin' shark is eating people. Of course, just staying out of the water for a few weeks until the shark goes away isn't an option, because it wouldn't be in the town's best short-term economic interest. Although, you'd think that not being known as Sharktown U.S.A. might be better in the long term, but I digress.

So, along comes Quint, saying that he's ready, willing, and able to kill the shark for everyone. He gets them to say yes by pointing out how the shark threatens their businesses and their very lives. He promises to bring them back "the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Then he procedes to fuck the whole thing up.

They get a few harpoons in the shark but it just keeps going, and ends up beating the shit out of Quint's boat. Sherrif Brody, the voice of reason, tries to call for help, but Quint comes in and smashes the holy hell out of the radio. Thanks to Quint, they're in this thing alone.

Quint's next brilliant idea is to tie the shark to his boat and drag it back to shore. Sort of a "fight it there so we don't have to fight it here" strategy. He stubbornly sticks to his course, over the protests of Brody and Hooper, in spite of the fact that smoke is billowing out of the engine. Eventually, he blows out the engine and manages to fill his hull with about 100 gallons of water.

Then, as the boat sits there, dead in the water and sinking, Quint very calmly tosses a couple of lifejackets to Brody and Hooper, crossing his arms and resigning himself and his two companions to their fate. Of course, he never admits he was wrong or that he, you know, screwed up royal.

So, in the end, Brody, the voice of reason, ends up killing the shark (sorry if I just gave away the ending, but, christ, the movie's 30 years old, what are you waiting for?). And guess what happens to Quint? Hint: see the picture above. Brody and Hooper swim back to shore, and, well, the shark (or a shark, anyway) comes back three more times, because everyone is still too stupid to stay out of the water.

I don't know why, exactly, I've been thinking about this lately. But it'd be nice if we had more Brody's and fewer Quints in charge of things...

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