My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Misunderstood Shark is Misunderstood

Today's post is a poignant and powerful look at tropes, stereotypes and expectations, and the strong effect that comes from playing with those expectations.  Any time your readers expects something to happen because they are familiar with the conventions of the context, you have an opportunity to delight them by altering or fully reversing those expectations. 

It's also possible that I really just get the giggles at the Misunderstood Shark meme, and I'm really grasping for a rationalization to put a bunch of them here on my blog.  

Phil Watson has a lot of great shark cartoons at shaaark.com
It was hard to pick which one to put here, and there are lots more at his site.
You really should check him out.

Of course, it can be doubly delightful
when the reversal turns out to misdirection.
Some stereotypes are true for a reason.

Low voice: "All images for humorous purposes only.  Writing About Writing will not be held liable for any injury resulting from any attempt to understand or empathize with sharks. Does not include state and federal tax or licensing.  Void where prohibited.  All shark handlers are trained professionals.  Please don't hug sharks.  Even if they look really sad and like they could use one."

Please remember that sharks are not actually that dangerous, people are much more dangerous to sharks, like two people die a year and you're going to be fine if you don't duct tape a bunch of seals to yourself before you go swimming. Also misunderstood Hippopotamuses are definitely a bigger problem. Don't be fooled.

All images (unless otherwise mentioned) are viral memes pulled from places like Facebook or G+ and lack legible copyright information (or any copyright information at all).  If I have used an image I know the source of, I link the source and encourage traffic to see other images, but if this is not acceptable, please contact me (below) and I will remove the image.   I sometimes find images in creative commons or on Google's listing for "free for commercial reuse."  These are occasionally mislabeled.  I may also have inadvertently shared an image from a third party that was less discriminating about where they got it or even did something skeevy like cropped out the copyright information. I honestly do try in good faith not to make money off the creative efforts of others.  If I have used your image in an unacceptable way, contact me at chris.brecheen@gmail.com and let me know what you'd like me to do: remove the image, attribute it, give you a shout out with a linkback, anything.  (Do please provide a URL to the original site--some people pretend to be artists just to mess with me or take credit for something THEY stole.)  If I can't comply, I will simply remove the image immediately.


  1. Aww, yes. I love Misunderstood Shark (possibly due to your influence). I condone the necessity of this post.

    1. It really should have dawned on me sooner that the images I was getting such a kick out of could probably all be found with a single Google search.

  2. Poor guy can't get a break.

  3. I love Misunderstood Shark, especially the pic with ''Human stay calm, i will help, i am shark'' great post:)