Ah, yes – that old term. Haven’t heard it in a while. “Jumping the shark” is an idiom used to describe the moment a television show begins a decline in quality, signaled by a particular scene, or episode, in which the writers use some type of gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers’ interest. The origin of this phrase comes from a Happy Days episode where The Fonz jumped over a shark on water skis.
So, we have a little mitigation by nostalgia. But the heart of the question is concerning. I am closing in on seventy – so I’ve been on the scene for a while; I’ve watched our country deal painfully with many issues: civil rights, women’s rights, ultra-rights. And more. Something feels quite different these days.
For me, since I can remember, it was a given that the U.S of A. was the best, strongest, most honorable, most effective place on Earth. There was nothing we couldn’t do, and anyone who messed with us did so at their peril. I ask: Is that all still true? I very much want the answer to be “yes.” I fear, however, that we are more willing to take a back seat in the world or, at least, second chair.
I would love to hear any thoughts you all might have on this score (I’m hoping to be reassured, but I’ll buck up and take what comes).
If we are not the ass-kickers we once were, then who or what will fill the vacuum? That is the locus of my dread. I can’t imagine a good answer to that question. The habit that was acquired during the last administration, of leading from behind which – let’s be honest, is not leading at all – may have sapped some of our moxie. Is our moxie just packed away in the attic waiting for us to reclaim it? Or did it accidentally get thrown out when we were cleaning house? Can new moxie be regenerated or is moxie – of necessity – something that has to be groomed and fed over many years?
I don’t think we’re in danger of devolving into a third-world country, but I’m not quite sure about that second-world category. Sort of great, sort of not; sort of vanilla, sort of looking the other way. Are we going to wake up in a couple of years and issue a national “HUH, WHAT HAPPENED?” Let’s not. Let’s pay a little more attention now; let’s reassert our place at the head of the table. We’re the good guys and the world needs us. There are too many of the other sort.
(With reference to the definition of “jumping the shark,” I leave you to decide what the “gimmick” is that is signaling our national decline. Perhaps it has something to do with reality TV?)
Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Landing-stories-commitment-meanings/dp/1539179095/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1476027342&sr=8-3&keywords=karen+krett
Also available on amazon.com is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. http://www.amazon.com/Raym%C3%B2n-Sunshine-Karen-Krett/dp/0692660887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461866431&sr=8-1&keywords=krett+sunshine
You can find more information about me and my books at www.karenkrettauthor.com/